Thursday, March 02, 2006

Your basic Oscar prediction post

Yeah, I've been slacking off lately in terms of posting, but that's neither here nor over there because the Oscars are coming up this Sunday. You won't find all the categories here (does anyone have a preference for 'Best Sound Mixing'?), but you will find plenty of second-guessing and semi-informed opinions.

Actress in a supporting role
Nominees: Amy Adams, Junebug; Catherine Keener, Capote; Frances McDormand, North Country; Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener; Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

This is probably the least glamorous of all the major categories this year. Nobody saw 'Junebug,' there's little remaining buzz over 'North Country' and Philip Seymour Hoffman is who everyone remembers from 'The Constant Gardener.' I see it as a two-person race between Weisz and Williams. Both are also in the I-Can't-Believe-Charlize Theron-Is-Actually-Nominated! category, since the two actresses have had a fairly dubious career up until this point (Weisz in both 'Mummy' movies; Williams was in 'Dick' and even starred as Wilson's girlfriend in an episode of 'Home Improvement'). But Williams was the main reason 'Brokeback Mountain' was pushed from a pretty good movie into a favorite for Best Picture.
Who I want to win: Williams
Who will win: Williams

Actor in a supporting role
Nominees: George Clooney, Syriana; Matt Dillon, Crash; Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man; Jake Gyllenhall, Brokeback Mountain; William Hurt, A History of Violence

Wow, what a lineup. Can't remember the last time this category was so packed with stars. A few quibbles: how did Gyllenhall find his way onto this list when his role in 'Brokeback' was at least equal to Heath Ledger's, who is nominated for Best Actor? And Hurt was good in 'A History of Violence,' but he was only in one scene and had maybe 15 minutes of screen time, how does he get the nod over someone like Mickey Rourke in 'Sin City'? I think this is Dillon's to lose, since 'Crash' has all the hype and he is the lone acting nominee from it, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Giamatti come away with it since many felt he was robbed for not winning for 'Sideways.' I won't be let down with any of these choices, but will root for Hurt as an underdog that will give attention to a film that should have been nominated for Best Picture.
Who I want to win: Hurt
Who will win: Dillon

Actress in a leading role:
Nominees: Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents; Felicity Huffman, Transamerica; Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice; Charlize Theron, North Country; Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

I'm going to throw out Theron and Knightley immediately, since the memory of Theron winning the award is still fresh and classic roles (like Knightley's) rarely win. I can see Dench winning, as she is an easy person to vote for, but I don't see her or Huffman overcoming the momentum that Witherspoon still has with Walk the Line. The first thing people talked about with the movie was Witherspoon's performance, which was much more complicated and driving than Joaquin Phoenix's. It will help her that there's really no other homeruns in this group. Witherspoon plum deserves the award, as even taking on the role of June Carter-Cash was a brave move for her, since she had never had a role like that before.
Who I want to win: Witherspoon
Who will win: Witherspoon

Actor in a leading role
Nominees: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow; Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain; Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line; David Strathain, Good Night, and Good Luck

For anyone who has seen 'Hustle & Flow,' you know that Terrence Howard absolutely deserves this award, and you will also know that he will not win it. The movie itself has so little buzz, and it was nominated for no other awards, that it's a given, and a shame, that Howard will not win. And it's too bad, because Howard perfected a completely original and complicated character who carried an inspired movie from beginning to end. I see this as another two-person race between Hoffman and Ledger, as Phoenix's performance was somewhat overrated and nobody knows who the hell Strathain is. While Ledger's performance is easily second-best to Howard this year in my book, Hoffman is an actor who many people will vote for partly because of his many great past roles.
Who I want to win: Howard
Who will win: Hoffman

Director/Best Picture
Nominees: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night, and Good luck, Munich

This is one of the few years recently where the Best Director nominees are identical to those in Best Picture, so I combined them. I have two thoughts here: Ang Lee should win for Best Director and 'Crash' is the weakest link of the Best Picture noms. Watching 'Brokeback,' it's clear how tenuous a picture this was, how if it was mishandled in any way, its significance would be lost. The subject of Gay Cowboys in Love seems like it would walk the line between satire and fetish, but instead it's one of the best interpretations of forbidden love. Whereas 'Brokeback' is original and of rare quality, the hype 'Crash' has enjoyed is mostly because it has dared to touch on racism. It is a commendable subject, but it's another thing to present it in the most heavy-handed and predictable way possible. The Matt Dillon rescue scene and the ending between Ludacris and Terrence Howard are the most egregious offenders, as both scenes come off as completely unbelievable. We've also seen the Sandra Bullock character before in tons of movies, a person (usually a woman) who stereotypes a class/race, but by the end must change her views. I wasn't impressed at all, and I saw it when it first came out before all the hype. Of all these candidates, I thought 'Brokeback' was the best, but feel that 'Capote' will win because I have the feeling that the voters will give this award back to an artsy, small-budget film, unlike past years.
Who I want to win: Brokeback Mountain
Who will win: Capote

1 comment:

Mike Sheffler said...

Interesting picks. I haven't seen a lot of the movies (which isn't unusual, but there are some, like Walk the Line, Junebug, and Hustle & Flow, that I really want to see and haven't).

My one big gripe is the inclusion of Munich over Syriana for best picture/director.

I liked Munich enough, but it could've been great if Spielberg hadn't fucked it up in the last hour like he has with practically every other movie he's made in the last 10 years.

I also like your points about Crash. I thought it was pretty good, but there's no question that every part of Brokeback Mountain was better than every part of it.