Academy Award Predictions
After besting the Elder earlier this year in our Nominations Predictions, I think I might be in more trouble here. While I’m great at reading buzz about nominees in major categories, I am decidedly less good when things open up into the technical categories. It’s all a bit of a gamble even in the major categories this year (some of them anyways) so I’m really sticking my neck out there.
And, perhaps I should look back to my predictions for nominees where I took some risks that paid off, because after completing this predictions I notice that I’m not taking too many risks. My “Dark Horse” candidates are even quite predictable, and I don’t appear to be sticking my neck out much further than I have to. Still, I don’t think I’m towing the line too much, so here’s hoping for some disagreement and some surprises come Sunday night.
Best animated short film
THE DANISH POET
THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL
NO TIME FOR NUTS
For the Animated Shorts, which most of us might not see in any capacity, Animation World Network has been kind of enough to develop an Oscar Showcase with clips and information on each of the shorts. Click on each nominee to view their page, and load up the clip to see them for yourself.
Now, let’s face it: A majority of people have not seen these shorts outside of No Time for Nuts, which was featured on the Ice Age 2: The Meltdown DVD this fall, and The Little Matchgirl which was featured on the Little Mermaid DVD but likely watched by less kiddies. While this could in fact put ICe Age in a position to win, I also think that it’s a little bit too simple in its execution, almost too child-focused. Lifted has much the same problem (as most Pixar shorts do. While I believe that all of them have a chance, I’m going to go with Disney’s The Little Matchgirl. It signals Disney’s return to the original short arena (If we view Destino as not entirely original but rather adapter) and deals with some interesting subject matter.
Prediction: The Little Matchgirl
Dark Horse: The Danish Poet
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Adriana Barraza – BABEL
Cate Blanchett – NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Abigail Breslin – LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Jennifer Hudson – DREAMGIRLS
Rinko Kikuchi – BABEL
While technically Breslin or Blanchett could sneak in here, Jennifer Hudson has done far too good a job transitioning into her new role as an actress. TV performances, appearances, red carpets: through them all she has appeared poised, mature and humble. With a much-talked about performance and a recognizable story for people to follow, she’s almost the perfect storm Oscar nominee. Everything came together, none of the possible problems popped up, and she’ll be taken seriously before and after her Academy Award win.
Prediction: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Dark Horse: Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Alan Arkin – LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Jackie Earle Haley – LITTLE CHILDREN
Djimon Hounsou – BLOOD DIAMOND
Eddie Murphy – DREAMGIRLS
Mark Wahlberg – THE DEPARTED
This is an incredibly tough category to call, perhaps the most difficult out of the acting categories, purely because of the “old guy” factor. With apologies to Alan Arkin, who I enjoyed during his brief screen time in Little Miss Sunshine, I don’t really think that the role is Oscar worthy. Eddie Murphy’s career resurgence signaled by his role in Dreamgirls is a much better story, much more deserving, and yet the Academy could revolt against a performer who has never been considered a “real” actor.
Still, as much as I think Arkin could take this thing, I think that Eddie Murphy has done enough work to be rewarded for his performance. With both SAG and Globes going his way, I don’t see the Academy turning around and giving Arkin this award, especially since I think they’ll be giving one to O’Toole later in the evening.
Prediction: Eddie Murphy
Dark Horse: Alan Arkin
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Penélope Cruz – VOLVER
Judi Dench – NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Helen Mirren – THE QUEEN
Meryl Streep – THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
Kate Winslet – LITTLE CHILDREN
There is no competition here. While The Queen will likely go home empty-handed otherwise, Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II has been an unquestioned sure thing for months. None of the precursors changed this, and anyone in their right mind will select her in their oscar pools.
Prediction: Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Dark Horse: Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
Performance by an actor in a leading role
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
This is one of those awards that, much like Supporting Actor, there are a lot of factors at play. On one hand, Whitaker has taken most of the precursors (Including both the SAG and Globes) and is generally well-liked, humble, all of that jazz. However, he’s up against two candidates with more pedigree, more prestige if you will. O’Toole is old, beloved, and has never won despite his lengthy career (Including a snub for Lawrence of Arabia). Leo is young, had huge roles in both Blood Diamond and the Departed, and has been taken very seriously as an actor in recent years.
I think Old and Winless is going to take it this time around, in the end; O’Toole is actually attending the ceremony, he was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and I think the Academy feels it’s time to give him his due. Whitaker is still in solid position, though I think I’ll have Leo as my Dark Horse, perhaps shooting myself in the foot.
Prediction: Peter O’Toole (Venus)
Dark Horse: Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond)
Achievement in directing
LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
This is Marty’s year. The award is being presented by three of his most famous contemporaries (Spielberg, Lucas, Ford Coppola), and he won the DGA earlier this year. The fact of the matter is that, while there are some strong contenders in the category, The Departed was received well by audiences and critics alike, and there is no candidate to stand against him. Still, the Academy could be real jerks and give it to Eastwood again, but I can only hope they don’t do such a thing.
Prediction: Martin Scorcese (The Departed)
Dark Horse: Paul Greengrass (United 93)
For my prediction for the big one, Best Picture, as well as the rest of the awards: Continue reading