oscar time, oscar time! as in the past few years (every year since we've moved to new york, really), i'm woefully behind on my filmgoing and westcoastogling. no matter: let's do this! i'll be honest and asterisk movies i've actually seen; my predictions are italicized. if you've seen something i've missed and want to weigh in or, hell, want to weigh in as a general proposition, be my guest.

best actor

leonardo dicaprio - blood diamond
ryan gosling - half nelson
peter o'toole - venus
will smith - the pursuit of happyness
forest whitaker - the last king of scotland

fie, fie on the academy for tapping leo for blood diamond rather than the departed! i don't think he'd have had much of a chance of winning either way - peter o'toole's honorary award in '02 doesn't really make up for the fact that he's lost seven times, which should make the voters feel like assholes, and forest whitaker is a huge favorite - but his performance in the latter was so very nice, and his accent in the former was so very grating. anyway, i think whitaker takes it.

best supporting actor

alan arkin - little miss sunshine
jackie earle haley - little children
djimon hounsou - blood diamond
eddie murphy - dreamgirls
mark wahlberg - the departed*

i'm 25/75 on whether marky mark can actually take this - he was great, mind you, but one of many supporting greats in the film - but i'm still pissed about leo's misnomination. i want an acting win for the departed.

best actress

penelope cruz - volver
judi dench - notes on a scandal
helen mirren - the queen*
meryl streep - the devil wears prada*
kate winslet - little children

this is helen mirren's to lose: her performance was sly like the fox, and it's up for the award of least resistance for the queen (which, in a weaker year, would probably win best picture and best director as well). meryl streep was cute, but i don't think she's earned the oscar.

best supporting actress

adriana barraza - babel
cate blanchett - notes on a scandal
abigail breslin - little miss sunshine
jennifer hudson - dreamgirls
reiko kikuchi - babel

america hearts jennifer hudson. the babel girls are unknowns, though reiko kikuchi has been forging a bjork-like reputation for herself on the red carpet. little miss sunshine has rabid fans, but hudson's underdog cachet dwarfs abigail breslin's, if that's not a total oxymoron. cate blanchett...has won a lot of things. voters who haven't seen any of these will vote for jennifer hudson.

best song

"i need to wake up" - an inconvenient truth
"listen" - dreamgirls
"love you i do" - dreamgirls
"our town" - cars
"patience" - dreamgirls

it's tragic that the broadway version of dreamgirls featured "and i am telling you i'm not going" (making it ineligible): after seeing jake gyllenhaal perform it on saturday night live, i'm sold. i oppose randy newman whenever possible, so i reject him as a contender; melissa etheridge is a fine songwriter, but al and an inconvenient truth will get theirs in the documentary category. "listen" is the strongest of the three dreamgirls entries, so it gets the gold star.

best director

alejandro gonzalez inarritu - babel
martin scorsese - the departed*
clint eastwood - letters from iwo jima
stephen frears - the queen*
paul greengrass - united 93*

i saw and was mightily impressed by united 93 last weekend: greengrass is a talented guy, and i think his work with the victims' families (documented in extreme detail in the DVD extras, as well as in local media), both in a professional and personal sense, was extraordinary. frears did a fine job of wringing epic things from a series of tabloid stories; i don't know know if the queen is "the best british film in years," as some have said, but it's solid. let's not beat around the bush, though: scorsese's still a virgin, and the departed is more than good enough to put him over the top and clear hollywood's collective conscience (a little).

best picture

the departed*
letters from iwo jima
little miss sunshine
the queen*

i'll cop to serious myopia: i loved the departed so very much (that dropkick murphys song! that brilliant ensemble work! that leonardo dicaprio performance that, for once, i didn't hate!) that i have a hard time imagining that anything will beat it. its odds are a bit shakier if scorsese wins - voters do like to divide up the biggies - but still. it's marty's year.

best outfit (actor or actress)

reese witherspoon - vintage cocktail dress
rachel mcadams - non-pink hair, non-bearded ryan gosling
jennifer garner - armani
penelope cruz - chanel
sacha baron cohen - g-man suit

ms. witherspoon has looked fantastic in recent years, and she's been working righteous indignation and itty bitty dresses with a vengeance since her split from the husband. i'm only half-behind the canary yellow number she wore to the golden globes, however, and she's been burned before by stylists who re-lend her pieces. rachel mcadams is cute as hell, but triumph here hinges on her ditching her weird dye job (so gwen stefani circa her wedding) and shaving her boyfriend while he's asleep. my office has declared a collective girl-crush on penelope since seeing volver, so i'm counting on her to sustain her magnetism through sunday. she favors fairly classic designers - oscar de la renta and valentino are other faves - and she's a nominee, so i predict grandeur. side note: it pains me to omit cate blanchett (a perennial favorite) here, but her golden globes look was heinous; i think she's been too busy with theatre in sydney to worry about the red carpet. which is understandable.


sara said...

apparently you posted this before penelope got photographed in this little number.

lauren said...

i'd seen it, baby, and i stand by my prediction. that was a step and repeat shot from an environmental event, whose oscar handicapping significance is (i would argue) up there with the teen choice awards (i think people have actually worn live animals to that). bring your A game, pen, bring it!

tom said...

