March 5, 2006

2005 Oscars: Wishes, Guesses and Snubs

Just like everything I seem to right lately, this coming right down to the wire. Below are my picks for winners and personal choices, as well as any pertinent notes. Hopefully I will do pretty well, as I tend to be way off on these sort of things. So, without further ado, please readon.

You can also see my personal top lists for 2005.

Best motion picture of the year

  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Crash
  • Good Night, and Good Luck.
  • Munich
  • Notes: The shepherd's romance has a big head of steam going into the awards ceremony, although there are rumblings that Crash could pull out the upset win, which I would not be against. I am a bit disappointed that The Constant Gardener did not get nominated here, as I thought it was better than any of those that did get nominated. I did rank GNGL higher than Brokeback, but think that, of the nominees, Brokeback is tops.

Achievement in directing

  • WILL WIN: Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee
  • Capote Bennett Miller
  • Crash Paul Haggis
  • SHOULD WIN: Good Night, and Good Luck George Clooney
  • Munich Steven Spielberg
  • Notes: Ang Lee has this one sewn up, he has crafted a fine film which has entered the public consciousness like no other in recent memory. However, despite not making my personal list, I think that George Clooney should walk away with the top prize, he made a fantastic film with a great look. Again, surprised at the snub of Fernando Meirelles for The Constant Gardener. I do like seeing Bennett Miller recognized for Capote, a fine film about a unique individual.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
  • Terrence Howard in Hustle & Flow
  • Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
  • Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line
  • David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Notes: Hoffman nailed Truman Capote, he disappeared in the role and will surely be recognized for his work, although Heath could give him a run. The only difference between this list and mine is swapping Terrence Howard for Viggo Mortensen. I haven't seen Hustle & Flow yet, but have heard very good things about it. All of these performances are very good. One final note for Phoenix, wonderful Johnny Cash.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • WILL and SHOULD win: George Clooney in Syriana
  • Matt Dillon in Crash
  • Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man
  • Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt in A History of Violence
  • Notes: This is a tough category, as I think this could go one of three ways. First is who I believe to be the ultimate winner, George Clooney, after him are both Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Giamatti, both of which could make strong play. I am just saddened by the snubs, in particular, my favorite supporting role, Mickey Rourke as Marv in Sin City, wonderful work. Then there are other genre film supporting cast members such as Michael Caine in Batman Begins and Ian McDiarmid in Star Wars Episode III.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
  • Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice
  • Charlize Theron in North Country
  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line
  • Notes: Sadly I have only seen one of these performances, somehow I missed the others, on the other hand, the one I saw is going to win. Among my perceived snubs are Maria Bello's excellent work in A History of Violence. One performance that should be recognized, but had no chance at an Oscar was Sybel Kikelli in the excellent German film Head On.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Amy Adams in Junebug
  • Catherine Keener in Capote
  • Frances McDormand in North Country
  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
  • Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain
  • Notes: While I think that Weisz should win, and probably will, I think Michelle Williams has a strong shot too. Notable among the snubs are Scarlett Johansson's strong work in Match Point and Thandie Newton in Crash. One more actress I would like to recognize here is Hee Jae in the Korean film 3 Iron, a mesmerizing, near silent performance.

Adapted screenplay

  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: Brokeback Mountain Screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
  • Capote Screenplay by Dan Futterman
  • The Constant Gardener Screenplay by Jeffrey Caine
  • A History of Violence Screenplay by Josh Olson
  • Munich Screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth
  • Notes: This is a no brainer, the Brokeback script is absolutely wonderful. It may not have been my favorite film of the year, but the natural flow of this screenplay is something to be admired.

Original screenplay

  • WILL WIN: Crash Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco Story by Paul Haggis
  • Good Night, and Good Luck. Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov
  • Match Point Written by Woody Allen
  • SHOULD WIN: The Squid and the Whale Written by Noah Baumbach
  • Syriana Written by Stephen Gaghan
  • Notes: As much as I enjoyed Crash, I think the script relies too heavily on coincidence and trying to cram in as much as possible at the expense of "believability." I think Noah Baumbach's script of the crumbling family dynamic is much more masterful, despite the sudden end, it is an excellent original work.

Best animated feature film of the year

  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Notes: All three of these films are worthy, and while I think in the long term Corpse Bride may be my favorite, W&G is clearly the best of this year's crop, full of wit and charm, not to mention a good story. It is also interesting to note that there are no CG films nominated, and no Disney originals.

Achievement in art direction

  • Good Night, and Good Luck.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: King Kong
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Notes: The movie about the big ape should take this, hands down. From old New York to Skull Island and back, this movie always has something to look at, although both GNGL and Memoirs could lay claim to fantastic art. Sin City should have been nominated here.

