- BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
- GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
Will Win: Brokeback Mountain – If my previous post about Brokeback Mountain winning the Best Picture Oscar wasn’t enough to convince you of my pick, then nothing will. The bottom line is that Crash is going through an ugly court battle between the producers, and a late critical backlash is spreading way too fast around town for the Academy to get behind the movie. Also, it sucked. No one saw Capote, Goodnight and Good Luck is a place holder nomination and Munich is too controversial a pick. This is Brokeback’s to lose, always has been.
Should Win: Brokeback Mountain – The Best Picture award has to go to the film that defines cinema in its year. It should be an ambassador of cinema, and it should be the most heralded film of the year. Brokeback is a strong film that brings all the right things to the table. It may not be the best movie of the year (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang got robbed!), but it definitely should be considered the Best Picture of the year.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
- Philip Seymour Hoffman, CAPOTE
- Heath Ledger, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
- Terrence Howard, HUSTLE AND FLOW
- David Strathairn, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
- Joaquin Phoenix, WALK THE LINE
Will Win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman – He satisfies the following criteria: Be Fat, Be Owed and Be Needed. He is arguably the best actor working today, and Hollywood isn’t stupid enough not to honor him for his work. Joaquin will get an award in time, but his performance was just a bit too much of a Jamie Foxx in Ray retread, and Jamie was better. The Strathairn nod is a “thank you for the years of good service” nod, so he has no chance. And the Terrence Howard nod is a “congratulations on becoming the next Denzel” nod. I would bet he’ll be back at the Oscars in the years to come. As for Heath, well, there ain’t no way we’re giving the Best Actor Oscar to the guy from A Knight’s Tale. It’s just not happening. His nod is much more like a Most Improved nomination, than anything else.
Should Win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Though not so much because of Capote, than because of Happiness, Talented Mr. Ripley, 25th Hour, Flawless, Almost Famous and his watershed performance in Boogie Nights as the love struck Scottie J. It would be a crime if he never wins an Academy Award.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
- Felicity Huffman, TRANSAMERICA
- Charlize Theron, NORTH COUNTRY
- Reese Witherspoon, WALK THE LINE
- Keira Knightley, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
- Judi Dench, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS
Will Win: Reese Witherspoon – She’s the next Julia Roberts, and the Oscars will be her official coronation (Even though she’s loathsome in almost every way). Charlize and Judi Dench were nominated because they are classy actresses that did well in Oscar Bait movies. Also, it was a really bad year for women in film. Felicity Huffman is a TV actress, so no matter how good she was in Transamerica, I’m not sure what she is doing here (Please leave Desperate Housewives and join the new Aaron Sorkin show. Please!). As for Keira Knightley, I loved her in Pride and Prejudice, but I bet this is a do good nomination, in that the Academy said to her “Well done, you finally began to tap the potential we all saw in you back in Bend it like Beckham, now go out, do good, and we’ll see you back here in a few years. And no more action movies, you’re too thin to be a bounty hunter. Eat a hamburger for god sakes. Can’t you be more like Scarlet?”
Should Win: Reese Witherspoon – As much as I hate to say it, Hollywood has spent too much time and money grooming Reese to be a star, so her not winning would basically be Hollywood admitting they had put their money on the wrong horse (And if you think I didn’t enjoy comparing Reese to a horse just then, well, you don’t know me very well.). I would love to see Felicity Huffman win, but only because she gives the best acceptance speeches this side of Jack Nicholson.
- Steven Spielberg, MUNICH
- Ang Lee, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
- George Clooney, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
- Paul Haggis, CRASH
- Bennet Miller, CAPOTE
Will Win: Ang Lee – He has the qualifications, the resume, and the respect. Any actor would kill their agent to work with him, and every studio in town wants his next movie. Plus, he made Brokeback a success when every director in town wanted to do it, and couldn’t get it made. He, more than anyone else nominated for Oscars this year, deserves to win. Spielberg has two wins already, and even though Munich was masterful in every way, too many Jews are angry about how he depicted Palestine. And not to make this a political piece, but yes, Jews do run Hollywood. If Steven wants to win making a film about history, he needs to stick with what he does best (and what Hollywood Jews prefer he does), World War II. Clooney did a great job, but he’s too much of a novice (not to mention a pretty boy) to climb over the acclaimed Ang Lee. Bennet Miller is a rookie, but has a bright future ahead of him. As for Paul Haggis, well… he’s a hack. Everyone knows it, probably even him. Yes, he makes movies that allow actors to shine, but he can’t put together a subtle story to save his life.
Should Win: Shane Black – When you can make a great movie out of an outdated genre using two leads who are widely considered to be the hardest two actors to work with in the world, launch the career of a great new female actress (Michelle Monaghan), AND keep the integrity of your movie when you have Corbin Bernson as your villain, well, that deserves an Oscar in my book. Ang can keep his gay cowboys, I’ll stick with Shane Black’s Gay Perry.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
- Paul Giamatti, CINDERELLA MAN
- George Clooney, SYRIANA
- Matt Dillon, CRASH
- William Hurt, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
- Jake Gyllenhaal, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Will Win: Paul Giamatti – He’s owed, he’s needed and he was snubbed too hard last year for the Academy to make the same mistake twice. Matt Dillon got a “thanks for the years of good service” nod, though I do admire the work he did in Crash. William Hurt was only on-screen for ten minutes, and you have to be Jack Nicholson or Judi Dench to win the award in that amount of screen time. I liked Jake Gyllenhaal more than Heath Ledger, but Jake is a bit to early in his career for a win. I expect to see him back in the years to come. Clooney was great, and stands as the main challenger to Giamatti. If there’s gonna be an upset on Oscar Night (and there usually is), than a Clooney win will be it.
