Friday, March 03, 2006

my oscar picks...

As usual, I'll post what *will* win and what I think *should* win.

Best Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
David Strathairn, good night, and good luck.
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk The Line

I just saw Walk The Line last night and while technically proficient and *very* well done, it felt more like a condensed travelogue of Johnny Cash's life, with extended music videos throughout. That said, Phoenix was great as The Man In Black. Heath Ledger was masterful as the grizzled sheephand and Strathairn became Murrow. Sadly, this award is locked down for one man alone. I really wish Terrence Howard would get this, as until I saw Hustle & Flow I was rooting for Hoffman. But Howard's electrifying performance outshines all others in this category. Unfortunately that matters not to Oscar voters, so they'll stick with the status quo which is a damn shame.

WILL WIN: Philip Seymour Hoffman
SHOULD WIN: Terrence Howard

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role

George Clooney, Syriana
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt, A History of Violence

This category has come down to two contenders: will Clooney's on-point performance as a grizzled, worn-out CIA agent pull a win here or will Dillon's racist cop get the nod? crash has recaptured alot of its buzz from earlier this year so Matt Dillon may have a chance. But I think Clooney's other nominations will be ignored in favor of this category.

WILL WIN: George Clooney
SHOULD WIN: George Clooney

Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role

Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron, North Country
Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line

I've yet to see Transamerica (it *just* started playing here today...gotta love the superficial theaters here - only run them once they get the Oscar noms) but I hear Felicity Huffman is a revelation. I hate to say it but the others are slot-fillers as again the Oscar voters will gather around one young lady from Memphis and reward her for bringing to life a strong musician. While very well-done, I was not impressed with the performance as a whole and it just seemed like I've seen her play that role before. In a perfect world, Keira Knightley's wonderfully brilliant role would take the Oscar gold here but it's early yet in her career. Even though this will be much like when Horse Teeth (I'm sorry - Julia Roberts) won for the vastly overrated Erin Brockovich, Ryan Phillippe's wife needs to start clearing mantle space now.

WILL WIN: Reese Witherspoon
SHOULD WIN: Keira Knightley

Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role

Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDormand, North Country
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

You want to know what's sad? I've had a screener VHS tape of Junebug for about two months now. But I just haven't had the time to watch it. I will do that before Sunday, mark my words. I was very happy to see Amy Adams get a nomination, as I love left-field nominations. The other three actresses were great. I simply think Rachel Weisz will get the win here, for her luminescent work as the passionate activist. It's much deserved. I would *love* to see Amy Adams get it, simply because I've enjoyed her work over the years and to see an acceptance speech by her would be wonderful.

WILL WIN: Rachel Weisz

Best Animated Feature Film Of The Year

Howl's Moving Castle
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Burton's macabre tale was gothic eye-candy but with more plot than this previous stop-motion effort and therefore alot more enjoyable, with a great score and songs by Danny Elfman. Miyazaki already won for Spirited Away a few years ago. Nick Park and the gang at Aardman Studios have already impressed Oscar enough with their wins for their shorts in the early '90s so Oscar will return the favor yet again.

WILL WIN: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
SHOULD WIN: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Achievement In Art Direction

good night, and good luck.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice

James Bissell's staggeringly devoted job recreating the 1950s-era CBS was nothing short of breathtaking. But I feel that loud, garish tones will sadly win the day here.

King Kong
SHOULD WIN: good night, and good luck.

Achievement In Cinematography

Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
good night, and good luck
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World

This is the rare case in which conventional wisdom might win out, to which I would not mind in this instance. Wally Pfister's great work bringing to life the visual scope of Gotham City was done masterfully. But Robert Elswit really captured the essence of George Clooney's film, so much so you could practically smell the Pall Malls wafting through the air.

WILL WIN: good night, and good luck
SHOULD WIN: good night, and good luck

Achievement In Costume Design

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
Walk The Line

The melted gumdrop designs of Willy Wonka's world might squeak out a win here but we all know how much Oscar loves period pieces and the clothing of classic Britain will edge out an award all their own, every time. Jacqueline Durran managed to make the costumes moveable and true to the era of their making.

