Oscar 2007: Best Picture Analysis–No Country for Old Men Vs. There Will Be Blood

January 22, 2007–Paramount Vantage and Miramax scored a double victory as their “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will be Blood” led nominations for the 80th annual Academy Awards with eight bids, including best picture. Also nominated for the top prize are Focus Features Atonement, Fox Searchlights Juno, and Warner Bros. Michael Clayton.

In 2007, there were 306 films eligible for contention this year, according to AMPAS.



(Focus Features)
A Working Title Production
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers


(Fox Searchlight)
A Dancing Elk Pictures, LLC Production
Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers

Michael Clayton

A Clayton Productions, LLC Production
Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers

No Country for Old Men

(Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production
Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers

There Will Be Blood

(Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers


In 16 of the last 20 years, the film with the largest number of nominations has ended up winning the top award, Best Picture.

However, for the last three years, the nominated leader did not win: The Aviator, Brokeback Mountain and Dreamgirls were the leaders in their respective years, but the Best Picture Oscar went to, respectively, Million Dollar Baby, Crash and The Departed.

Of the five Best Picture nominees, only one, “Juno,” is a comedy, the rest are serious dramas or melodramas.

“Atonement” is a middlebrow period melodrama, and the only nominee that offers strong roles for women, though Keira Knightley failed to make the final cut and so did director Joe Wright. You could say that “Atonement” fills the spot usually taken by the Merchant Ivory productions of the past, such as “A Room With a View” in 1986, and “Howards End,” in 1992.

“Michael Clayton” is a modern paranoia thriller in the mold of 1970s films, such as “The Parallax View” and “All the President’s Men,” both directed by Alan Pakula.

The Coens’ “No Country for Old Men” and Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” are reworkings of the Western genre, the former set at present, the latter in the past. Both films are ultra-violent, and they share a thematic concern, offering a critique of greedy capitalism and the American Way of Life.