Unless the idea of watching people get murdered at an alarming rate appeals to you—no, we will not be seeing Halloween 2 or Final Destination: 3-D—the summer movie season is officially kaput. Where has the time gone? At least with the book closed we can now look back fondly on the joys Hollywood had to offer. There are usually no Oscars given to summer movies, but maybe there should be. We’d name The Hangover as the summer’s Best Picture and, of course, we’ve already found our Best Supporting Actor: Eric Bana’s scene-stealing brilliance in Funny People was so good, in fact, it should be singled out during the more traditional Oscar season, too. Here are some of our other Summer Oscars picks.
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, Inglourious Basterds
When it comes to awards bait, most critics have singled out Christoph Waltz’s performance as Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II revision as the one to watch. And with good reason: Mr. Waltz is by turns terrifying, bizarre and oddly charming as “The Jew Hunter.” However, give us good ol’ Brad Pitt instead. As Lt. Aldo Raine, head of the titular unit, Mr. Pitt appears to be having more fun than any role he’s tackled since the Ocean’s movies—and quite possibly a bit more. Sporting a pencil-thin mustache and speaking with his jaw pushed out in a manner that recalls Marlon Brando circa The Godfather, Mr. Pitt is the glue that holds Inglourious Basterds together. Some have accused the Pitt-led sections of Basterds as being the weak link, but don’t believe them: Without him, QT’s latest would be a horse of a different color.
Best Score: (Tie) Michael Giacchino, Star Trek and Up
Forget John Williams. If you’re a director in need of a blockbuster orchestral score, look no further than Michael Giacchino. The Bad Robot stalwart—who cut his teeth on Alias and Lost—was all over theaters this summer, providing the score for no less than three films: Star Trek, Up, Land of the Lost. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. With Star Trek, Mr. Giacchino combined the familiar sounds of the original Star Trek theme with the same somber bombast that he provides weekly on Lost; meanwhile, in Up, his compositions were light fluffy and wholly wistful; there was an almost European quality to their nature. In both cases, Mr. Giacchino’s scores made already great movies that much better. Maybe this year he’ll get a real Oscar too.
Best Cinematography: Eric Steelberg, (500) Days of Summer
We had major problems with the movie itself, but not even we can deny that (500) Days of Summer was a technical marvel. Director Marc Webb and his cinematographer Eric Steelberg created many memorable shots and scenes and we’d be damned if any other film looked so good over the last few months. Interestingly, Mr. Steelberg has officially become the twee cinematographer of the moment: In addition to (500) Days of Summer and his previous work on Juno, he also shot Juno director Jason Reitman’s follow up, the highly anticipated Up in the Air, starring George Clooney set for release this December.