Oscar Winners – Predictions by Vindana Ariyawansa

The best Oscars in over three decades will unveil its winners this Sunday at Kodak theatre in Los Angeles. The awards ceramony boasts an ensemble of amazingly good movies. As a result of their greatness, good movies as Gran Tarino and Dark Knight were overlooked for nominations. Even a front runner “Soloist” pushed their release date due to fierce competition among series of landmark movies which hit theatres in November and December.

This years Acedamy awards will definitely be a one to remember. And I strongly believe (with conviction), come Sunday, these will emerge victorious.

Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director – Danny Boyle for “Slumdog Millionaire”

Best Actor – Mickey Rourke for “The Wrestler”

Best Actress – Kate Winslett for “The Reader”

Best Supporting Actor – Heath Ledger for “The Dark Knight”

Best Supporting Actress – Penelope Cruz for “Vicky Christina Barcelona”

Best Original Screenplay – WALL.E

Best Adapted Screenplay – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Editing – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Art Direction – Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Costume Design – Australia

Best Song – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Music – A.R. Rehman for “Slumdog Millionaire”

Best Cinematography – Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Make Up – Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Visual Effects – Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Animated Film – WALL.E

Best Foreign Language Movie – Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

Escape from mediocrity – is it possible? – Vindana Ariyawansa

  

Since the 2007 world cup, Sri Lankan cricket team had a flawed journey for the past 21 month period. This is how they fared in the series following world cup in Caribbean.

Vs Pakistan – lost 2-1

Vs England – lost 3 -2 at home

Vs Australia/India – lost 5-2, 1 no result

Vs West Indies – lost 2-0, I no result

Vs Ind/Pak/Hongkong/UAE/Ban won – 5-1 with three wins against Bangladesh and UAE

Vs India – lost 3-2 at home

Vs Zimbabwe – won 5-0

Vs Zim/Ban – won 2-1

Vs Pakistan – won 2-1

Vs India – lost 4-1 at home

(Played 46, won 22, lost 22, no result 2)

Out of those 22 wins 10 came off against bottom feeders Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

“Focus on the things that won’t lie. Evidence”. Gil Grissom( played by William Petersen), the night supervisor of popular CSI – Crime Scene Investigation, one of the most watched TV shows on earth, famously said more than once.

When it comes to the sub standard performance of the Sri Lankan cricket team, one should follow the same path and must look into the very facts that can’t be fabricated. Stats. The stats don’t lie.

(barely) Beating weakest teams

If it wasn’t for the individual heroics of new revelation Ajantha Mendis and reliable Muralitharan Sri Lanka could have easily lost another 10 matches. (5 of them would have been against lowly Bangladesh and Zimbabwe)

Batting Form

Mahela Jayewardene’s batting has sunk to an all time low, very next to the standard of his captaincy. Jayewardene’s unsound leadership of the team has been veiled mostly due to the individual brilliance of certain players which helped the team winning more than 50 percent of the matches they played.

His last 11 innings comprised for 89 runs, which included four ducks against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Yet he continues to bat on number 4 position and with his current form, a quick dismissal will create an enormous amount of pressure for the following batsmen.

Reliable/Explosive Opening Pair

Since the World Cup where Upul Tharanga miraculously held his position as an opener despite the presence of healthy Marvan Atapattu, Sri Lanka have tried nearly 10 players in the opening slots. The stats show the inconsistency where any of those pairs failed to build a substantial opening wicket partnership. The solitary decent partnership had arrived at the expense of Bangladesh in Asia cup.

Apart from Kumar Sangakkara, all the other players lacked consistency, with captain leading the pack in dismal performances. Sanath Jayasuriya strikes once in a blue moon and in past 34 games he participated, only four times he was able to make notable scores and two of them were against (again) Bangladesh. While his fitness level is not a concern, Jayasuriya’s position as an established opener is left desired to be questioned.

Capricious Middle Order

Rotation of T.M. Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedara and Chamara Silva has not been successful. The lesser used players such as Mahela Udawatte, Thilina Kandambi, Angelo Mathews and Malinda Warnapura have put to perform in the same manner of a Russian Roulette game which resulted in none of them not being able to establish themselves in any position of the batting order.

Since 2003, the inclusion of Jehan Mubarak to the national team and constant opportunities he is given nonetheless the failures, comes as a surprise. It is not the first time a substandard player had the blessings of a higher being, allowing him to represent the country even if he may not seem fit.  Mubarak has never being a prolific scorer even in the domestic circuit to prove his selection worthy.

Let’s start by Selecting a decent group of Selectors

And the next big question: Who selected these selectors? On what merit do Don Arunasiri and Ranjith Madurasingha qualify to become national selectors. Their international performances certainly don’t justify that and the current selection work clearly shows they are not any better in that department either.  Asantha de Mel deserves some prop for his international career but that is the most commendable thing anybody can say regarding to his actions on and off the cricket field.  Being the president of the national selection committee is a fulltime task which has to be handled with grave responsibility. And de Mel is far from being a qualified choice for that position.

back to the team performance,

Question= Can we really chase down a total in excess of 250 without Jayasuriya firing on top?

the answer has to be “No”. Ever since Jayasuriya was promoted into the openning slot, which was in late 95 only two or three occasions Sri Lanka were able to chase down a total scoring over 5 runs an over.

As good a batsmen Sangakkara is, he is never good at chasing big totals. Sangakkara bats very well if the side make the first use of the pitch.

King of Comedy (1983) – Vindana Ariyawansa

I can’t fathom any reason that kept me from watching  this Scorcese/De Niro masterpiece for this long.

Fresh after “Raging Bull” Scorcese tagged Bobby De Niro to bring this timeless comedy extravaganza. Initially Scorcese wanted to make his beloved project ” Last Temptation of Christ” starring De Niro as Jesus. De Niro declined and instead they came up with this Dramedy co-starring ever popular Jerry Lewis. Who was better to play a talk show host in Silverscreen than Lewis himself?

Johny Carson, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were also considered for the above role which eventually went to Jerry Lewis. After the menacing portrayal of Jake La Motta, De Niro transformed himself to this wanna be stand up comedian. He makes an annoying stalking personality almost adorable and admirable.

With a fitting end to the fantasy/reality filled storyline De Niro wins the hearts by justifying  his declaration: ” its good to be king for a day than be a schmuck for life”.

2009 Oscar Nominations – Vindana Ariyawansa

On the eve of the nominations, this is my personal favorite list of probable Acedamy Award nominees.

Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire
Frost/Nixon
Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Revolutionary Road
Gran Tarino

Best Director

Danny Boyle for “Slumdog Millionaire”
Ron Howard for “Frost/Nixon”
David Fincher for “Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Sam Mendes for ” Revolutionary Road”
Steven Daldry for ” The Reader”

Best Actor     

Mickey Rourke for ” The Wrestler”
Sean Penn for ” Milk”
Frank Langella for ” Frost/Nixon”
Leonardo Di Caprio for – ” Revolutionary Road”
Brad Pitt for ” Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Best Actress 

Meryl Streep for ” The Doubt”
Kate Winslett for ” Revolutionary Road”
Anne Hatheway for “Rachel Getting Married”
Anjelina Jolie for “Changeling”
Kristin Scott Thomas for “Il y a longtemps que je t’aime”