You know, the Best Actress nod has been the source of upsets in recent years. So I'm putting a chip in for Judi Dench. (She and Cate were extra-double-creepy in that flick. I appreciate extra-double-creepy. Hence, Dame Judi. I'd go for Cate too, but Ms. Hudson has a Master Lock on the prize.)

I'm divided on Mr. Murray, you know. Is Norbit a subliminal "fuck you" to the Academy? I mean: "yes, I have dramatic chops, but I can also put out sheer dreck and make millions. I don't need Oscar as a friend. I've got millions of friends--all of them named Ben. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to take a bath in my solid-gold bathtub." I do not know whether to savage Eddie or praise him. But anyway: Alan Arkin takes it, as a sympathy vote over how Little Miss Sunshine is going to get basically shut out of everything else.

Quickly, as to the others: Actor? Run Forest, run. And the best pick for Director Who Has Best Chance To Screw Scorsese Again has to be Greenglass. (You'd like Bloody Sunday--same style, just as gripping.) But Marty takes it, as do the producers on the Picture nod. Apologies, all, for Clint--Letters to Iwo Jima was a fine movie, but was not All-World.

And given my record on such matters, I am giving the fashion snark a pass.

lauren said...

T: i'm with you on alan arkin for best supporting actor, actually; i don't truly believe MW will take it for the departed.

i'm with you on greengrass as a strong second, too. joe and i saw bloody sunday on TV a few months ago, which was quite weird after having toured some of the worst neighborhoods in belfast just a few months before that. northern ireland has an emotional character unlike that of any other place i've visited. i found the film extremely upsetting, but very well done.

jacob said...

tom - i know it's torturous to wait for baseball to begin again, but i think you mean eddie murphy, not murray. though i would pay big bucks to see one of the greatest switch-hitters of all time do a james brown impression. ok, maybe not big bucks.

i'm actually a little surprised "children of men" didn't get more oscar notice, especially for clive owen (and for its director). maybe it was too unsettling in the way i've heard "flight 93" was.

lauren - you have certainly piqued my interest in "the departed" - i may try to rent it before sunday.

Baby jo said...

*for the bigger awards* as i've only seen the queen, little miss sunshine, the devil wears prada, and pan's labyrinth, i can't make too many judgements other than wanting the people from the movies i've seen to win. regardless, i give mirren the oscar, as well as arkin. i would LOVE to see little miss sunshine take best picture, but that's a reach. it's great, though.

also, i do beleive that pan's labyrinth will take it for SOMETHING -- cinematography or art direction seems likely. it's amazing. gory, but unbelieveably good.

finally, i will make a note of the fact that the only one of these films that i saw as a result of paying money was pan's labyrinth, as i am in los angeles and half my friends work in the industry, so i've got "screeners" of the rest. i've never been more proud of not giving rich people money.

tom said...

I've been in the goddamn "Virtual Waiting Room" on cubs.com all damn day--this, of course, being Ticket Day. I've gotten through once--which I spent on a Reds game taking place when my sister is here with her husband in April. Which means I am going to be completely shut out of Cardinals tickets. Damn.

[BTW: Murray v. Murphy. Nice to know somebody's paying attention. Good catch, Jacob.]

enjelani said...

agreed: DiCaprio should be up for The Departed. i'll see Blood Diamond soon enough, but from the previews i'm a little worried about the Rhodesian accent.

J points out that Babel and Letters From Iwo Jima do have that Weighty Subject Matter cachet, which could still give the good cop/bad cop thriller a run for its money. (incidentally, i'm still miffed that Crash won last year. sublety wasn't in style then, i guess...)

enjelani said...

also, big huzzah for Pan's Labyrinth. such a beautiful, terrifying film. between that and Babel i think i'm gonna follow Mexican directors around from now on.

tom said...

Actually, the evening is now totally thrown off for me. I just heard a Magnetic Fields song backing a dog food commercial. "I Think I Need A New Heart." On account of this, I think I need a new brain--this one is just about done.