Well, you win some, you lose some. I did pretty well on my various Oscar pools, but I missed a lot. I failed to change to the Marion Cotillard horse when it was seemingly catching up to Julie Christie. Tilda Swinton put it very well backstage when the news broke. "Why are you glad she won?" one reporter asked. Swinton replied, "She's great, she's new, she's new blood in the gene pool." Here are the winners. And Variety's story. And my Coens sidebar.
Supporting actress was a total mystery, but I should have gone with the Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton allocation theory. The voters wanted a popular movie to win something.
Many people told me that Elizabeth would win costume. I refused to listen because I didn't think the Academy would vote for such a bad movie. Of course the costumes were wonderful. Lesson learned.
Also, I thought that having voted for Blanchett twice for two nominations in one year, they'd give her the supporting win. In that case the fact that it was a film that nobody liked was the issue, as well as her prior win for The Aviator.
The biggest surprise of the night was the win for The Golden Compass for visual effects. My colleague David Cohen says that no one liked any of these films. Well, okay.
Dante Ferretti's win for Sweeney Todd was a surprise. I had thought the Sweeney Todd prize would go to costume designer Colleen Atwood. I had picked There Will Be Blood's Jack Fisk, who was nominated for the first time for There Will be Blood. I did pick TWBB's Robert Elswit for cinematography, and he thanked Fisk, and PTA.
I'm thrilled that Taxi to the Dark Side won the doc award. I thought the Academy would go with an insider who is respected in his profession who made a beautiful movie. All the films had strong POVs, but this one was cinematic. Michael Moore had won before, and No End in Sight's Charles Ferguson was a newcomer. In campaign parlance, Taxi had momentum.
Otherwise the wins went just the way I thought they would. No Country for Old Men won four Oscars, not eight. And producer Scott Rudin finally won his first Best Picture Oscar. He's wanted to win one for a long time. My Variety colleagues and I wondered if he will remain as friendly and accessible as he was this year on the Oscar campaign trail. He'll just have to keep producing Oscar movies--now that he's on the Oscar-friendly indie side, I would be surprised if he didn't keep doing it.
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]