WILL WIN: Pride & Prejudice
SHOULD WIN: Pride & Prejudice

Achievement In Directing

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Bennett Miller, Capote
Paul Haggis, Crash
George Clooney, good night, and good luck.
Steven Spielberg, Munich

If Clooney did not snag the supporting Oscar, he could be the dark horse here. Spielberg is always here, like a friend who crashes on your couch but refuses to leave. This is Ang Lee's all the way and deservedly so.


Best Documentary Feature

Darwin's Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
March of the Penguins
Street Fight

With so much corporate and political wrong-doing going on these days (hell, when *isn't* it?), a win here for Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room would be great. I've also heard that Murderball is a stellar documentary and it could be the dark horse in this contest. But with a massive marketing push, a bigger-than-expected box office, and a family audience that came out in droves, expect the citizens of the North Pole to waddle away with an Oscar.

WILL WIN: March of the Penguins
SHOULD WIN: Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room

The award will go to Crash. It *should* go to The Constant Gardener for Claire Simpson did a masterful job with the non-linear storytelling this narrative provides, bringing it all into focus with remarkable clarity.

Best Foreign Language Film

Don't Tell
Joyeux Noel
Paradise Now
Sophie Scholl - The Final Days

Just three months ago, I would have said that Paradise Now with its tale of two suicide bombers in Palestine would have won. But significant praise and acclaim have slowly been buiding behind South Africa's Tsotsi

WILL WIN: Tsotsi

Achievement In Makeup

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe
Cinderella Man
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Seeing as how there's only one film in which makeup played an extensive part, you could pick this winner blindfolded.

WILL WIN: The Chronicles of Narnia
SHOULD WIN: The Chronicles of Narnia

Achievement In Music

Brokeback Mountain
The Constant Gardener
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice

Staid complacency will ensure that John Williams will not cancel himself out. Gustavo Santaolalla's haunting score for Brokeback Mountain deserves this reward, however.

WILL WIN: Memoirs of a Geisha
SHOULD WIN: Brokeback Mountain

Original Song

"In The Deep" (crash)
"Travelin' Thru" (Transamerica)
"It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" (Hustle & Flow)

Dolly will take the cake here.

WILL WIN:"Travelin' Thru"
SHOULD WIN: "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp"

Achievement In Sound Editing

King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds

The loud roars of his acceptance speech via satellite from Skull Island can already be heard.

WILL WIN: King Kong

Sound Mixing - King Kong

Visual Effects - Some are guessing Narnia but this one will go to King Kong.

Adapted Screenplay

Brokeback Mountain
The Constant Gardener
A History of Violence

There is no contest here. Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry took Anniel Proulx's story and turned it into the most romantic and moving love story of the year.

WILL WIN: Brokeback Mountain
SHOULD WIN: Brokeback Mountain

Original Screenplay

good night, and good luck
Match Point
The Squid and the Whale

This is historically the consolation prize for whatever doesn't get Best Picture (witness Sofia Coppola's win for Lost in Translation). I'd love to see Noah Baumbach get recognized for his bitter divorce piece. Stephen Gaghan did a great job with Syriana. Clooney and Grant Heslov also were awesome with good night, and good luck. But this one's sewn up by Bobby Moresco and Paul Haggis. Match Point, IMHO, should win here. It deserved far more nominations.

SHOULD WIN: Match Point

Best Motion Picture Of The Year

Brokeback Mountain
good night, and good luck

And now we come to the top category. All were good films, yet Crash has lost some of its shine for me. I did not see Munich but that's not even remotely an option (see my Spielberg analogy earlier). Hoffman will get rewarded for Capote, and Clooney will pick up an Oscar elsewhere. Brokeback Mountain so richly deserves this award. But with deep, deep sadness I fear that Crash has managed to gain more steam as time has worn on and I think it's going to eke out a win here. I sincerely hope I'm wrong. I really want to see Brokeback Mountain producer James Schamus up on that stage with an Oscar in his hand when this envelope is opened.

SHOULD WIN: Brokeback Mountain

And with that, I'm going to get ready for work.

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