Monday, January 22, 2007

my oscar predictions

I've been looking through some of these oscar sites and have devised my own predictions but I think the oscar sites are having this problem of perceiving that "oscar buzz" is some sort of wildly fluctuating barometer. One of the oscar sites I went to, described "Pan's Labrynth" and "Children of Men" as surging ahead. I think in reality, film's aren't surging or falling in some kind of race, it's simply that our perception of how the films are changing as some new group comes out with an award. That might be part of the fun, anyway, that people love the oscar race so much. Nevertheless, even though i am somewhat tired, i thought i would make some predictions in the event that i am completely right and have noone to tell that to. By posting them with a timestamp that comes before the oscars are announced, i have some proof.

My predictions aren't really that far off from what anyone else has. They're in order of the degree of certainty that they'll be nominated, not n
Best Picture:
1. Departed
2. Dreamgirls
3. Babel
4. The Queen
5. Letters from Iwo Jima
Runner-Up: Little Miss Sunshine
I loved Little Miss Sunshine, but i thought i'd mix it up. I still don't see why people wouldn't vote for Letters from Iwo Jima. Honestly, though, i really can't decide between the two, but i'll take a risk. Queen, like Capote last year, is good but not great. Not grandiose or bold enough in ambition to really feel like an oscar contender, but it will unfortunately make the list anyway. Still, not so bad. To have Dreamgirls, Babel, Departed and either Letters of Little Miss Sunshine makes it a great year.

1. Martin Scorsesee, The Departed
2. Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Babel
3. Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima
4. Stephen Frears, The Queen
5. Bill Condon, Dreamgirls
Runner-Up: Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labrynth
Everyone's all over Pan's Labrynth lately, and I'm starting to think it might possibly be a masterpiece of a film that the academy would be foolish not to reward, but here in this category, i think it's a bit competitive.
Iwo Jima is getting 4 star reviews all across the board and has already won a golden globe as well as the NBR, it would be foolish to think Eastwood would get left out and that some of the Iwo Jima buzz is lost. He's the success story of the decade. I also really can't see how Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu could not get a best director nom. He's one of the top 3 pictures and next to Scorsesee, i think he's the most secure director. People have their doubts about Condon a little and The Queen was seen more as a triumph in acting, but they all have a better chance than that married couple. For mixing-up purposes, I don't like, though when the directors and films match up, so perhaps i'd want Sunshine to get the picture nom and Eastwood to get the director nom.

Original Screenplay:
1. The Queen
2. Little Miss Sunshine
3. Babel
4. Stranger than Fiction
5. Pan's Labrynth
Runner-Up: Bobby
I think Bobby is an endearing piece that wins the audience over emotionally and not neccessarily technically (as in, you're thinking "what a great storyline!"). The storyline's a bit muddled up with too many unneccessary parts, but i'm rooting for it heavily. Stranger than Fiction was a superbly written screenplay and i hope it gets a part, and Pan's Labrynth I'll give Bobby's spot to. Little Miss Sunshine is very deserving.

Adapted Screenplay:
1. William Moynahan, The Departed
2. Todd Field and Tom Perrota, Little Children
3. Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal
4. William Boyle and Paul Haggis, Flags of Our Fathers
5. Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion
Runner-Up: Bill Condon, Dreamgirls
The screenplay awards are often an unofficial top 10 list from the academy, as they give an indication of what the academy might have nominated if they were aloud 5 extra films in the best picture category. That being said, Little Children was a top 10 film, pretty much, and it's writing-heavy so people are pretty eager to reward it there. The Departed is a certainty, pretty much due to the best picture lock and due to the fact that people are familiar with the source material and like what Scorsesee and Co. did with it. Notes on a Scandal's Patrick Marber just missed out on a nomination 2 years ago for his adaptation of Closer, so he'll get rewarded here, I think. People are not considering the fondness people had for Rob Altman and that should lend itself to a screenplay nom, in my opinion. Flags, while having been overshadowed by Iwo Jima, was still considered by many people to be an impressive film, and they like what they did with the adaptation. Thank You For Smoking, I'm not rooting for and I think it was too early in the year. Devil Wears Prada, I just think is too lightweight. In fact, I'm surprised that other groups have given Devil Wears Prada such praise and I think that maybe the academy will come to their senses and realize it's not that good. Since Dremagirls is up for best picture, and Condon has a couple noms under his built, one of which was for adapting a musical to the screen, I think if the Dreamgirls love is heavy enough, he'll get a nom.

