Just under the wire.

by sam on 02/25/2007

This is going to be the first year that I can remember that I won’t be watching the Academy Awards. Not for lack of desire, mind you, but because (a) it begins at the very early hour of 2 am here, and (b) it’s being shown on Sky Italia, which is cable. I don’t have cable. So, no awards show for me. I actually find it a bit amazing given that this year, Ennio Morricone, one of the prides of Italian movie-music making is taking home an honorary award. I haven’t seen the bulk of the movies either, due to the fact that most of them have not been available in English here. But that’s not stopping me from putting in my (very) last minute predictions. I guess I’ll find out whether I’m right or not when I wake up tomorrow morning. I’m only sticking to the big awards this year. I have no interest in who wins Best Sound Mixing.

Best Picture: Babel/The Departed/Letters from Iwo Jima/Little Miss Sunshine/The Queen

I actually did see Little Miss Sunshine, and I think it was awesome. It’s also on a lot of peoples’ lists for best picture, so it may actually have a shot. But, given that the academy voted for the mishmash that was Crash last year, I’d actually put my money on Babel. Overblown, overdone, over”meaningful” film that will make the academy feel all good about themselves for their “consciousness”? yep, all there.

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond)/Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson)/Peter O’Toole (Venus)/Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness)/Forest Whitaker (The Last Kind of Scotland)

Hey, I haven’t seen any of these films. Money on Whitaker, although O’Toole may be a dark horse. I frankly think that DiCaprio should have been nominated for The Departed, but since he can only get nominated once per category, I guess this was the more “leading” role. Gosling will clearly be happy just to be nominated, and while I love Smith, this is not the year for him to win.

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)

Is there anyone who thinks that Mirren is not going to win this one?

Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)/Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children)/Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond)/Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)/Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)

My money’s on Murphy, but my heart is with Jackie Earle Haley. I read a profile of him about six months ago, before Little Children was released, and it’s just such a story. Adorable teen heartthrob develops a bad case of acne, gets completely rejected by Hollywood, moves to the midwest and drops out of acting completely, only to end up getting tracked down for a small part in a movie (not this movie – that was All the King’s Men), movie gets panned, but Haley gets decent reviews. Haley also ends up making an impression on co-star Winslet, who also stars in Little Children. Now the guys nominated for an Academy Award. I know that everyone focuses on Jennifer Hudson as the “comeback” or “karma” or whatever story, but this guy spent decades in the shadows. It would make me really really happy if he won.

Best Supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza (Babel)/Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal)/Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)/Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)/Rink Kikuchi (Babel)

Of course Hudson is going to win. And good for her.

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 know that everyone’s saying that this is finally Scorsese’s year, and both my money and my heart are with him, but I can’t help to think that he’s gonna get shafted again. It’s like they’re playing with fire. The presenters for this category? A first time trio of Spielberg, Coppola and Lucas, who all came up together with Scorsese in the 70s (and if you haven’t seen the documentary “Easy Riders/Raging Bulls” go rent it now. right now. I’ll wait. See?) are presenting the award together. When I heard that one, all I could think was, but what if it’s someone else? No. It’s gotta be Marty. Anything else would be too cruel.

Best Foreign Language Film: After the Wedding (Denmark)/Days of Glory (Algeria)/The Lives of Others (Germany)/Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico)/Water (Canada)

Given that Pan’s Labyrinth was getting talked about for best picture, I’m feeling pretty confident that it’ll win here.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips)/Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby)/The Departed (William Monahan)/Little Children (Todd Field and Tom Perrotta)/Notes on a Scandal (Patrick Marber)

I think Departed won’t win best picture, but it’ll win this.

Best Original Screenplay: Babel (Guillermo Arriaga)/Letters from Iwo Jima (Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis)/Little Miss Sunshine (Michael Arndt)/Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)/The Queen (Peter Morgan)

My vote is for Little Miss Sunshine, but I think it’s got competition from Babel and Haggis. Sorry, Iwo Jima. It’s just that Haggis keeps winning this darn award.

Best Animated Feature Film: Cars/Happy Feet/Monster House

OK. First I need to go on a little rant. This is clearly not a list of the “best animated films”. This is a list of the “best animated children’s films.” Otherwise A Scanner Darkly would have at least been nominated. I mean, it’s not like they didn’t have room, what with only coming up with three freakin’ nominees!

OK. Rant over. Cars will obviously win. It’s Pixar.

Best Original Song: “I Need to Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge (An Inconvenient Truth)/”Listen” by Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler and Anne Preven (Dreamgirls)/”Love You I Do” by Henry Krieger and Siedah Garrett (Dreamgirls)/”Our Town” by Randy Newman (Cars)/”Patience” by Henry Krieger and Willie Reale (Dreamgirls)

Dreamgirls has three of the five nominations here, making at least one of the songs a probable favorite (I’ve heard that “Listen” is at the front of the pack), but given the danger of vote splitting in that situation, you can’t count out Etheridge’s anthem.

Best Documentary Feature: Deliver Us From Evil/An Inconvenient Truth/Iraq in Fragments/Jesus Camp/My Country, My Country

I’m just hoping that when he wins, Al Gore announces that he’s going to run for President.

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