Phillip Hoffman is a lock for the Actor Oscar, one of those times the "best performance" is undeniable. Ledger could win in a Brokeback sweep, but I would be astonished to see this happen.
Ditto Reese Witherspoon, hands-down. There's a remote chance Oscar voters could be so hypnotized by Felicity Huffman's sad & wonderful performance that they overlook what a bad movie Transamerica is, but this is not likely.
The fawning, liberal, "get-back-at-the-red-states" media buzz is that Brokeback will win best picture, but it's too conventional a story, ho-hum acting (at least 20 other young actors could interchangeably play the roles as written), and the whole "secret/unrequited love" thing has been done 100 times better before.
Even though released early in the year, momentum is building and Crash will win Best Picture = great ensemble cast, set in LA (always a plus), and the clincher: Hollywood congratulates itself again for its "social relevance".
Clooney will win for best director because of the subject matter, for getting the thing made in the first place, and because he's quite the darling out there nowadays.
Michelle Williams will win Supporting Actress, giving Brokeback its only Oscar. More a sop to the picture than a "best" anything. Weisz a close second.
Supporting Actor is the hardest to handicap, with all 5 guys equal on the strength of performance and popularity:
Clooney = probably won't win, since he's already Best Director (if he loses Best Director to Lee, he's in).
Dillon and Hurt = very troubling, as these are "body of work" nominees, and either could be recognized for decades of great stuff. Hurt's already won (Spider Woman) so perhaps less chance for him.
Giamatti = quite possibly, the Academy could say "Sorry" for last year's Sideways snub with a trophy here.
Gyllenhaal = if anything, Jake was better than Ledger's goofy 2-hour Bush impersonation, but this is the way the studio marketed these two to nominating voters, to avoid a Best Actor vote split (like Voight/Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, with the Oscar going to John Wayne in a "body of work" nod (see above)).
I just don't know. My sentiment's with Dillon (just to hear the waves of stagey gasps in the audience), but I'll have to say Giamatti.
The Academy's less political these days than in years previous, so Enron probably fails in the Documentary category. I can't see a "handicapped access" movement among the surgically enhanced, so Murderball probably won't win. March of the Penguins was wonderful and had huge box office and so wins the statue.
The best foreign film of last year (Cache) wasn't nominated, and I haven't seen any of the other Foreign Language films. The film from Palestine (is there a country "Palestine"? Where is it?) won't win in heavily Jewish Hollywood, so I guess the So. African entry???
Original Screenplay is a fine field, with only Match Point having no chance. I haven't seen Squid, and Syriana is too complicated for the average popcorn-muncher. That leaves Good Night (recycled biography rather than original screenplay) and Crash, with Crash the probable winner, unless Clooney fails for both director and supporting actor and gets this as consolation.
You can take this to Vegas.
“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure." [Dr. Johnson] Writer, raconteur, philologist, father, cinéaste, no-good peacenik, media idiot. Spent a good many years waiting to be recognized for my great genius. Still waiting.
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2.28.06 @ 11:39a
I love predictions like this - can't wait to see if you're right.
3.1.06 @ 12:45p
I'm with you on the Crash thing.
3.1.06 @ 12:58p
I haven't seen Syriana, but I just can't get behind Clooney as Best Director. I don't think he can swing with the big boys in the category. Bennett Miller is the only one who has less of a chance.
3.1.06 @ 1:00p
Academy voters love actors-turned-directors (Redford, Costner) but I see no way Ang Lee doesn't walk with this.
3.1.06 @ 1:36p
Thanks for reading this rant... and yes, I'm beginning to second-guess myself... Sure, I'm reconsidering the Director pick, too, but not enough to change it. Every year it seems (except for the Rings thing), there's a wild card someplace, so in 2005 I pick director. If Costner can win the statue over Coppola, Scorsese, and Frears (1991), why not Clooney in an upset? After all, this is a schizo category anyway - Scorsese, Hitchcock, and Altman all have never won, AND Carol Reed (?!) won for Oliver (!?) AND I'm allowing myself one off-the-wall pick, so Clooney stays. Lee will probably win, but I'll stick with the dark horse just for kicks... and the pinch-me-I'm-dreaming rush if he wins.
3.1.06 @ 2:34p
The big surprises are usually in the Supporting categories. Which is why Amy Adams is a good pick amongst the ladies, maybe Keener (especially with Virgin doing so well), and Dillon or Hurt for the men. It must be kind of sickening for someone like Hurt (who finds all of Hollywood sickening, I'm sure) to win for a 5minute part after a solid, occassionally spectacular career.