The Fortnightly Disects the Oscar Mess
For the second straight year this will be an interesting Oscar night. And for the first time in a long time, we have nothing close to a favorite. A recent poll of Oscar “experts” yielded a 3-way tie between Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, and the Departed.
So here’s my predictions
Bold =Will win
Italics =Should win
Asterisk = Could surprise
Little Miss Sunshine
Letters from Iwo Jima
The Breakdown: Babel won the Globes, which used to be a good indicator, but hasn’t been that reliable the last 10 years.
The Departed made the most money. But The Departed doesn’t feel like a BP winner. I mean it’s a solid crime flick, but there isn’t a whole lot of magnitude or weight generally associated with the winner. The Oscars typically don’t like genre films. They typically don’t go for Scorsese either. Then again it is probably the most accessible of the five nominees. But it might be too violent and too profane for the aging Oscar voters.
Little Miss Sunshine has the same type of momentum that Crash did last year. But isn’t nearly as weighty. It is definitely the feel-good crowd-pleaser of the bunch, which tends to help films in crowded years (see Shakespeare in Love, Driving Miss Daisy, and Chariots of Fire). The biggest thing in trying to figure out the Oscars is to realize that it’s mostly actors voting, and this film was probably the most actor friendly.
Babel is the type of film Oscar loves. A social comment piece that isn’t too controversial, or in your face, that is tragic, and wide in scope. It also has a lot of great roles for its actors, but outside of Pitt and Blanchett there aren’t any major names. The film is also heavily subtitled, and does have some pretty rough judgments against America. I can see how it won the Globes, but I’m not sold on it as a heavy favorite.
Letters from Iwo Jima. The Academy loves Clint Eastwood. But this film lacks any stars, is in a foreign language, and made the least money of any of the final five. I don’t think it has the momentum.
The Queen is a British film, and the Academy loves Brit pics. It has Helen Mirren, it has royalty, it deals with Princess Di. The Oscars love British films, especially dealing with royalty, even more than the Brits love these films. I mean in the 90’s it seemed like there was always a British film nominated. It also has the only film that will get a major acting award. If there is a three way vote split, this is the film that will slip through and win.
So I’m really not sure. I’m going to assume there is a three-way vote split. I don’t think the Departed will win, Babel could, and so could Little Miss Sunshine. That leaves The Queen and Letters. The big question is how many of the voters saw all five films. I can be sure all of them saw The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine. I just don’t see how anyone could not think that Letters is the best film of the bunch if they’ve seen them all. But after a long deliberation I’m going with Babel. Not because it won the globes but it had the second highest gross, has a little international flavor, deals a little with issues, has nudity, which is actually a good indicator, and packs an emotional punch.
Speaking about lifetime acheivement awards, this would probably go to O’toole if he hadn’t been given the lifetime oscar just a few years ago. O’toole might have a shot, but Whitaker has the most momentum. Plus the Academy loves it when a great actor can really dive into a larger than life bad guy role.
Helen Mirren, The Queen* (this is a 110% lock)
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Kate Winslet, Little Children
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Mark Wahlberg,The Departed
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children *
Best Sup. Actor
This is a toughie. Mostly because it’s between two well-established, hard working actors who haven’t really been close to winning, and may not again, in Murphy and Arkin. Then there is Haley, who has probably the best story of all the nominees. He has a shot to slip through, but most likely Murhpy’s flashier role gets him the award. Plus all his multiple role films probably help him out here. It could very well go to Arkin, but then again wouldn’t Murphy make a great Oscar speech? And often it comes down to that.
Jennifer Hudson Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi Babel
Cate Blanchett Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin Little Miss Sunshine *
Adriana Barraza Babel
Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Paul Greengrass United 93
Alejandro González Iñárritu Babel
Stephen Frears The Queen
Clint Eastwood Letters from Iwo Jima *
Michael ArndtLittle Miss Sunshine
Guillermo Del Toro Pan's Labyrinth
Peter Morgan, The Queen *
Guillermo Arriaga Babel
Iris Yamashia Letters from Iwo Jima
William Monahan The Departed
Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata, Children of Men
Patrick Marber Notes on a Scandal
Todd Field, Tom Perrotta Little Children
Sacha Baron Cohen et al. Borat*
An Inconvenient Truth
Deliver Us from Evil*
My Country My Country
Iraq In Fragments
The Doc. category is a weird one, often the most popular is a little frowned upon, and Deliver us from Evil, tackling religion and sex, could surprise.
Foreign Language Film
The Lives of Others
After the Wedding Days of Glory
The Foreign film category has rarely gotten it right, and I expect the same here. Lives has a lot of momentum, and seems like the type of film Oscar voters would like more than a fantasy film.
Children of Men
The Prestige *
The Black Dahlia
The Good Shepherd
Children of Men
Pirates of the Caribbean
Curse of the Golden Flower
The Devil Wears Prada
Flags of Our Fathers
Letters from Iwo Jima
Flags of Our Fathers
Javier Navarrete Pan's Labyrinth*
Alexandre Desplat The Queen
Gustavo Santaolalla Babel
Phillip Glass, Notes on a Scandal
Thomas Newman, The Good German
Beyonce Knowles, Listen, Dreamgirls
Randy Newman Our Town, Cars
Melissa Etheridge I Need to Wake Up, An Inconvenient Truth*
Jennifer Hudson Love You I Do, Dreamgirls
Eddie Murphy Patience, Dreamgirls
The Little Matchgirl
The Danish Poet
No Time for Nuts
Live Action Short
Binta and the Great Idea (Binta Y La Gran Idea)
Eramos Pocos (One Too Many)”
Helmer & Son
West Bank Story”
The Blood of Yingzhou District
Rehearsing a Dream