Best Actor:
1. Leo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
2. Forest Whitaker, Last King of Scotland
3. Peter O'Toole, Venus
4. Will Smith, Pursuit of Happyness
5. Ryan Gosling, Half-Nelson
Runner-Up: Ken Wattanabe, Letters from Iwo Jima (also Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat)
I think that DiCaprio will get enough votes for both of his parts to guarantee him at least one it onto the list. In other words, even if his votes are split between two roles, you can divide his votes in half and I think he'd still make it. Whitaker, O'Toole, and Smith have been locks for a while, and while some people are thinking that Sacha Baron Cohen will make it onto the shortlist, I hope that won't happen. It's simply because Baron Cohen wasn't acting in the conventional sense and why not award it to an actor like Gosling.

1. Helen Mirren, The Queen
2. Penelope Cruz, Volver
3. Meryl Streep, Devil Wears Prada
4. Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
5. Kate Winslet, Little Children
Runner-Up: Annette Benning, Running with Scissors
I think the categories been set for a while with Winslet and Benning being interchangeable. I do think Benning is the spoiler, though, and not Gyllenhall. I really don't think that many people, even among the academy, have even seen Sherrybaby, and they might not have picked it out from under their screeners.

Supporitng Actor:
1. Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
2. Djimon Hotsou, Blood Diamond
3. Michael Sheen, The Queen
4. Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland
5. Brad Pitt, Babel
Runner-Up: Jack Nicholson, The Departed
I'm putting two people i'd love to see in this category: Affleck and Hotsou, and balancing that with someone I don't really want, because I don't think karma would be that kind to me, to give me both Affleck and Hotsou and not have a complete dud in there as well. I think that Hotsou has a very charismatic performance and if he got a nomination for In America from an underdog position, he can certainly do it again.

Eddie Murphy, I think is rediculous. Some people remember him from his brilliant SNL days, but for someone who grew up in the 90s and haven't had a chance to see a lot of the 80's SNL episodes (they're not the ones that show in syndication, usually), Eddie Murphy to me, is a guy who makes bad movies (Pluto Nash, Showtime, Bowfinger). Still, Murphy to me is the lesser of two evils. I'm playing with karma here again, because i don't want Nicholson to be nominated again. Don't get me wrong, I like Nicholson, I just don't love him and don't want to see his legacy rise too high above other actors that I think were better than him. I realistically think it would take a miracle for him not to get the nom but here's hoping.

Ben Affleck, I think is very much still in the race as is Brad Pitt from Babel and Michael Sheen, who i didn't even particularly like, I would have trouble believing he'd be left out. A great portion of the acedemy has British roots or have performed in England in some capacity so to see someone do that good of an impression of Tony Blair can't be disregarded. I just don't like Michael Sheen though. That guy has some nerve daring to enter show business and not changing his last name. He clearly wants people to believe that he's a member of the Sheen family so he can ride the coattails of Martin and Charlie, but no sir. If it were up to me, I'd love to see Wahlberg in the top 5 for The Departed, but I don't think karma will be that kind.

Also, Jackie Earl Haley, I think came onboard a little too late. Alan Arkin doesn't have enough screentime, and I don't see the point in awarding a courtesy nomination to a veteran, when unlike Alan Alda in 2004, he already has a couple nominations under his belt and he won't win, I'm pretty sure.

Supporting Actress:
1. Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
2. Rinko Kikuchi, Babel
3. Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
4. Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
5. Adriana Barranza, Babel
Runner-Up: Emily Blunt, Devil Wears Prada
Somehow, I think Breslin or Barranza might not make it through, and I want to do something unpredictable just to distinguish myself. Everyone else has this top 5, but the bottom line is i like this line-up. I like Babel's international stars getting acclaim, I'd like to see Breslin, and while I'm not so crazy about Blanchett, she deserves it too. Personally, I felt Emily Blunt was the second best supporting female performance i saw this year (behind Meryl Streep's Prairie Home Companion turn) but I don't want to see Devil Wears Prada get too many awards. I could also see Sharon Stone getting in here.

