‘Lovely Bones’ next year’s Oscar victor?

Posted by · 9:39 am · February 24th, 2009

Cover of The Lonely BonesKris recently took his initial stab at predicting next year’s Oscar nominees, so I thought I would join the madness by planting a flag for “The Lovely Bones.”  I read the book in three days at the suggestion of my daughter, who knows that I admire Peter Jackson and that this is his next film. On the way to my office, the train offered a quiet solitude.  I’ll never forget this book.

The greatest tragedy a parent can suffer is losing a child.  I simply cannot imagine the pain this must cause. As the father of two beautiful girls, 17 and 9, they are the lights of my life and reason for smiling everyday. Should anything ever happen to them, they might as well throw me in the ground with them, because I would be dead.

“The Lovely Bones” deals with the rape and murder of a young girl, who then watches her family, and her killer, from heaven for years after the event. The father suspects the next door neighbor (great instinct) while the mother cannot deal with the agony and leaves the family to forge a new life. The sister experiences something rather extraordinary that I will not give away, while the heroine grieves for her loss of family as much as they grieve for her.

Jackson is, in my opinion, an enormously gifted filmmaker. I stand among those who believe “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was the greatest risk in movie history, which paid off tremendously. The final film, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” is a masterpiece that deserved every single Oscar it won, the NYFCC Best Picture it won, and actually should have been nominated for a couple more. I remember the emptiness I felt after seeing the film, armed with the knowledge that the trilogy was over and there was no film to look forward to seeing next year from the director.

He followed the trilogy in 2005 with his long cherished project “King Kong,” which was among the finest films of 2005 and should have been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress, in my view. I was among those able to get past Jack Black, allowing the epic majesty of the film, and Kong, to sweep me away.

“The Lovely Bones” is a much more intimate film for Jackson, a return to his early work in something like “Heavenly Creatures.”  If there is a question mark here it is the casting of Mark Wahlberg (I’m not a fan) as the father, though who knows, Jackson may be just the director the actor needs to pull something fine out of him once again.

If there is any single film I am awaiting the most this year, this is the one — and my bet is it could have “Best Picture” written all over in 12 months’ time.




→ 35 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

35 responses so far

  • 1 2-24-2009 at 9:49 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    Finally someone says it, Peter Jackson is one of the all time great directors and I agree with King Kong. The Lovely Bones is a huge bet for best picture, absolutely.

  • 2 2-24-2009 at 9:58 am

    Roger said...

    Couldn’t agree more!!! The felling i had when i first saw fellowship of the ring was so incredible that i started been addicted to movies and that’s the reason why i’m here! The trilogy is for me one of the greatest things ever achieved in cinema and even those who don’t share the love for the movies might realize that… The sensation who describe on the end of the last movie is just perfect!! I wasn’t overwhelmed by King Kong but i’m extremely looking foward to The Lovely Bones!!

    P.S. But i’m so much more exited about the Hobbit!!!

  • 3 2-24-2009 at 10:02 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    agreed, the Hobbit should be epic

  • 4 2-24-2009 at 10:04 am

    Kevin said...

    Agreed. I am seriously looking forward to this and anything Peter Jackson does. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, IMO, is one of cinema history’s greatest achievements and I think it will live on as such. I also thought that King Kong was a great film and should have got more recognition and less venom than it did.

  • 5 2-24-2009 at 10:05 am

    Loyal Mehnert said...

    I shake my head over King Kong getting the shaft at least twice a year.

    Yes, the stampede was awful to look at and Jack Black was a complete misfire (along with Brody) but everything else worked brill. Let it be known, Peter Jackson made the audience feel real emotions about a giant ape.

    I have The Lovely Bones down for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adaptation, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Score (Eno!)

    Having PJ in the race automatically makes it more interesting then the past 5 years.

  • 6 2-24-2009 at 10:10 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    Jackson, Eastwood, Scorsesse, Tarantino, and possibly Speilberg, should be a year of amazing directors

  • 7 2-24-2009 at 10:11 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    Gosling would have owned the role, and the fact that he left planted serious doubt in my mind.

