February 24, 2007

79th Academy Awards: Predictions

The big night is mere days away. I guess it is about time that I formally enter my predictions into the pot. I am notorious for not being able to pick all that well, but I have a strong feeling about a few of these categories, even if some of my favorites failed to make the cut. Well all know that all these awards boil down to is a marketing tool paired with a lot of back slapping. Still, that isn't to say that the nominated films are not worthy. Generally speaking, all of the films nominated are worthy of their place. Yes, there is always room for dissent, and we often see our favorites on the outside looking in. My favorite film failed to make a dent in any of the major categories, and i can say that I am truly upset over that, however, my number two is up for best foreign language, and my number three is front runner for the top prize. Well, let us dispense with the opening and get right down to it. Below you will read who the winners will be, so beware of spoilers! Yes... that was a weak attempt at humor.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

  • Babel. This film has the momentum of having won the Golden Globe, but I think that Oscar voters are going to go in a different direction.
  • The Departed. This will be your winner. It is a wonderful film that is funny, dramatic, and completely satisfying.
  • Letters from Iwo Jima. Excellent film, but something tells me that it will fall short. It is a dark horse candidate.
  • Little Miss Sunshine. The indie sweetheart of the world has a shot, but I think the love will fall short of the line. I enjoyed the movie, but am slightly surprised it made it this far.
  • The Queen. Eh, the movie was good, if a little too dry for my taste. This was completely carried by its performances.
  • NOTE: If I was to choose outside of these nominees, by number 1 film was Children of Men.

Best Actor

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond. Good performance, although I think he was stronger in The Departed. He will not win.
  • Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson. Gosling's profile starting to gain momentum. I have not seen this one, but he is definitely a name to keep an eye on. This nomination will only help that, but will not take home the prize.
  • Peter O'Toole, Venus. Another film I have not seen, yet have heard good things of his performance. The legend will have to settle for the nomination.
  • Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness. This is the stongest performance of his career, it allowed him to demonstrate a little range. Still, not good enough to win.
  • Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland. Technically, this may be a supporting role, but the film could be seen as the story of his control of those around him through the eyes of another. This is your winner.

Best Actress

  • Penelope Cruz, Volver. Very good performance, so much stronger than any of her Hollywood work. As charismatic as she was, she will not win.
  • Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal. She put on an acting clinic, although I would not mind seeing her win, she won't.
  • Helen Mirren, The Queen. Here she is, your winner. This was an electric and finely measured performance, one worthy of the award.
  • Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada. Like Forest Whitaker, this may technically be a supporting role, but she so completely owned the film, I mean, she is the devil in the title. She may win, and I would not be disappointed, but I doubt it.
  • Kate Winslet, Little Children. I have not seen this performance, but she is generally dependable for a good performance, her time will come.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine. This was a fun performance, he very much was this lovable guy with a few quirks from the darkside, but not your winner.
  • Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children. Haven't seen the performance, but I hear e stole the show, but he won't steal the award.
  • Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond. I would like to see him win, he is such an electric screen presence.
  • Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls. Here is your winner, unless there is some strong Norbit backlash. He was wonderful in his role, and had a very satisfying character arc that I did not see coming.
  • Mark Wahlberg, The Departed. Really? Marky Mark? He was good, but I would have figured Big Bad Jack would have been a lock. Anyway, happy for the nom, but he won't win.
  • NOTE: If I was to go outside these nominees, I would give the statue to Kazunari Ninomiya for Letters from Iwo Jima.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Adrianna Barraza, Babel. Great performance, but not going to win. Though, I wouldn't mind an upset.
  • Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal. Again, strong performance, but not going to take the top prize.
  • Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine. A wonderful performance from the young newcomer. First of many noms, perhaps? She will have to win another time.
  • Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls. Here is your winner, in a powerful and moving performance, that I would have argued for the lead role. She took this movie and carried it on her shoulders and deserves all the praise she has received.
  • Rinko Kikuchi, Babel. Strong performance, moving, touching, and silent, but not the winner.

