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DS: Plain and simple: WALL-E will win. It’s the only film listed that is not a cookie cutter.
TM: WALL-E all the way. Another solid Pixar film with a good story with a funny and sympathetic character... who also happens to be a robot. Considering how entertaining the film was with a majority of the dialogue consisting of bleeps from robots, it’s quite an accomplishment. Historically, this is one of the few categories that is always a lock. And Pixar wins this more often than not – nearly every year it has a film nominated. Plus it’s a critically acclaimed film that everyone loved.
MB: WALL-E. No question. Hands down. Considering there was a serious push to get WALL-E included in the main Best Picture category, I’d say it’s in a different class than its competitors. WALL-E has it all wrapped up.
DS: Slumdog Millionaire hands down “should” win best picture, but alas, it will not. It tells a story unlike all the rest; taking you to a different world where you cannot anticipate the outcome. Films like this work simply because they are not of the norm. It will not win, instead, Button will win the Oscar. The Curious Case will win simply because it is, by far, shot with the best production value (even though it has a recycled plot) I have seen in a long time.
TM: Button is my personal favorite here. Despite being extremely similar to 1994 Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump, Button is a well told story with great acting, expert directing, and an overall entertaining film. However, Slumdog has a good chance to take home the hardware. Not only is the movie a story about an underdog, but the film has been marketed as such. Fox Searchlight has put a lot of effort into advertising this critically acclaimed film as the little-movie-that-could.
MB: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was far and away the best film I saw this year. Such an unusual story with excellent acting made the three-hour runtime fly by. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett gave incredible performances that were almost as good as the makeup. Best of all, I didn’t leave the theater feeling underwhelmed like I did with Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog Millionaire is getting a lot of buzz these days, both good and bad. But to me it’s just another standard Fox Searchlight picture that manipulates you into feeling something that the plot itself can’t deliver. In my humble opinion, Searchlight’s Oscar vehicles are usually old-school Hollywood fare instead of the independent films they like to think they produce. My prediction is that Slumdog will be everyone’s choice in the office Oscar pools and Button will pull off the well-deserved “upset.”
There you have it. While few categories were given unanimous decisions by our expert panel, only “Supporting Actress” came out as the one with no clear majority victor. This year's Oscar event is set to be a nail-biter in quite a few categories, so make sure you're ready with ballot in hand this February 22nd at 5 p.m. Eastern / 8 p.m. Pacific for “The Biggest Movie Event of the Year.”