Let's begin, shall we?
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Predicted Winner: The Departed
Alternate: Little Miss Sunshine
My Vote: Little Miss Sunshine
So, as long as Babel doesn't win (which it very well could) I'll be happy. I haven't seen Letters from Iwo Jima, but I'm sure it's much much better than Flags of Our Fathers. What a delight to not have this contest down to just two or even one contender. "Relevance" be gone. I'm predicting The Departed for no real reason. I suppose it makes sense. It won the DGA, WGA and ACE and every movie that's won that combo has won the Oscar, so. I was going to say Little Miss Sunshine, but then that pesky ol' Indie Spirit CURSE popped up (it just won Best Picture), so I figured it wouldn't win. lol. So technical, huh? I think this year we can actually use reasons like that!
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Paul Greengrass, United 93
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Babel
Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Predicted Winner: Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Alternate: Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Babel
My Vote: Paul Greengrass, United 93
It would have been interesting to see if Greengrass could have had an actual bonafide shot at winning this category despite not having a correlating Picture nomination. Still, if Scorsese loses this category this year... I don't know who is gonna pay but whoever does win is gonna be apologising their arse off.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN 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
Predicted Winner: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Alternate: Peter O'Toole, Venus
My Vote: N/A - I've only seen one of these nominees (Whitaker), which I liked but didn't love (essentially because I despise the film with a deep-hearted passion).
I really want to predict O'Toole. I seriously think many will put his name down, but I just think Whitaker will eke it out in the end. I really don't wanna face the fact that The Last King of Scotland will be an "Academy Award winning" film, but such is life.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children
Predicted Winner: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Alternate: Is there a point to this? Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
My Vote: Penelope Cruz, Volver
If Mirren loses this, will this go down as the biggest upset in Academy history? I say so. I really don't think she can lose, but boy... imagine if she did, huh?
BEST 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
Predicted Winner: Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Alternate: Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
My Vote: Mark Wahlberg, The Departed
Arkin. Yes. Arkin over Murphy. I've been predicting this for months (and especially after the nominations were announced and Dreamgirls had such a small presense in the big awards). I think Arkin will be led to victory the same way people like James Coburn and Jack Palance to wins. Old fogies get one last chance for gold. Weird symetry between Arkin and Palance. Palance was nominated for Oscars in 1953 and 1954 before a big giant gap and finally being nominated again and winning for a comedy in 1992. Arkin was nominated in 1967 and 1969 before a big gap and then being nominated for a comedy in 2007. Plus, Arkin has the advantage of a Best Picture contender. Of course, Murphy could just as easily win it, but I think they'll choose Arkin. And Hounsou? I routinely forget he's even nominated. LOL!
I do wonder how they're going to select a clip of Wahlberg's to show. That was a foul mouth he had there.
BEST 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 Kikucho, Babel
Predicted Winner: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Alternate: Rinko Kikuchi, Babel
My Vote: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
So, yeah, it wouldn't be as big of a shock if Hudson lost here (unlike Mirren), but I still don't think it will happen. If an upset does occur I predict it won't be cutey Abi Breslin, but actually Rinko Kikuchi (one award I actually wouldn't care if Babel won. As long as it's Rinko. Not Adriana. Me no like Barraza in Babel). Breslin isn't precocious (sp?) enough. Although it could happen. But, yeah, this is Hudson's to lose.
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR THE SCREEN
Guillermo Arriaga, Babel
Iris Yamashita, Paul Haggis, Letters from Iwo Jima
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth
Peter Morgan, The Queen
Predicted Winner: Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Alternate: Guillera Arriaga, Babel
My Vote: Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Well, I suppose three nominees out of five being wholey "original" is at least progress! I think this is Arndt's prize to take home. If not him then, sure, Morgan (better for this than The Last King of Scotland), but I actually think Arriaga is the bigger spoiler candidate. In a The Pianist type sideswipe, I can totally see the "important" (but still third ranked) contender taking the prize - Babel especially, since I don't see Iwo Jima or Pan's Labyrinth taking the prize.