Best Director

  • Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima. Could this be another one for him? Perhaps, but I think not. Although, his success was two fold on his ambitious and brave project.
  • Stephen Frears, The Queen. Nicely directed, but not someone I would have given the nomination to.
  • Paul Greengrass, United 93. Speaking of brave projects, this one had to have been a tough sell, but the resultwas fantastic, but not the guy to win this year.
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel. This could prove to be strong competition, but I have another name in mind.
  • Martin Scorsese, The Departed. Finally, after years and years of great films and nominations, this should be the year when Marty brings home the top prize.
  • NOTES: If I could go outside of these names, I would go with either Guillermo del Toro for the magical Pan's Labyrinth or Alfonso Cuaron for Children of Men.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Guillermo Arriaga, Babel. This had to have been tough to write, all of the interlocking stories covering so many backgrounds and nationalities. Not destined to win.
  • Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis, Letters from Iwo Jima. Moving script giving another face to the enemy. Nicely balanced, but not going to win.
  • Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine. I have a feeling this will be the winner.
  • Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth. This would be nice to see win, the story is beautiful, but, since I already chose a winner, this cannot win.
  • Peter Morgan, The Queen. Nicely written, gives interesting insight, and could win, but I don't think so.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer, Todd Phillips - Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Really? I cannot believe this got nominated, and no, I don't think it will win.
  • Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby - Children of Men. I am torn, this was number two on my list, while the film was number one, and since this did not get much love elsewhere, I would love to see it win here. However, I don't think it will happen.
  • William Monahan - The Departed. Here is the winner. I loved the script, it is fast, witty, intelligent, moving, everything you need.
  • Todd Field and Tom Perrotta - Little Children. Haven't seen the film, but would not be surprised by an upset. I hear it is a great script.
  • Patrick Marber - Notes on a Scandal. This was a tightly written thriller with clear focus, but it will not win.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

  • The Black Dahlia: Vilmos Zsigmond. The movie may have been an overdirected, unfocused disappointment, but it did look great. Still, it will not win.
  • Children of Men: Emmanuel Lubezki. OK, I am going to go with Emmanuel Lubezki. This film looked great and had some amazing shots that just draw you in.
  • The Illusionist: Dick Pope. Movie looked very good, but others here are better.
  • Pan's Labyrinth: Guillermo Navarro. Another gorgeous looking film, and one I would not be disappointed if it won.
  • The Prestige: Wally Pfister. The superior magician film, and one that also looked great, still, I doubt it will take the prize.

Best Achievement in Editing

  • Babel: Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
  • Blood Diamond: Steven Rosenblum
  • Children of Men: Alfonso Cuarón, Alex Rodríguez
  • The Departed: Thelma Schoonmaker
  • United 93: Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson, Christopher Rouse
  • NOTE: I am not sure. I would like to see Children of Men win, although I think the race will be between United 93 and The Departed. I think I will go with United 93.

Best Achievement in Art Direction

  • Dreamgirls: John Myhre, Nancy Haigh.
  • The Good Shepherd: Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, Gretchen Rau, Leslie E. Rollins
  • Pan's Labyrinth: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest: Rick Heinrichs, Cheryl Carasik
  • The Prestige: Nathan Crowley, Julie Ochipinti
  • NOTES: I believe Dreamgirls will be the winner, although my heart says Pan's Labyrinth.

Best Achievement in Costume Design

  • Curse of the Golden Flower: Chung Man Yee
  • The Devil Wears Prada: Patricia Field
  • Dreamgirls: Sharen Davis
  • Marie Antoinette: Milena Canonero
  • The Queen: Consolata Boyle
  • NOTES: I have not a clue, but I am going to say Dreamgirls. Golden Flower looks good, but a little overdone, perhaps, while The Queen is a little understated.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

  • Babel: Gustavo Santaolalla. This was better than his Brokeback Mountain crapfest, but still not among the best of the year.
  • The Good German: Thomas Newman. Have not heard this score, so no comment.
  • Notes on a Scandal: Philip Glass. I really liked his score and believe that this will win, although it was not my favorite of the year, or among the nominees.
  • Pan's Labyrinth: Javier Navarrete. If I had my way, this would win.
  • The Queen: Alexandre Desplat. I don't remember how this sounded....
  • NOTES: I am upset that my favorite score was not nominated, and it lose at the Globes. That score is The Fountain by Clint Mansell.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

  • An Inconvenient Truth: Melissa Etheridge ("I Need To Wake Up")
  • Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler, Anne Preven ("Listen")
  • Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Siedah Garrett ("Love You I Do")
  • Cars: Randy Newman ("Our Town")
  • Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Willie Reale ("Patience")
  • NOTES: I am going to guess "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls. Jennifer Hudson's performance was great. Either way, something from Dreamgirls will win. Honestly, I am not interested in any of these songs.

