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2006 Oscar Predictions

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The 2006 Academy Awards are just around the corner and just like many people, I’m going to give my predictions on who will win the golden statuettes. My predictions for the 2006 Grammys didn’t turn out so well but I’m hoping I’ll do better this time around. However, there is one thing that may work against me…

I have not seen most of the performances or films nominated. I probably won’t get the opportunity to see these films until after the Oscars are already handed out. Nonetheless, I’m going to make my best educated guesses. Here we go…

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
Terrence Howard in Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line
David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck.

My Thoughts: This is an interesting bunch of nominees. Three of them are nominated for playing real people, two of them are playing gay characters, and only one is playing a character specifically created for the big screen. However, as much as I think Academy voters really liked all these performances, I see this as a two-man race between Hoffman and Ledger. I think that Hoffman will take it. The Academy likes a performance that involves a real transformation and Hoffman’s performance as Truman Capote seems to be just that…at least more than some of the other performances anyway. If Hoffman doesn’t get it, Ledger probably will.

Will Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney in Syriana
Matt Dillon in Crash
Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt in A History of Violence

My Thoughts: This is such a packed category. I’ve only seen one of the nominated performances (Matt Dillon in Crash), but all these actors have done great work in other films. Conventional wisdom would say that the race is between Clooney, Dillon, and Giamatti. Clooney and Giamatti have split some big awards (Golden Globes and SAG awards) while Matt Dillon was probably the only individual actor in Crash spotlighted by critics. The Academy likes to “right” wrongs with belated wins and I think this is the reason why Giamatti may beat out everyone else. However, I wouldn’t count out William Hurt. Judi Dench won a Supporting Actress role for Shakespeare In Love even though she wasn’t in it for that long and the same could happen for Hurt.

Will Win: Paul Giamatti

Best Actress
Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron in North Country
Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line

My Thoughts: Looking at this list, I think it’s between Witherspoon and Huffman. It seems like Judi Dench could get nominated for an Oscar if she sneezed in a film (see above). Charlize Theron’s win is still pretty fresh in people’s minds so she may not get another Oscar just yet. While I’ve heard good things about Keira Knightley’s performance, I think she’s one of those people that the Academy will honor at a later date. Felicity Huffman is not only a woman playing a man, she is a woman playing a man that will eventually become a woman (take that Linda Hunt!). However, I think the Academy will honor Reese Witherspoon with the Best Actress win. She’s loved in Hollywood and after being known for mostly comedic roles, it looks like she pulls off a meaty dramatic role well.

Will Win: Reese Witherspoon

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams in Junebug
Catherine Keener in Capote
Frances McDormand in North Country
Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain

My Thoughts: Just like the Best Supporting Actor category, this list is packed. Frances McDormand is a consistently good actress but she already has an Oscar and it didn’t seem like her role was singled out as a revelation. Catherine Keener has also been good in many films although some say she was actually better in The 40-Year-Old Virgin than she was in Capote. With Brokeback Mountain, Michelle Williams has made everyone forget she was on that one show on the WB with one half of TomKat. I’ve seen Rachel Weisz put in good performances in other films and I’m glad that she got Oscar recognition. I can’t say that I’ve seen Amy Adams in anything but many critics (including Roger Ebert) loved her in Junebug. I think that Weisz will take home the Oscar although I wouldn’t be surprised if Adams gets it instead.

Will Win: Rachel Weisz

Best Animated Feature Film
Howl’s Moving Castle directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of The Were-Rabbit directed by Nick Park and Steve Box

My Thoughts: Wow, no CG and no Disney/Pixar! Seriously, this is probably the easiest category to predict. This award is going to Wallace & Gromit. Miyazaki won the Best Animated Feature Oscar for his previous film, Spirited Away, but I don’t see that happening this year with Howl’s Moving Castle. It didn’t get nearly the buzz that Spirited Away did within animation circles. While Corpse Bride was definitely an enjoyable film, I don’t think it stands a chance. The Wallace & Gromit short films have won Oscars, the characters are well-liked, and the movie had the biggest box office of the three. Wallace & Gromit will probably take home the Oscar.

Will Win: Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of The Were-Rabbit

Best Director
Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee)
Capote (Bennett Miller)
Crash (Paul Haggis)
Good Night, and Good Luck. (George Clooney)
Munich (Steven Spielberg)

My Thoughts: The only film I’ve seen in this list is Crash but I don’t think Paul Haggis will win. Crash‘s success as a film was more due to its screenplay and acting as opposed to its direction. I think the Academy will honor George Clooney for his directing eventually…but not this year. Unless he directs a cruddy film (A.I.) or an action film (Minority Report), it’s pretty much a given that Steven Spielberg will be nominated in this category and that could hurt his chances…even if he might deserve the award. Capote has gotten more buzz about its subject matter and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance than its direction. This leaves Ang Lee, the DGA Award winner. Even though it’s sort of a cop out to use the whole “the Directors Guild Award winner usually wins the Oscar” mentality, I’m using it here.

