Sunday, February 25, 2007

2006 Oscar Predictions

It's probably not healthy to dwell in the past, so in deference to this year's exciting, unpredictable races among mostly unmemorable films (meow!), here are my 2¢:

Foreign Film
Film Editing
Animated Film
Animated Short
Art Direction
Costume Design
Original Score
Original Song
Sound Effects
Visual Effects

The Queen (alt. L.M.Sunshine)
Martin Scorsese (in the bag)
Helen Mirren (in the bag)
Forest Whitaker (alt. Gosling)
Jennifer Hudson (alt. Barraza)
Mark Wahlberg (alt. Arkin)
Little Miss Sunshine (alt. Queen)
The Departed (in the bag)
Pan's Labyrinth (alt. Lives)
An Inconvenient Truth (alt. Iraq)
Children of Men (alt. Pan's)
United 93 (alt. The Departed)
Cars (alt. Happy Feet)
The Danish Poet (alt. Maestro)
Pan's Labyrinth (in the bag)
D.W.Prada (alt. Dreamgirls)
Dreamgirls (alt. Apocalypto)
The Queen (alt. Pan's Labyrinth)
"I Need to Wake Up" (bag)
Letters from Iwo Jima (alt. Flags)
Pirates 2 (in the bag)
Pan's Labyrinth (alt. Apocalypto)

The Departed (alt. Iwo Jima)
Martin Scorsese (all the way)
Penélope Cruz (all the way)
Ryan Gosling (alt. Whitaker)
Adriana Barraza (all the way)
Eddie Murphy (alt. Wahlberg)
Seriously? (ok, Iwo Jima)
The Departed (all the way)
Abstain (so far, Water)
Iraq in Fragments (alt. J.Camp)
Children of Men (alt. Dahlia)
The Departed (alt. Ch.Men)
Monster House (all the way)
The Danish Poet (alt. Maestro)
Pan's Labyrinth (alt. Prestige)
Dreamgirls (alt. M.Antoinette)
Really? (ok, Apocalypto)
The Queen (alt. Good German)
Eh (ok, "I Need to Wake Up")
For God's Sake (no, really)
Pirates 2 (alt. Poseidon)
Pan's Labyrinth (all the way)
Success Ratio: 15/24 (Beyond the 22 categories listed above, I was right that West Bank Story would win Live Action Short, but I'd given the edge to Two Hands over The Blood of Yingxhou District for Documentary Short.)

If I Were Right, Which I'm Not...
  • The Queen, The Departed, and Pan's Labryinth will all check out with three trophies apiece, and only Dreamgirls and An Inconvenient Truth will join them as multiple award winners. (This feels like a major undersell for Little Miss Sunshine, and possibly of Pirates.)

  • An Inconvenient Truth would, I think, become the first Documentary to win any Oscar outside of that category. (This actually does feel likely.)

  • The only Best Picture nominee without any wins would be Babel, despite having the highest nomination tally of the five films. (That might be exaggerating things, but I still think Babel is going to stumble badly. Even in Editing, where it stands a fighting chance, I think people's objections that the stories don't hang together will pose a problem—even though that's more a fault of the script.)

  • Cinematography, Art Direction, and Costume Design would divide themselves among three different films for the first time since 1999, when these trophies went to American Beauty, Sleepy Hollow, and Topsy-Turvy, respectively. (This outcome feels likely, one way or another, unless Pan's Labyrinth pulls out the upset in Cinematography, or Dreamgirls claws its way to Art Direction and Costume Design awards.)

  • I will win big money in the Imaginary Office Pool in the Sky by picking The Queen to win Best Picture, assuming that the macho-techie types split among The Departed and Letters, Sunshine feels too "sitcom" (which is even worse than feeling too "TV movie," like The Queen), and people turn away from Babel to the degree I'm expecting. Also, The Queen is the only one of the five movies that doesn't have a significant detractor camp—i.e., Doesn't Make Sense/Too Depressing, Scorsese Rehash/Too Violent, Eastwood Rehash/Too Quiet, and Is That All There Is?, respectively. Let's use my older brother as a test-case. He saw all five Best Picture nominees today as part of a $30 marathon by his local AMC multiplex (that's dedication! that's doing your homework!), and he liked The Departed and Iwo Jima, didn't think much of Sunshine, thought Babel was "the destitute man's Crash" and/or "the cutting-room-floor version of Traffic," but was pleasantly surprised by The Queen, which he hadn't even considered seeing until it was nominated. Nate skews toward the Star Wars/Alien vs. Predator end of things, so if The Queen can make a convert out of him, beyond its already-established fan base of actors and Anglophiles, it's got a solid shot, right? (Actually, probably not. But I haven't pulled off a big against-the-grain prediction since Adrien Brody, and I'm ready for seconds.)

And By the Way...

Before Oscar season ends and the mood passes, at least rent Half Nelson, the best movie nominated in any category, and fork over the $1.99 for The Danish Poet, the fourth-best movie nominated in any category (after The Departed and Iraq in Fragments at #2 and #3), and tie a string around your finger to look for the fifth-best movie nominated in any category, Robert De Niro's subtly insinuating The Good Shepherd, when it bows on DVD on April 3.

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Blogger ANN said...

It's a good thing you're here to keep me up to date on all this Oscar nonsense, friend...Babel just opened at the movie theatre across the street from me; it's the movie poster of Brad Pitt weeping on the phone ("Good looking people have feelings too!"), and I laugh at it every day.

7:24 AM, February 25, 2007  
Blogger Yaseen Ali said...

Much luck to you on that Queen Best Picture pick. I've been wanting to predict that for the last few days, but I got scared and went safe(r) on Babel. And you should certainly gloat more about the Brody pick; how you saw that coming, I'll never know.

1:01 PM, February 25, 2007  
Blogger Vertigo's Psycho said...

Good call on "I Need to Wake Up." Etheridge's win and speech were definitely highlights for me (alas, I was at work and only witnessed part of the show, so I miised Marty and ALan Arkin finally taking home their prizes).

I thought "Wake Up" was a beautiful tune that brilliantly capped Truth, and was hopeful it might pull through if votes split among the Dreamgirls trio, but I certainly didn't grant it (deserved) frontrunner status, as most of the experts predicted the "Listen" writers to grab the Oscar. Wonderful to see justice prevail with a surprised Etheridge's trip to the podium.

10:09 AM, February 26, 2007  

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