Best Achievement in Makeup

  • Apocalypto: Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano. This will win. I don't know why, I just do.
  • Click: Kazuhiro Tsuji, Bill Corso. Surprised to see this up for anything....
  • Pan's Labyrinth: David Martí, Montse Ribé. I would not be adverse to this winning, I would prefer it, actually.

Best Achievement in Sound

  • Apocalypto: Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Fernando Cámara
  • Blood Diamond: Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Ivan Sharrock
  • Dreamgirls: Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer, Willie D. Burton
  • Flags of Our Fathers: John T. Reitz, David E. Campbell, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest: Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Lee Orloff
  • NOTES: The winner will be Dreamgirls. Not sure why, I just do. I would prefer Apocalypto.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

  • Apocalypto: Sean McCormack, Kami Asgar
  • Blood Diamond: Lon Bender
  • Flags of Our Fathers: Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
  • Letters from Iwo Jima: Alan Robert Murray
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest: George Watters II, Christopher Boyes
  • NOTES: This is a two movie race, Letters from Iwo Jima and Pirates of the Caribbean. I think Letters will come out on top.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

  • Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest: John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall
  • Poseidon: Boyd Shermis, Kim Libreri, Chas Jarrett, John Frazier
  • Superman Returns: Mark Stetson, Richard R. Hoover, Neil Corbould, Jon Thum
  • NOTES: This is easy, Pirates will win, if for nothing else than the wonderful creation of Davy Jones

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

  • Cars: John Lasseter
  • Happy Feet: George Miller
  • Monster House: Gil Kenan
  • NOTES: This is easy to pick the winner, Cars, however, I really want Monster House to take the prize.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

  • After the Wedding (Denmark)
  • Days of Glory (Algeria)
  • Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico)
  • The Lives of Others (Germany)
  • Water (Canada)
  • NOTES: I have only seen one of these, and I was surprised not to see Volver listed among them. I am going to say the excellent Pan's Labyrinth will win, although I have heard great things about The Lives of Others.

Best Documentary, Features

  • Deliver Us from Evil: Amy Berg, Frank Donner
  • An Inconvenient Truth: Davis Guggenheim
  • Iraq in Fragments: James Longley, Yahya Sinno
  • Jesus Camp: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
  • My Country My Country: Laura Poitras, Jocelyn Glatzer
  • NOTES: Only saw one, and I bet it wins, An Inconvenient Truth.

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

  • The Blood of Yingzhou District: Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon
  • Recycled Life: Leslie Iwerks, Mike Glad
  • Rehearsing a Dream: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
  • Two Hands: Nathaniel Kahn, Susan Rose Behr
  • NOTES: My wild guess is Rehearsing a Dream.

Best Short Film, Animated

  • The Danish Poet: Torill Kove
  • Lifted: Gary Rydstrom
  • The Little Matchgirl: Roger Allers, Don Hahn
  • Maestro: Géza M. Tóth
  • No Time for Nuts: Chris Renaud, Mike Thurmeier
  • NOTES: The winner will be Maestro.

Best Short Film, Live Action

  • Binta and the Great Idea: Javier Fesser, Luis Manso
  • Éramos Pocos: Borja Cobeaga
  • Helmer & Son: Søren Pilmark, Kim Magnusson
  • The Saviour: Peter Templeman, Stuart Parkyn
  • West Bank Story: Ari Sandel
  • NOTES: I predict West Bank Story will take the statue.

Well, that about wraps it up. I am sure to fall somewhere in the 50/50 range for my predictions. Some are pure guesses, as you can tell by my notes, or lack thereof.

Here's hoping for a good show!


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