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY BASED ON MATERIAL PREVIOUSLY PRODUCED OR PUBLISHED
Sasha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazar, Todd Phillips, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Children of Men
William Monahan, The Departed
Todd Field, Tom Perrotta, Little Children
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal
Predicted Winner: William Monahan, The Departed
Alternate: Alfonso Cuaron et al, Children of Men
My Vote: Alfondo Cuaron et al, Children of Men
Monahan's swell Departed screenplay seems like the best fit for the win here. It's the only Best Picture contender (how rare for Adapted Screenplay to be so barron!) and next to Little Children is the most word-reliant. If there's a chink in it's armour it may be the groundswell support for Children of Men, which looked like it could have swollen a few other categories (it got surprising nods for Editing and Screenplay). If enough voters saw it after nominations I think it's within shot. I do think that Monahan is taking it though, giving my predicted Best Picture winner three trophies for the night.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Vilmos Zsigmond, The Black Dahlia
Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men
Dick Pope, The Illusionist
Guillermo Navarro, Pan's Labyrinth
Wally Pfister, The Prestige
Predicted Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men
Alternate: Wally Pfister, The Prestige
My Vote: Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men
Sure, Lubezki seems like the natural winner (his work on the film has been praised to the heavens), but as a select few have pointed it, it's not typically rewarded stuff. It's not filled with vistas or swaying grass. However, on the upside, none of the other contenders have vistas or swaying grass either, so I'm sticking with Lubezki. However, if one is to upstage him, I predict two-time nominee for a Chris Nolan film, Wally Pfister. It's the most typically "pretty" film what with all that low lighting and candle flames and such.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING
Douglas Crise, Stephen Merrione, Babel
Steven Rosenblum, Blood Diamond
Alfonso Cuaron, Alex Rodriguez, Children of Men
Thelma Schoonmaker, The Departed
Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson, Christopher Rouse, United 93
Predicted Winner: United 93 co.
Alternate: Babel's duo or Schoonmaker for The Departed
My Vote: United 93 co.
Thelma is widely recognised as a genius for a reason, I know that, but I don't know if they will give her a second Oscar in the span of three years. That happens more often in the techs than in acting true, but nevertheless. I'm going on a limb and predicting the United 93 gang take it. Anyone who actually saw that film is surely going to vote for them. This is the second of two categories I could survive having Babel win (Supporting Actress for Kikuchi being the other).
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION
John Myhre, Nancy Haigh, Dreamgirls
Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, Gretchen Rau, Leslie E Rollins, The Good Shepherd
Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta, Pan's Labyrinth
Rich Heinrichs, Cheryl Carasik, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Nathan Crowly, Julie Ochipinti, The Prestige
Predicted Winner: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta, Pan's Labyrinth
Alternate: John Myhre, Nancy Haigh, Dreamgirls
My Vote: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta, Pan's Labyrinth
If there is a god and he watches the Oscars (bitch plz, what else has he got to do?!) then surely Caballero and Revuelta will win for their stunning work on Pan's Labyrinth. I certainly hope they're not beaten by those art directed curtains from Dreamgirls. I could definitely handle a Prestige upset though.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Chung Man Yee, Curse of the Golden Flower
Patricia Field, The Devil Wears Prada
Sharen Davis, Dreamgirls
Milena Canonero, Marie Antoinette
Consolata Boyle, The Queen
Predicted Winner: Patricia Field, The Devil Wears Prada
Alternate: Sharen Davis, Dreamgirls
My Vote: Patricia Field, The Devil Wears Prada
Sure, it may be a bit of a wishful thinking prediction, but I really do think Field has as good a shot as any. I point you in the direction of the 1995 Academy Awards. That year had showy theatrical costumes (Bullets Over Broadway = Dreamgirls), French regal wear (Queen Margot = Marie Antoinette) and showy action garb (Maverick = Curse of the Golden Flower). It also had dowdy but exquisite (Little Women = The Queen. It's stretching, but whatever). But the winner? The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, a film filled with contemporary-but-niche designs. Yes, the costume branch rarely nominates contemporary work, but there are thousands of others who vote and while Dreamgirls is the most logical choice (as, oh, Little Women or Bullets Over Broadway were I presume) I predict they will choose the designer duds of The Devil Wears Prada.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SCORE
Gustavo Santaolla, Babel
Thomas Newman, The Good German
Phillip Glass, Notes on a Scandal
Javier Navarette, Pan's Labyrinth
Alexandre Desplat, The Queen
Predicted Winner: Javier Navarette, Pan's Labyrinth
Alternate: Alexandre Desplat, The Queen
My Vote: Thomas Newman, The Good German
Foreign films seem to do good in this category (they use a wider, or just plain different, assortment of instruments so they sound more exotic to casual observers - aka Academy members) and Navarette's work is indeed sublime. Although I really think Desplat has a shot if people want to reward him in general. I do feel bad for Newman though. His German score is ace if that's your sort of thing, so it's a shame he'll (most probably) go home empty handed for the eighth time. The less said about Glass' bombastic Scandal score the better, okay?
