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Dave’s 2007 Oscar Preview – Part Two: James Taylor vs. Eddie Murphy

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I think this year's Best Song category may be the only chance we'll have to pit the vocal stylings of James Taylor ("Our Town" from Cars) against those of Eddie Murphy ("Patience" from Dreamgirls). Taylor's just lucky he's not going up against "Party All the Time," cos' that shit would be over before it began. But first…

MAKEUP

  • Apocalypto
  • Click
  • Pan's Labyrinth

Will Win: Pan's Labyrinth
Should Win: Pan's Labyrinth

There's no real mystery to this category, except why certain films don't get nominated (Monster, Planet of the Apes, Transamerica, The Hours), although this year I can't think of any glaring omissions (Davey Jones was all CGI, baby). The most obvious achievement tends to prevail. Here I think Pan and the Pale Man will outstrip making Adam Sandler look old or giving out a shitload of piercings (do those even count as makeup?).

Pan's Labyrinth really was a great achievement in makeup, especially if you count the Joker scene (if you saw it, you'll know what I mean, and be very disturbed).

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Curse of the Golden Flower
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • Dreamgirls
  • Marie Antoinette
  • The Queen

Will Win: Dreamgirls
Should Win: Dreamgirls

This award almost always goes to a period film, which more or less eliminates Prada and Queen. Then you have to factor in that more than just costume designers will be voting, and most of the rest of the Academy hasn't seen Curse or Antoinette. On the other hand, the Costume Designers Guild went for Curse, so consider it a spoiler.

I, too, have not seen Curse or Antoinette, but I've seen enough to know they have kick-ass costumes. Everyone here, in fact, is a winner. Dreamgirls, though, is the only one I left actually thinking, "Damn, that could win Best Costume Design." Oh, and I said that after Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, but it didn't get nominated.

ART DIRECTION

  • Dreamgirls
  • The Good Shepherd
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • The Prestige

Will Win: Dreamgirls
Should Win: Pan's Labyrinth

As goes Costume Design, so goes Art Direction, at least in nine of the last eleven Oscars. I see no compelling reason for that to change here. Again, it should be noted that the Art Director's Guild went for Pan's, but they also went for Curse (in the period category), and that didn't even get nominated.

Even the non-fantasy sequences in Labyrinth have amazing production design. Once you throw in the rest, the other films here can't hold this film's jock.

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Babel
  • The Good German
  • Notes on a Scandal
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • The Queen

Will Win: Babel
Should Win: Pan's Labyrinth

Often this goes to a film also nominated for Best Picture, leaving us with Babel and Queen. Of the two, Babel's the one with the BAFTA win for Best Score. Not much to go on, frankly, but it'll have to do.

Out of all these, the only one whose score I even vaguely remember is Labyrinth, since there's a lullaby melody that's fairly significant, though I don't know if that really counts.

ORIGINAL SONG

  • "I Need to Wake Up" – An Inconvenient Truth
  • "Listen" – Dreamgirls
  • "Love You I Do" – Dreamgirls
  • "Our Town" – Cars
  • "Patience" – Dreamgirls

Will Win: "Listen"
Should Win: "Listen"

This has become an increasingly unpredictable category of late. Who would have guessed that Eminem, Jorge Drexler, and Three 6 Mafia would take home the last three awards in this category? Since there are no hip hop or Latin artists on this list, I'm just going to go with the most obvious choice and say Beyonce. Dreamgirls makes three of its eight noms in this category alone, but I think the chances of it splitting its own vote are slim since anyone who's seen the film knows "Listen" stands out (as it's supposed to – it's designed to balance the last half of the film against the ineligible "And I Am Telling You…") and anyone who hasn't seen the film associates the song with Beyonce and thinks, "Hey, Beyonce!" and votes for it unheard.

Of the pack listed here, "Listen" carries the most weight. Although, frankly, I would've been happier with the National Anthem of Kazakhstan or anything from the Brothers of the Head soundtrack.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • After the Wedding - Denmark
  • Days of Glory – Algeria
  • The Lives of Others – Germany
  • Pan's Labyrinth – Mexico
  • Water – Canada

Will Win: Pan's Labyrinth
Should Win: Pan's Labyrinth

With eleven critics circles wins and a BAFTA (not to mention six Oscar nods total), Labyrinth is the obvious choice. Upsets have happened before, including No Man's Land over Amelie and Nowehere in Africa over Hero and El Crimen de Padre Amaro, but they are fairly few and far between. Still, with outstanding reviews across the board and a recent limited release, The Lives of Others is a potential spoiler. 

From what I've heard, all of these, with the exception of After the Wedding, are outstanding films. After the Wedding could be the shit, I wouldn't know because I've never heard of it until now. In any case, the only one I've actually seen is Pan's Labyrinth, and it blew me away, so I'm comfortable with my choice. We'll see if I change my mind when I finally get around to seeing The Lives of Others, which hasn't even opened yet in Philly.

In our next installment: Battle of the Turn-of-the-Century Magicians. 

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