Real Folks' Oscar Picks

Never mind what the results of Sunday's Oscars celebration might turn out to be. Mark Jordan Legan spoke to real-life movie-goers about their favorites to take home the statuettes.

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ALEX COHEN, Host:

This is Day to Day from NPR News. I'm Alex Cohen. The Academy Awards are this Sunday, and this year, they're trying something a little different. The Oscar Web site is hosting a live interactive game where you can compare your picks for the awards with the actual winners. Here with a little preview of how the public might vote is our movie guy, Mark Jordan Legan.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN: On a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, I went to the busy lobby of the Landmark Theater in west L.A. to conduct a - well, I was going to say unscientific poll, but since I was wearing a long, white lab coat while talking to these nice people, I think we can call it a scientific poll with great certainty. Let's see what our moviegoers have to say about this weekend's Academy Awards. Who they think is going to win and who they think should win. What do you think the Academy's going to say, this is going to win Best Picture?

Unidentified Woman #1: Slumdog.

Unidentified Man #1: Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire.

Unidentified Woman #1: That's the one.

LEGAN: You think Slumdog will win?

Unidentified Woman #1: Yes, Slumdog Millionaire.

(Soundbite of movie "Slumdog Millionaire")

Mr. DEV PATEL: (As Jamal Malik) Are you nervous?

Mr. ANIL KAPOOR: (As Prem Kumar) What?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. KAPOOR: (As Prem Kumar) Am I nervous? It's you who's in the hot seat, my friend.

Unidentified Woman #2: I think, Milk. I really was impressed by Milk.

Unidentified Man #2: I think I'd take Benjamin.

Unidentified Woman #3: I enjoyed The Reader.

Unidentified Man #3: I like Frost/Nixon.

Unidentified Woman #4: Nixon.

(Soundbite of movie "Frost/Nixon")

Unidentified Man: We're going to show - we're going to make them choke (unintelligible) power and glory.

LEGAN: Unless there is a government conspiracy, I don't think Frost/Nixon has a chance. We then asked who the crowd thought had a shot at Best Actress? Did I hear you say Angelina Jolie? Is that you think who's going to win or who you want to win?

Unidentified Woman #1: Yeah, that's who I think.

Unidentified Woman #2: Anne Hathaway, I thought was great.

Unidentified Woman #3: If I could pick, I'd pick Melissa Leo.

Unidentified Woman #4: I would go for Kate Winslet.

Unidentified Man #1: I think it's her year. I think she's going to win. ..TEXT: Unidentified Man #2: Kate Winslet will finally get it, even though she's better in Revolutionary Road than she was in The Reader.

Unidentified Woman #5: Yeah.

Unidentified Woman #6: I would like to see her nominated for Revolutionary Road. I just think she's a phenomenal actress and I think that she deserves to win.

Unidentified Man #3: I think Kate Winslet.

Unidentified Man #4: I was thinking Winslet, also.

Unidentified Man #3: Although it's a possibility...

Unidentified Man #5: No. It possibly could be Meryl Streep, I would imagine.

(Soundbite of movie "Doubt")

Unidentified Woman: They're all in uniform. They terrified of you.

Ms. MERYL STREEP: (As Sister Aloysius Beauvier) That's how it works.

Unidentified Man: You have no right.

Ms. STREEP: (As Sister Aloysius Beauvier) I will do what needs to be done. You should understand that, or you will mistake me.

LEGAN: There's no mistaking the power of Meryl Streep. And as for Best Actor, our moviegoers certainly had no problem expressing their feelings. Sean Penn, Frank Langella, Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins for The Visitor, which is a little film and Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler.

Unidentified Man #1: It's going to be Penn or Rourke.

LEGAN: Who do you think might win?

Unidentified Woman #1: Only Brad Pitt.

Unidentified Woman #2: Right.

LEGAN: Number two, Jenkins for The Visitor.

Unidentified Woman #2: Which I loved.

LEGAN: Which I did, too.

Unidentified Woman #2: Actually, I though he was great.

LEGAN: Yeah.

Unidentified Woman #2: I don't think he has a prayer.

LEGAN: No.

Unidentified Woman #2: I don't think Frank Langella has a prayer.

Unidentified Woman #3: I think Mickey Rourke.

Unidentified Man #2: Oh, the (unintelligible).

Unidentified Woman #3: I think Sean Penn could win, though.

(Soundbite of movie "Milk")

Mr. SEAN PENN: (As Harvey Milk) My name is Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you!

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

Unidentified Woman #3: I think Sean Penn has a good chance. I'd be very happy to see him win. And Mickey Rourke, I just can't bear to look at the man. It's - I think it was in the New Yorker where he described after all of his cosmetic surgery that his face looked like it was put together with lava and plumber's caulk.

(Soundbite of movie "The Wrestler")

Mr. MICKEY ROURKE: (As Randy "The Ram" Robinson) I'm an old broken-down piece of meat and I'm alone and I deserve to be all alone. I just don't want you to hate me.

Unidentified Woman #4: Sentimental favorite.

Unidentified Woman #5: Hollywood loves a comeback.

Unidentified Woman #4: Yeah, Mickey Rourke is going to win, yeah.

Unidentified Man #3: OK, yeah. It's a - I think it's a toss-up between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke.

Unidentified Man #4: I'm going to say Mickey Rourke, definitely for The Wrestler because he is the Hulk Hogan for every man.

LEGAN: Oh, there's your tag line for the movie poster. Well, scientific or unscientific, I just have to mention that last year, our moviegoer poll correctly predicted the top three winners, even picking the Best Actress upset with Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose. So, we might be on to something here. So, quick recap. The people have spoken and they seem to think Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture, Kate Winslet for Best Actress, and it looks to be a close horse race between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke for Best Actor. Oh, and I'm no betting man, but for Best Live Action Short, all my money is on Auf Der Strecke, the Swiss-German entry

COHEN: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer and avid movie fan living in Los Angeles.

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