One of my favorite nights of the year, Oscar night, is finally here. I don't know why I love it so much, I rarely agree with the outcome, and for the second consecutive year only one of my top five is in Oscar's best picture category. Oh well, our disagreements aside, I love the Oscars. Here it is, my predictions...
We'll start with Animated Feature, because it is so simple. CARS will lap the competition. Sorry, I'll try to avoid the cheesy puns from here on out.
Original Song- I have only heard the one from Cars, but I guarantee a victory for one of the songs from DREAMGIRLS. Hey, I've got a three in five chance.
Foreign-language film- It's got to be PAN'S LABYRINTH, although The Lives of Others looks really good, I just don't think it got the attention and exposure to compete with PAN.
Original Screenplay- Probably going to be LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE although it will be the wrong choice. There's a chance for Babel or The Queen here, but either one would represent a huge shift away from Little Miss Sunshine, so I doubt it. It should be Pan's of the five nominees.
Adapted Screenplay- Probably DEPARTED, but Children of Men has a very good shot, because there were a lot of people other then me that felt this was the best movie of the year. A win here could be a consolation prize.
Documentary Feature- Al Gore finally wins. INCONVENIENT TRUTH will win without even needing a recount. I've heard a rumor that Gore will announce he's running for President in 08 in his acceptance speech, could be the highlight of the evening.
All right let's get to the big stuff...
Supporting Actor- I know the majority believes Eddie Murphy here, but I doubt it. It'll be ALAN ARKIN for his lovable but crotchety old Grandpa. That was by far the best part of that movie. After his role was done, the film lost steam quickly in my opinion. If the Departed starts to pull a Return of the King as a sort of career night for Scorsese, Mark Walberg could score an upset. It's a very outside shot though.
Supporting Actress- JENNIFER HUDSON. There are those that feel Dreamgirls should have gotten a best pic nomination, I'm not a big fan of musicals personally, so I don't mind the omission too much, but the Academy will be looking for some way to reward the film. This breakout, scene stealing performance is the best way.
Actor- FOREST WHITAKER. Although Peter O'Toole is a possibility I doubt he'll win due to the honorary Oscar he just received. There could be people voting who want to see him get a real one, so an upset is possible. There is no doubt in my mind that Ryan Gosling is the actor who most deserves it, however.
Actress- HELEN MIRREN. I don't really have anything else to add, they might has well have not even nominated anyone else, that's how much of a lock this is.
Director- MARTIN SCORSESE. Throughout the history of the Oscars people have won for films that are much less impressive then others in their filmogrophies just because they were due, Denzel for Training Day, Russel Crowe for Gladiator, for examples. That tradition will continue today. Actually, I think he best directing job of those nominated belonged to Paul Greenrass for United 93, what could have been done wrong in so many different ways and on so many different levels was handled expertly, but as one of Scorsese's biggest fans, I won't argue with the decision. He's earned it time and time again.
This race is wide open. The only movie that I can reasonably say won't win it is Letters From Iwo Jima, which is one of the worst movies I have seen in years (although it was better then Pirates of the Caribbean 2). It had its moments, but overall it was poorly done and poorly told. That headache you have? It's from being beaten over the head with the point, they're just like us! The Japanese culture is so prevalent here now, the point this movie made has been rendered pointless. A film from the perspective of Iraqis making the same point, now that would be interesting. Still, even with an unimportant theme, you should still try to make an interesting movie. If they did try, they failed, because this movie was just flat boring.
Everyone else has a chance to win. Babel tried the hardest, and for that it gets some credit, but it fell flat just a few too many times. I have to say, though, if all of the scenes in Japan had been fully from that character's perspective, as in completely silent, it would have made those scenes unbelievably powerful. Add that opportunity lost to too many scenes requiring large leaps of faith (although not nearly to the point as last year's winner, the ridiculous Crash) and the dreary subject matter, I would be surprised if it wins.
The Queen is great on many levels, but ultimately it is more a portrait than a movie (as those involved will gladly point out), so while it has a chance, I'm leaning towards this being a two picture race.
The movie that should win (of the five) is The Departed. There is too much momentum and fervor behind LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, though and I predict it will walk away with the prize. I thought it was an okay film, and the first half was brilliant. It just goes downhill after Alan Arkin's exit, however as he added heart to the eccentricity without even seeming to try. After that, the attempts at adding heart were heavy handed at best, and the rest of the characters were, in my opinion, far more caricatures rather than characters. Sure, it was an enjoyable film for what it was, but for the life of me I can't understand the hype that this movie is receiving and riding very likely to a Best Picture win. Well, I guess it's better than Iwo Jima.
Until Next Time, enjoy the Oscars, and I'll soon return with my second annual "My Thoughts as I Had Them While Watching the Oscars" post.