1) Best Actor
From George to Tommy to Viggo to Johnny – no actor came within touching distance of Daniel Day-Lewis’ sheer camp masterpiece performance as Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood.” Raise a milkshake to the new Norma Desmond!
2) Best Actress
Marion Cotillard wins in a classic case of an actor overcoming a mediocre film. Her ferocious turn as Edith Piaf makes you forget how trite and predictable “La Vie En Rose” (rightly not garnering any other nods) really is.
3) Best Cinematography
Robert Elswit wins for “There Will Be Blood,” making up for Jack Fisk’s Best Art Direction loss to “Sweeney Todd.”
4) Best Original Screenplay
Awarded to Diablo Cody – as a consolation prize. Cooler heads prevailed, otherwise shutting out “Juno” despite all the hype. (Poor Jason Reitman – even he seemed to know he had no business setting foot on the same red carpet as the Coen brothers.)
5) Best Documentary Feature
Michael Moore’s “Sicko” loses in a triumph of thoughtful and intelligent documentary filmmaking (represented by winner “Taxi to the Dark Side”) over populist showboating.
6) Best Supporting Actress
Though Cate Blanchett got robbed, it was by fellow non-American Tilda Swinton, keeping all four acting categories firmly in the hands of the Europeans, further proving my point that the days of Brando/Pacino/De Niro are forever gone.
7) Best Foreign Language Film
“The Counterfeiters” wins the World Series by playing Little League teams.
8) Best Visual Effects
“The Golden Compass” causes an upset. Yes, the polar bears were clumsy but Daniel Craig is more than worthy of the prize.
9) No speeches by Schnabel.
10) The Rock struts his black tie stuff as a presenter, looking fit and steroid-free. Who needs “Vanity Fair” – this man is the ultimate after party.