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SONG
Melissa Etheridge, "I Need to Wake Up", An Inconvenient Truth
Henry Kreiger, Scott Cutler, Anne Previn, "Listen", Dreamgirls
Henry Kreiger, Siedah Garrett, "Love You I Do", Dreamgirls
Randy Newman, "Our Town", Cars
Henry Kreiger, Willie Reale, "Patience", Dreamgirls
Predicted Winner: "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls
Alternate: Everything else. Really.
My Vote: "Listen" from Dreamgirls
Voters seem to make good choices when it comes to picking the winner of this category. They chose the latin Motorcycle Diaries track over everything else and songs like "Lose Yourself" and "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" too. While I'd love to see Etheridge up there (I do love her, I just don't like the song) and I think they could just as easily reward Newman for the oldschool (just like the film) "Our Town", I really do think Dreamgirls will win. I'm predicting "Love You I Do" because it is actually the more authentic in terms of the film's period setting and such. I know I'll most likely be proven wrong come tomorrow, but whatever. I seriously see all these nominees as possible winners (except maybe "Patience", which seems like overkill for Dreamgirls).
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano, Apocalypto
Kazuhiro Tsuji, Bill Corso, Click
David Marti, Montse Ribe, Pan's Labyrinth
Predicted Winner: Pan's Labyrinth
My Vote: Pan's Labyrinth
I so hope Pan's Labyrinth wins this. It's Pan and Pale Man creations are all-time worship worthy. Plus, I don't want Apocalypto and Click to be "Academy Award winner" films. Blegh.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND
Kevin O'Connell, Greg P Russell, Fernando Camara, Apocalypto
Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Ivan Sharrock, Blood Diamond
Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer, Willie B Burton Dreamgirls
John T Reitz, David E Campbell, Gregg Rudolf, Walt Martin, Flags of Our Fathers
Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Lee Orloff, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Predicted Winner: The crew from Dreamgirls
Alternate: The crew from Flags of Our Fathers
My Vote: The crew from Pirates of the Caribbean
Musicals seem to win here (unless you're Moulin Rouge!, assholes) and it seems like a natural vote for the Academy member who really doesn't know what this wacky concept for sound design is. "Is it loud?" "Yes!" "Then that's a tick from me!"
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Sean McCormack, Kami Asgar, Apocalypto
Lon Bender, Blood Diamond
Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman, Flags of Our Fathers
Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman, Letters from Iwo Jima
George Watters II, Christopher Boyes, Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest
Predicted Winner: Those dudes from Letters from Iwo Jima
Alternate: The guys from Pirates of the Caribbean
My Vote: Ditto, the guys from Pirates
Firstly, what's the point in having this category at all (like, seriously, merge it with the sound one above you losers. That Boyes guy did the sound AND the sound editing, too. Ugh.). Secondly, why are the nominees the exact same except for one film Iwo Jima in for Dreamgirls. Thirdly, I hate this category because it makes the ceremony unnecessarily longer. Two of the movies have the exact same nominees! Aagh! Anyway. It seems voters like to throw votes towards Best Picture nominees so I'm going with the Iwo Jima boys. I hope Pirates wins though because they deserve it (plus, then if Iwo Jima wins Best Picture it will have one win total. LOL)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
John Knoll, Hal T Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Boyd Shermis, Kim Libreri, Chas Jarrett, John Frazier, Poseidon
Mark Stetson, Richard R Hoover, Neil Corbould, Superman Returns
Predicted Winner: Pirates, obviously
My Vote: Pirates
This one seems sewn up for Pirates. Superman Returns makes me sleepy just thinking about it.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
Cars, John Lasseter
Happy Feet, George Miller
Monster House, Gil Kenan
Predicted Winner: Cars
Alternate: Happy Feet
My Vote: HOW DO I CHOOSE?!
So, for once, I really quite love every title nominated. I'd love to see George Miller on stage accepting an Oscar (and it will also quell the inevitable Aussie media who will stab themselves in the neck if an Aussie doesn't win), but the further I get away from them, I think I like Cars more (chalk it up to my weird Americana fetish), but I'd also be very veeery happy with a Monster House win because maybe it will slow the talking-animals movies.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
After the Wedding, Denmark
Days of Glory, Algeria
The Lives of Others, Germany
Pan's Labyrinth, Mexico
Predicted Winner: Pan's Labyrinth
Alternate: The Lives of Others
My Vote: Pan's Labyrinth, although I've only seen 2/5. Blah.