1. Babel
2. Good German
3. Apocolypto
4. Letters from Iwo Jima
5. Blood Diamond
Runner-Up: Children of Men
Good German might have gotten bad reviews but Sodebergh went to great lengths to get the film stock pretty much exactly as it was 50 years ago, i can't believe he'd be snubbed for cinematography. I think Pan's Labrynth will get a nom in the art direction category rather than this one. Blood Diamond should get a nom, in my opinion, for doing the dirty work of going on location and I think the resulting shots speak for themselves.

Art Direction:
1. Pan's Labrynth
2. Apocolypto
3. Children of Men
4. Dreamgirls
5. Bobby
Runner-Up: Letters from Iwo Jima
Bobby recreated that hotel pretty impressively, Pan's Labrynth, Apocolypto and Children of Men are all about the art direction. Dreamgirls, a lavish musical lends itself well to that stuff.

1. "Song of the Heart" Prince, Happy Feet
2. "Never Gonna Break My Faith" Arethra Franklin, Mary J Blige, Bobby
3. "A Father's Way" Seal, Pursuit of Happyness
4. "Shine on them" Nas, Blood Diamond
5. "Till the End of Time" DeVotchka, Little Miss Sunshine
Runner-Up: "Our Town" Thomas Newman, Cars
I think this is a song line-up I can live with. Blood Diamond's "Shine on Them" is about a subject which the songwriter is clearly passionate about. Seal gets a nomination for "Pursuit of Happyness" because he's Seal and he'll rock the Oscar awards ceremony. "Till the End of Time" is an awesome song that certainly complements the indie feel of the movie and adds another nomination for Little Miss Sunshine. "Never Gonna Break My Faith" is a collaboration of a past and present great and it gives a nom to Bobby which I'm happy with. Lastly, I'm not a big fan of anything called "Song of the Heart" as it sounds like a dumb song title, but since it won at the golden globes i'm inclined not to leave it out.

1. Dreamgirls
2. Pan's Labrynth
3. Flags of Our Fathers
4. Apocolypto
5. Little Miss Sunshine
Runner-Up: Marie Antoinette
Again, since Dreamgirls is a showy musical, it's gotta have costumes. Pan's Labrynth has costumes that are impressive, I imagine. Flags of Our Fathers is a period military piece and has more recognizeable costumes than Letters and Little Miss Sunshine, I just happened to notice the way everyone in the family was dressed so much like their personalities and in colors that were finely tuned to the film's atmosphere.

1. Happy Feet
2. Cars
3. Over the Hedge
Runner-Up: Ice Age 2
I haven't seen what anyone else put for this category but I'd imagine Happy Feet, having made the AFI top 10, is probably in. I think Cars is in and not just because it's Pixar, but because it actually is good and has some fans. Over the Hedge vs. Ice Age 2 is a harder pick. Over the Hedge was a fairly cleverly executed piece, I felt, although it was nothing special enough to stand out on its own. Still, Ice Age 2 is a sequel and sequels are just unoriginal vehicles that are designed to cash in on the popularity of their predecessor.

Visual Effects:
1. Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead Man's Chest
2. X-Men 3
3. Superman Returns
Runner-Up: Poseidon
I think Poseidon is too CGIish to be impressive, but it has its moments. X-Men 3, possibly even more so than its predecessors had some very impressive visuals to boast. Bringing Magneto's metal-manipulating powers, Storm's hurricanes, Pyro's fire and Iceman's ice to life are all very impressive. Superman Returns was a failure of a movie because of its storyline and not because of its special effects, which even i concede were impressive. Lastly, the conversion from Bill Nighy to Davy Jones is enough to cement the visual effects oscar right there.

The rest of the categories, I'm really not qualified to give an opinion on, so I'll refrain.

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