Will Win: Ang Lee

Before I give my thoughts on the winner of Best Picture, here are some predictions and short thoughts on other categories:

Best Cinematography
Batman Begins (Wally Pfister)
Brokeback Mountain (Rodrigo Prieto)
Good Night, and Good Luck. (Robert Elswit)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Dion Beebe)
The New World (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Will Win: Rodrigo Prieto for Brokeback Mountain
Why?: The beautiful views of mountain country…but don’t count out the colorful world of Geisha. On a side note, why wasn’t Sin City nominated?

Best Costume Design
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Gabriella Pescucci)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Colleen Atwood)
Mrs. Henderson Presents (Sandy Powell)
Pride & Prejudice (Jacqueline Durran)
Walk the Line (Arianne Phillips)

Will Win: Jacqueline Durran for Pride & Prejudice
Why?: Period costume dramas always do well but I wouldn’t be surprised if Atwood got it since she’s pretty much a legend. Personally, I want Charlie and The Chocolate Factory to win.

Best Documentary Feature
Darwin’s Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
March of the Penguins
Street Fight

Will Win: March Of The Penguins
Why?: It’s the only film that a lot of people know about and as Roger Ebert pointed out, it’s made more money than any of the Best Picture nominees.

Best Original Score
Brokeback Mountain (Gustavo Santaolalla)
The Constant Gardener (Alberto Iglesias)
Memoirs of a Geisha (John Williams)
Munich (John Williams)
Pride & Prejudice (Dario Marianelli)

Will Win: Gustavo Santaolalla for Brokeback Mountain
Why?: Even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ve heard the theme thanks to the many parodies…and it’s not that bad.

Best Original Song
“In the Deep” from Crash
Music by Kathleen “Bird” York and Michael Becker
Lyric by Kathleen “Bird” York
“It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” from Hustle & Flow
Music and Lyric by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard
“Travelin’ Thru” from Transamerica
Music and Lyric by Dolly Parton

Will Win: “Travelin’ Thru” by Dolly Parton from Transamerica
Why?: She’s probably the most respected artist among the nominees. However, I’d love for Three 6 Mafia to win for “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” from Hustle & Flow.

Best Visual Effects
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Dean Wright, Bill Westenhofer, Jim Berney and Scott Farrar)
King Kong (Joe Letteri, Brian Van’t Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor)
War of the Worlds (Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman, Randy Dutra and Daniel Sudick)

Will Win: Joe Letteri, Brian Van’t Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor for King Kong
Why?: My jaw dropped seeing just the commercials for King Kong. I can’t have been the only person to have that happen.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Brokeback Mountain
Screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
Screenplay by Dan Futterman
The Constant Gardener
Screenplay by Jeffrey Caine
A History of Violence
Screenplay by Josh Olson
Screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth

Will Win: Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana for Brokeback Mountain
Why?: They turned an 11-page story into a two-hour film without making the film feel padded. I know adapting anything to film is hard, but what they did is certainly an achievement.

Best Original Screenplay
Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco
Story by Paul Haggis
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov
Match Point
Written by Woody Allen
The Squid and the Whale
Written by Noah Baumbach
Written by Stephen Gaghan

Will Win: Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco for Crash
Why?: One of Crash‘s biggest strengths was in its writing and I don’t think audiences were confused by it despite the large amount of characters.

Now, the biggest award of the show:

Best Picture
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.

My Thoughts: Without a doubt, I think this is a race between Crash and Brokeback Mountain with Munich as the possible spoiler. Brokeback Mountain has won a lot of awards but it seems like Crash is gaining some steam since it won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. Also, there may be a little backlash against Brokeback Mountain if only because voters might be sick of hearing about it. If voters don’t really want to choose between these two films, they may fall back on good ole’ Spielberg and Munich. However, I think Brokeback Mountain is going to win this award…but barely. It’s won so many awards already, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t finally get the biggest one of all.

Will Win: Brokeback Mountain

I’m looking forward to the day when I can actually see most of the nominated films and judge them for myself. In the meantime, I’ll watch this year’s show and hope that my predictions are right and that Jon Stewart does a good job as host.

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  • coglethorpe

    I like your picks. I guess I’ll have to see “Walk the Line” because I can only think of “Legally Blonde 2″ when I see Witherspoon’s face. I’d think the same with Lee, because of “The Hulk,” but “Crouching Tiger” was more than enough to overcome one folly.