So, I'm this (*squeezes thumb and index finger together*) close to predicting The Lives of Others, but I decided not to. I think Pan's European feel will get it across the line. Still... WHERE THE FUCK IS VOLVER?!?!?
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Deliver Us From Evil, Amy Berg, Frank Donner
An Inconvenient Truth, Davis Guggenheim
Iraq in Fragments, James Longly, Yahya Sinno
Jesus Camp, Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
My Country, My Country, Laura Poitras, Jocelyn Glatzer
Predicted Winner: An Inconvenient Truth
Alternate: Deliver Us From Evil
My Vote: umm... I've only seen Truth and, suffice to say, I wasn't impressed)
Okay, bare with me! If there is to be a big mothafuckin' upset during the show I really hope it's here. Cause, ya know what? An Inconvenient Truth doesn't deserve to be an Academy Award winner. It just doesn't. It's lazy filmmaking. Maybe if Guggenheim and Gore had made a documentary about global warming it would have been good, but as is, it's documenting what? A slideshow? Here's the thing - MAKING AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH WAS NOT CHALLENGING. They set up a camera at a few of his lectures and filmed it. Big freakin' whoop! Guggenheim (notice, Al Gore had no part in the making of the actual film, hence his non-nomination) didn't have to research. He didn't have to investigate. He didn't have to even know the subject he was making a movie about. He just had to plonk a camera down and press [record]. Funding was probably about as easy to come by as sugar in a candy factory. Then take a movie like Deliver Us From Evil or Jesus Camp (which I admit I haven't seen, but it's not like the reviews have been dirge on their front) which required their filmmakers to go to great lengths to even get their film off the ground let alone research, investigage, find out the truth. That's what documentaries should do. They should have a subject and investigate it. An Inconvenient Truth did none of that (a bit of investigation into Al Gore notwithstanding). As I've said before, it's a noble movie and it's a topic worthy of cinema (who'd ever thing The Day After Tomorrow would be ahead of it's time), but An Inconvenient Truth was not good documenting (or documentary-making). Just because a subject matter is good, doesn't make a film good.
Adding to this, the subject of Deliver Us From Evil is one that is just as utterly compelling and horrifying and should be shoved in people's faces just as much as Al Gore's desire to "save the world" (*snort*). Where are the voters who famously snubbed movies that made money? (Hi to the greatest documentary - and one of the greatest movies period - I've ever seen Hoop Dreams) Blah. /rant
BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
The Blood of Yingzhou District, Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon
Recycled Life, Leslie Iwerks, Mike Glad
Rehearsing a Dream, Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story, Nathaniel Kahn, Susan Rose Behr
Predicted Winner: The Blood of Yingzhou District
Alternate: Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story
I dunno. They sound important.
BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION
The Danish Poet, Torill Kove
Lifted, Gary Rydstrom
The Little Matchgirl, Roger Allers, Don Hahn
Maestro, Geza M Toth
No Time for Nuts, Chris Renaud, Mike Thurmeier
Predicted Winner: The Little Matchgirl
My Vote: I've only seen Maestro unfortunately. I'd love to see the rest, but they're only on iTunes USA
Apparently The Little Matchgirl is a devastatingly sad little film, so I say it wins.
BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION
Binta and the Great Idea, Javier Fesser, Luis Manso
Eramos Pocos, Borja Cobeaga
Helmer and Son, Soron Pilmark, Kim Magnusson
The Saviour, Peter Templeton, Stuart Parkyn
West Bank Story, Ari Sandel
Predicted Winner: The Saviour
Alternate: West Bank Story
My Vote: Well, I've seen The Saviour and that's it.
I'm predicting the Australian Saviour wins because I don't know any of the others and it makes just as much sense as a musical set in the west bank. Right?
Wow. That took a long freakin' time! Like, literally, it's been two hours since I started typing. Granted, I've been doing some other stuff on the net at the same time, but, still. Wow. Anyway.
Here's hoping I do alright. Thing is, if my predictions all come to fruition then I've be a very happy chappy because in most categories I don't really mind what wins because they chose some great stuff this year. Surely, there are some things that I'll be peeved, but even Babel winning certain things ranks as "awesome" compared to many of the disasters of recent years (hi Halle, hi A Beautiful Mind, etc). So, yeah, except for the whole An Inconvenient Truth debacle, I'm sure to be happy to matter what, but if my predictions are right then... YAY!
'til then. Goodbye.