Should Win: George Clooney – In Syrianna George Clooney did everything you are supposed to do to win an Oscar. He got fat, he got ugly, he took a pay cut, he played it subtle and he helped produce the movie. In my boat, he deserves the award just for having the stones to put his name on the line to make the movie. I thought he was fantastic in Syrianna; he was my favorite character in the movie, which says a lot considering the quality of the cast (Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, Christopher Plummer, Tim Blake Nelson). Also, he’s been great in a slew of films, beginning with Out of Sight. I think he’s an underrated actor, and due a few accolades. Moreover, I don’t care that he was snubbed last year, Giamatti just wasn’t THAT great in Cinderella Man.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
- Rachel Weisz, THE CONSTANT GARDENER
- Frances McDormand, NORTH COUNTRY
- Michelle Williams, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
- Amy Adams, JUNEBUG
- Catherine Keener, CAPOTE
Will Win: Rachel Weisz – She British, she’s well liked, and she was really good in a well-pedigreed movie. She’s the current front-runner and I don’t see anyone that can pass her. Frances McDormand got the nod because the Academy loves her. Catherine Keener is being honoured for her body of work, and not for Capote (because no one saw it). Amy Adams is just along for the ride. And Michelle Williams, though excellent in Brokeback, is riding the success of the film, and doesn’t have enough support to overtake Weisz. Also, she’s a TV actress, and hasn’t yet lived down Dawson’s Creek (It may take some time.).
Should Win: Amy Adams – Because if Oscar history teaches us anything, it’s that the Academy loves to go kooky in this category. She was apparently a revelation in her movie, Junebug, and critics have being leap-frogging each other to give her praise. The only thing holding her back is that the film has no buzz about it at all. As for Rachel Weisz, I like her, and liked her in The Constant Gardener, but the movie was SO boring. It took me three tries just to finish watching it. Would it kill them to have an action scene? Can we get Ralph Fiennes to shoot somebody? Please?
Best Original Screenplay
- Woody Allen, MATCH POINT
- George Clooney & Grant Heslov, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK
- Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco, CRASH
- Stephen Gaghan, SYRIANA
- Noah Baumbach, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE
Will Win: Goodnight, and Good Luck – Because George got three nominations, and he has to win at least one. Also, did I mention that Crash sucked. Syrianna was muddled, too vague and insular, and way too left-leaning for the Academy to honor it. The Squid and the Whale is the token Indie movie here (And a film I will NEVER see. The Jay does not do angry divorce movies. I don’t care how good Jeff Daniels was.). As for Match Point, the script has no chance, because the movie itself didn’t get nominated. If it had, Match Point would be the dark horse favorite. It’s nice to see Woody Allen doing good work again, but like I’ve said in the past, he makes a movie every year, after a while he was bound to get one right.
Should Win: Goodnight, and Good Luck – A black and white movie about news anchors, and it didn’t star Will Ferrell? That’s daring! For George to spend so much time on a passion project such as this, and for it to turn out so well, is a marvel. Who knew he could write? Now I kinda have to hate him. He’s great-looking, a good actor, a good director AND he can write? That’s just not fair.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- Dan Futterman, CAPOTE
- Josh Olson, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
- Jeffrey Caine, THE CONSTANT GARDENER
- Tony Kushner & Eric Roth, MUNICH
- Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Will Win: Brokeback Mountain – This is a foregone conclusion. I don’t like that Dan Futterman has been telling people he had to learn what a narrative was before he wrote Capote, like dude, you just got nominated for a writing Oscar, at least fake like you know how to write. A History of Violence was unfairly snubbed by the Academy, so it has no chance to overtake the Brokeback juggernaut. See above for my comments on The Constant Gardener. Munich as unbelievable pedigree, but overcompensates with way too much territorial confusion. I think Roth and Kushner differed on how to represent Israel, and that may have been the downfall of the film. Had they both shared a cohesive emotional through line about the country I think Munich would have been a more fluid (and well-received) film.
Should Win: Shane Black – Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – Can I get some love for Shane Black. This man is owed an Oscar, more than any other writer out there. He created the Lethal Weapon movies! He wrote A Long Kiss Goodnight! Damn it, he wrote The Last Boyscout! Who cares about gay cowboys, Shane Black is the best genre writer we have.
Host: John Stewart
He will tank. Whenever you have a comedian who’s material is edgy and independent, they always try to go mainstream for the Oscars, with predictably bad results (see: David Letterman or Chris Rock). Also, he’s a TV guy. What’s with the trend of mixing TV with film? I like the division, and besides, that’s why we have the Emmy’s (Which is probably a better place for Stewart to host). I think you can expect a tepid monologue with too many political jokes, and about nine George Clooney cut-aways. I think you’ll see a poorly-conceived movie parody ala Billy Crystal. And I think you’ll see him be nervous, stutter a lot, trip over his lisp, and ultimately bore us. I hope he does well because I think he’s extremely talented, but I worry he’s gonna unleash his version of ‘Uma, Oprah” and never get asked back to the big dance.
As for the other awards, here are my predictions:
Best Foreign Film: Tsotsi
Best Animated Feature – Wallace and Gromit
Best Cinematography – Brokeback Mountain
Best Score – Brokeback Mountain
Best Song – Dolly Parton, Transamerica
Best Documentary Feature – Enron: Smartest Guys in the Room
Best Visual Effects – Chronicles of Narnia
Best Costume Design – Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Makeup – Chronicles of Narnia
Best Film Editing – Munich
And those are my predictions for the 2006 Academy Awards. Hope you all have a great Oscar Night.