Achievement in cinematography

  • Batman Begins
  • WILL WIN: Brokeback Mountain
  • Good Night, and Good Luck.
  • SHOULD WIN: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • The New World
  • Notes: Memoirs should really win this category, but I have a feeling that sprawling mountain vistas will push the vote in their favor. Another category where Sin City should have been nominated.

Achievement in costume design

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • SHOULD WIN: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • WILL WIN: Walk the Line
  • Notes: I think the Cash biopic is going to walk away with this one, although I think the wonderful outfits in Memoirs should be recognized.

Best documentary feature

  • Darwin's Nightmare
  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
  • WILL WIN: March of the Penguins
  • SHOULD WIN: Murderball
  • Street Fight
  • Notes: I think the onslaught of the Penguins will take home the top prize, but I want to see Murderball take it. I was surprised to not see the feel good Mad Hot Ballroom here.

Best documentary short subject

  • The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club
  • God Sleeps in Rwanda
  • The Mushroom Club
  • GUESS to WIN: A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin
  • Notes: This is a guess, as I have not seen any of them.

Achievement in film editing

  • Cinderella Man
  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: The Constant Gardener
  • Crash
  • Munich
  • Walk the Line
  • Notes: The political thriller/love story will rightly take home this prize. It has been cut together wonderfully spinning the many plot threads together.

Best foreign language film of the year

  • Don't Tell Italy
  • Joyeux Noël France
  • Paradise Now Palestine
  • Sophie Scholl - The Final Days Germany
  • GUESS to WIN Tsotsi South Africa
  • Notes: This is a guess, as I have not seen any of them.

Achievement in makeup

  • WILL WIN: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Cinderella Man
  • SHOULD WIN: Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  • Notes: Fantasy rules the day, this will be Narnia's winner, although I think Lucas' epic should be the winner.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • Brokeback Mountain Gustavo Santaolalla
  • The Constant Gardener Alberto Iglesias
  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: Memoirs of a Geisha John Williams
  • Munich John Williams
  • Pride & Prejudice Dario Marianelli
  • Notes: This is a no brainer, John Williams work is too strong to be ignored, the beauty captured in Asian stylings is a wonderful listen, not to mention the contributions of Yo Yo Ma and Itchak Perlman. Danny Elfman should have been nominated for Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • WILL WIN: "In the Deep" from Crash Music by Kathleen "Bird" York and Michael Becker Lyric by Kathleen "Bird" York
  • "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow Music and Lyric by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard
  • "Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica Music and Lyric by Dolly Parton
  • Notes: This is a guess, as I have not seen any of them.

Best animated short film

  • Badgered Sharon Colman
  • The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation John Canemaker and Peggy Stern
  • The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello Anthony Lucas
  • 9 Shane Acker
  • WILL WIN: One Man Band Andrew Jimenez and Mark Andrews
  • Notes: This is a guess, as I have not seen any of them.

Best live action short film

  • Ausreisser (The Runaway) Ulrike Grote
  • WILL WIN: Cashback Sean Ellis and Lene Bausager
  • The Last Farm Runar Rúnarsson and Thor S. Sigurjónsson
  • Our Time Is Up Rob Pearlstein and Pia Clemente
  • Six Shooter Martin McDonagh
  • Notes: Again, I have not seen any of these, so this is a pure guess.

Achievement in sound editing

  • WILL WIN: King Kong Mike Hopkins and Ethan Van der Ryn
  • Memoirs of a Geisha Wylie Stateman
  • SHOULD WIN: War of the Worlds Richard King
  • Notes: Surprised Star Wars Episode III did not get nominated. Anyway, WotW should take the trophy, the sound is absolutely stunning.

Achievement in sound mixing

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • WILL WIN: King Kong
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Walk the Line
  • SHOULD WIN:War of the Worlds
  • Notes: King Kong had a great mix, although the use of surrounds and blend of music dialog and effects of WotW is superior and should take home the top prize. Walk the Line also had a very good mix, what with all of the musical numbers.

Achievement in visual effects

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • WILL and SHOULD WIN: King Kong
  • War of the Worlds
  • Notes: I think it is unforgivable that Star Wars Episode III was not nominated in this category. I heard a rumor that they did not want to continue recognizing sequels, and that this was to be a policy. I sure hope that isn't the case, it does not sound right to me, if a film is the best, it should not be ignored because it is a sequel. As for the nominees we have, King Kong is the single greatest CG character at this moment in time and deserves recognition for it, although Spielberg made wonderful use of effects in his reimagining of War of the Worlds.

That brings me to a close for my predictions. Again, I apologize for how late this is, and I hope someone gets to see it before the show!

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