Will Day-Lewis drink the Oscars’ milkshake?

Chris Kallio

Anderson masterpiece ‘There Will Be Blood’ faces uphill battle at Academy Awards

There Will Be Blood is guaranteed a win for its lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis, but the rest remains rather unclear. Despite a widely-acclaimed performance, the movie stands little chance of taking home more than one Oscar statue.

There Will Be Blood is an exceptional film about an oil man (Day-Lewis) and his pursuit to rule an ocean of oil. Despite the liberal writings of Upton Sinclar (whose novel Oil! is the movie’s main source) any progressive message in the film is only hinted. Paul Thomas Anderson’s film does not need to preach and instead relies on the themes of greed and vengeance.

Day-Lewis’ performance is absolutely brilliant. He pushes the limit too far only once, and throughout the rest of the film we are witness to his incredible gift. That one moment of overacting is at the resolution of the film and has provided the Internet with plenty of material (“I drink your milkshake” is this year’s “I wish I knew how to quit you”). Aside from that moment, Day-Lewis creates an ambitious yet ruthless character, and this is how the film is Citizen Kane in nature — a story about a man of ambition without a heart. But hubris is the downfall of man; that is evident here. Paul Dano’s performance as the charlatan preacher is also terrific, bringing to the screen one of the most unusual representations of a minister, sounding more like Gollum than Jerry Falwell.

Aside from Day-Lewis, however, the film faces an uphill battle at the Oscars. It has gained almost no momentum with its non-Best Actor nominations. Anderson stands no chance against the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men in the competitions for direction and screenplay. Even if Dano was nominated, he would easily lose to the seemingly unstoppable Javier Bardem for (again) No Country For Old Men. As for its technical awards, it’s not much easier. It could easily lose Best Cinematography to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford or Best Art Direction to Atonement, and its unique score by Johnny Greenwood was not even nominated.

There Will Be Blood is a movie that possesses a certain amount of bravery, audacity and intensity that not many films this year have, and is without a doubt one of the year’s best. But most of the hype went to Juno, the momentum to No Country For Old Men. There Will Be Blood has the talented Day-Lewis but an uphill battle nonetheless.

Contact all reporter Chris Kallio at [email protected].