I win again. Every year, Dan and I have an Oscar pool for the chance to win a DVD of choice and every year, Dan threatens that he will beat me and every year, I crush and destroy.
Seriously, I have never lost. (Last year, we tied, but that was as close to winning as Dan has ever--and will ever--get). My winning strategy is to see as many movies as I can (at the very least, the five best picture nominees), read up on critics that I trust, such as Roger Ebert, A.O. Scott, the team at Entertainment Weekly. And then--using that knowledge--go with pure gut instinct.
For example, all the critics had picked Julie Christie for best actress. But I just watched La Vie en Rose and thought Marion Cotillard was pretty good. But what really blew me away was seeing her picture in US Weekly and being flabbergasted that this lovely woman was the same person who I just saw in the movie. It was like they were two different people, and that's when I knew I had a winner.
No Country for Old Men was a no-brainer for best picture because while it wasn't necessarily the movie I enjoyed watching the most (that would have to go to Juno--which I found delightfully smart and funny and touching at the same time). No Country was the movie that kept you thinking. Every scene in that movie was so haunting, so stunning that I couldn't get them out of my head. Dan, who hated Juno and thought No Country was the best movie of his year, went against everything and voted for There Will Be Blood--a movie he hadn't seen. Bad mistake. If you love a movie so much, don't you think everyone else will? Why root against it? Five years of Oscar pools and still an amateur.
My favorite part of the Oscars was hearing the speech by Best Song of the Year winner Marketa Irglova. The song came from the movie "Once"--a sort of odd, but sort of charming (yet also--I have to admit--sort of boring) movie about two artists who meet on the street and for one weekend make music together. That is entirely what the plot is about. And the song that won is developed and created and sung throughout the movie.
Because The Best Song of the Year is not an important award, the music drowned out winner Marketa's chance to say a speech because her partner had used up the allotted 30 seconds. It was disheartening, but then host Jon Stewart made her go out again and say what she needed to say, and she said this (as quoted in the New York TImes):
"This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we’re standing here tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are."