    Looking forward to it, though, I just hope it doesn’t ponder around in sentimentality for 150 minutes (or longer)…

  • 8 2-24-2009 at 10:15 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    ya whalberg sucked in a lot of movies but just look at who was directing them, jackson elevates the actors to his level and brings out the best they have to offer, just like scorsesse did for whalberg, so can jackson

  • 9 2-24-2009 at 10:23 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    knowing the material, this just doesn’t suite Wahlberg at all. Take arguably his best performance of his career in ‘The Departed’. He’s a foul-mouthed, cocky, Boiss-ton cop with a temper, it was great casting.

    I don’t think Wahlberg has the skills (or the required pre-concieved notions) to pull off an emotional role like this. All the better if he and Jackson can pull it off, but…

    Oh, and Stanely Tucci and Michael Imperioli should be great. Ronan turned out to be an appropriate casting move, as well, now an Oscar nominated young actress.

  • 10 2-24-2009 at 10:43 am

    actionman said...

    marky mark’s never been better than he was as Dirk Diggler

  • 11 2-24-2009 at 10:47 am

    Dan said...

    I didn’t like the novel, but I hope this does well.

  • 12 2-24-2009 at 10:56 am

    Chad said...

    I’m apprehensively looking forward to this because I loved “Heavenly Creatures”. But “The Lord of the Rings” movies were overcooked and “King Kong” was excruciating. Four films dripping with self-indulgance.

  • 13 2-24-2009 at 11:02 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Lord of the Rings got me interested into film in the first place. That’s where my journey started. Yes, pun intended ;).
    I truly adored King Kong as well, not flawless, but more like The Dark Knight overcoming the flaws with such magnificent spectacle and thereby defining cinema.
    Chad, if you really love cinema, how could you not like those films? Unless you only like true arthouse.

  • 14 2-24-2009 at 11:21 am

    actionman said...

    I LOVE cinema but I had ZERO use for LOTR. Kong wasn’t perfect, but it was damn impressive on many levels.

  • 15 2-24-2009 at 11:27 am

    Matthew Lucas said...

    I totally agree. The book is wonderful and I can’t wait to see what Jackson does. He’s a brilliant filmmaker who made one of the greatest cinematic works of the decade (LOTR), and “King Kong” is breathtaking and woefully overlooked.

  • 16 2-24-2009 at 11:28 am

    Matthew Lucas said...

    Also…Wahlberg’s skill tends to reflect the director. Scorsese = Oscar nomination. Shyamalan = running from the wind and talking to a ficus.

  • 17 2-24-2009 at 11:36 am

    KING 1 said...

    John,

    The Lovely Bones is one of the best books I have ever read – beautiful, moving, sad, reflective, real.

    I have also had the privilege of reading the script and, though a lot of the book isn’t in the movie, and though they added new story lines to the characters (especially Lindsay and Abigail), the script maintains the over-all feeling of the book – bittersweet but lovely.

    Oh, but there is one thing: Mark Whallberg will really have to step up for this, since he is practically the major force, the biggest and meatiest part of the whole picture – even outdoing Saoirse Ronan in terms of screen time and dialogue; most of her parts are voice-over.

    I won’t say any more, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who wants to see it as much as I do

  • 18 2-24-2009 at 11:44 am

    Shawn said...

    I loved the LOTR trilogy, but imo, The Fellowship of the Ring is the best film of the three.

  • 19 2-24-2009 at 11:51 am

    Chad said...

    The first hour of King Kong is truly a mess. Start and stutter pacing, terrible wink-wink jokes (Merian C. Cooper reference) and hack job editing. Watch it again and notice how most of the dialogue is delivered in bad ADR by the character off screen. Three too many unnecessary action sequences on the island, piss poor visual effects on everything except the monkey. Shifty score that can’t decide on a tone. Thinly veiled racism, terribly miscast Jack Black and Adrien Brody and overwrought sentimentality towards the end.

  • 20 2-24-2009 at 1:27 pm

    Casey Fiore said...

    I think Marky Mark is a tremendous actor, and not just because I’m a Boston boy, but Matthew Lucas was very right: his performance always reflects the director.
    PT Anderson : Wahlberg was fantastic in Boogie Nights
    David O Russell : Mark was both funny and heart breaking in both Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees
    Scorsese : brilliant play on the tough guy badass rep., well deserved Oscar nom.

    with Peter Jackson I am confident Marky will give a great performance

  • 21 2-24-2009 at 2:42 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    whoops, I forgot about ‘Boogie Nights’ — it has been 11-12 years…

  • 22 2-24-2009 at 2:46 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    I, too think ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ is brilliant. ‘Two Towers’ and ‘Return of the King’ certainly have their moments but in the end, went for too much and they can’t decide what they’re trying to be: a fun, family adventure or a dark, fantasy epic.

    Plus, as transcendent as the tech was for Gollum (or Smeagol), ‘Fellowship’ is all the better for not having him in there.

    I hope in ‘The Hobbit’ that they keep him kind of behind shadows and not entirely exposed in his encounter with Bilbo — I believe that’s the only scene he’s in?…

  • 23 2-24-2009 at 3:11 pm

    Violet said...

    I could name some movies were the lead was questionable but because of the supporting cast it worked, but I too I’m concerned with Wahlberg. Someone pointed out yesterday that many of the 2010 movies have questionable leads. We will have to wait to see how it turns out

  • 24 2-24-2009 at 3:14 pm

    Michael W. said...

    The Lovely Bones is such a great book and I can’t wait to see what Jackson does with this material.

    It would be great to se Saoirse Ronan nominated for an Oscar for this. She would beat Kate Winslet’s record as the youngest ever with two noms!

    I have to say that I fear that Wahlberg isn’t right for the part. I just can’t see him as Jack Salmon.

  • 25 2-24-2009 at 3:21 pm

    Sean12 said...

    The Lovely Bones is definately the frontrunner in my mind. I mean come’on…it’s PETER JACKSON…doing a dark drauma…with an amazing ensemble cast…and has the “Heaven” element to show off his visual flair.

    I can’t wait to see what Jackson’s going to cook-up for Heaven. And i can’t wait to see Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon.

  • 26 2-24-2009 at 5:23 pm

    Marshall said...

    I may be biased, but I agree wholeheartedly! Peter Jackson is a true master and believe it or not…doesn’t have a self-indulgent bone in his body. He’s like a kid in a candy story when making movies.

  • 27 2-24-2009 at 6:18 pm

    slayton said...

    Pay attention to supporting actress Carolyn Dando… she has one of the best roles in the book.

  • 28 2-24-2009 at 7:12 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    I think Peter Jackson is probably the most over rated director of our generation, but for some reason I think The Lovely Bones will be pretty good and get some love from the Academy (although it certainly doesn’t have to be that good or one of the best of the year to get some Academy love).

  • 29 2-24-2009 at 7:19 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    scott if youve seen braindead or meet the feebles you may change your mind, entirely different then his new stuff, check them out if you havent

  • 30 2-25-2009 at 2:32 am

    Alex said...

    I’ll bet that Emily Mortimer will win Best Supporting Actress for playing a (serial?) killer in Shutter Island and Stanley Tucci will win Best Supporting Actor for playing the serial killer/rapist in The Lovely Bones.

  • 31 2-25-2009 at 7:30 am

    Silencio said...

    Regarding Ryan Gosling’s exit, it’s my understanding that there was mutual agreement that he was a bit too young for the role.

    I haven’t read the book, but the premise sounds haunting. I’m very excited for what this could be.

  • 32 2-25-2009 at 8:00 am

    Kokushi said...

    PJ is amazing and he could have retire after the LOTR Trilogy and still for me would be considered great and cant wait for Lovely Bones.

  • 33 2-25-2009 at 8:00 am

    downandout said...

    Still p’od that Hugh Jackman turned this down.

  • 34 2-25-2009 at 10:42 am

    Scott Ward said...

    AmericanRequiem, no I haven’t seen those, but I guess I should before I comment on Jackson’s work as a whole. I’m just basing my opinion mostly on King Kong and LOTR being good movies, just nothing close to what people make them out to be. To me, LOTR was just an above average fantasy story with some nice, albeit very expensive, images. And I went into Heavenly Creatures thinking that maybe this would be the movie to change my mind about Jackson, but it wasn’t. The first fifteen and the last fifteen minutes were very good, but the middle of the movie didn’t move well to me at all. But I’m still hoping Lovely Bones will be great, because it sounds like it has a lot of potential.

  • 35 2-27-2009 at 11:30 am

    Marvin said...

    Oh if there’s anything I can’t wait to see here is Mark’s performance. And Susan Sarandon playing Grandma Lynn!