Written by Bwog Staff
Yeah, we know they’re still two weeks away, but Bwog likes to get things rolling early. Because there’s not much else exciting about February, we bring you an abridged set of Oscar predictions from daily Bwog editor Dan D’Addario and contributor Ashley Nin–because no one cares who did the best sound mixing anyway (Dan’s responses first, then Ashley’s).
Will Win – “Babel.” “The Departed”, while well-executed (no pun intended), received fewer nominations and seems too “genre” to win. “Babel” seems far more “important” in the way that “Crash” was last year. The spoiler in the race is “Little Miss Sunshine,” but as a light comedy, it has a tough row to hoe with the Academy.
“The Departed.” It’s got nine awards exclusively in the Best Picture Category (Letters has 6, Babel 1, Little Miss Sunshine 3, The Queen 3). Do the math.
Should win – “The Departed” shines in every aspect – ensemble acting, writing, directing. It only improves on repeated viewing, and the final ten minutes alone will
stand up as one of the best closing scenes of the decade.
“The Departed”. It really is very well done in all aspects: the ensemble cast is balanced, everyone bringing unique and impressive efforts; the cinematography is polished, the script is engaging.
Will Win – Martin Scorsese, “The Departed.” The Academy has been splitting its Picture/Director slates far more in recent years, which clears the way for Scorsese’s first win. Reactions to “The Departed” have been far more enthusiastic than those to his last two films.
Scorsese (The Departed). This is not the first time that Scorsese and Eastwood have gone head to head. In 2005, despite the fact that “The Aviator” was the most nominated film at the Academy Awards that year (with 11), it walked away with only 5 awards; Eastwood took home Best Picture and Best Director for “Million Dollar Baby.” Though it shouldn’t be, this may be something the Academy thinks about with they cast their votes.
Should win- There are actually TWO veteran and Oscar-less filmmakers who have never been recognized in this category, and I’d give the trophy to Stephen Frears, director of “The Queen.” He approached a project of a smaller scale than the other four nominees but made it one of the freshest and most relevant films of the year.
Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima). It’s true, Scorsese made “The Departed” into an amazing film all-around; however, Letters is beautifully done, and the audience is left very aware of the hand that Eastwood played in it. The cinematography in particular is smart and satisfying.
Will Win – Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland). A respected actor who has never received an Oscar, playing a notorious historical figure to great effect? Whitaker’s won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award and seems like a lock.
Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland). His only true rival is Peter O’Toole (Venus), who has received his 8th Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and has yet to actually win. Again, its history like this that is likely to sway votes. Also, there is some criticism that Whitaker is not actually the main character of his
film; McAvoy is, after all, in more scenes.
Should Win – Ryan Gosling creates one of cinema’s most sympathetic drug addicts in “Half Nelson” – his jittery mannerisms and eyes clouded by deadened optimism were truer than anything else in film last year.
Whitaker. The first thing I asked myself when making my “should win” list was “Could someone else have done just as well in the role?” The answer when considering “The Last King of Scotland” is a big “hell no”. The energy and sincerity, aided by his distinct facial features, really made this role pop off the screen.
Will Win – Helen Mirren, (The Queen). See Whitaker, and add in a beloved Best Picture nominee.
Helen Mirren (The Queen). Daily Variety called this one a “slam dunk.” In 2006, she won more awards than any other actress by far and was ranked the number two Entertainer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly. The critics at Daily Variety maintain that every other nominees chances are “slim.” Am I gonna disagree? No.
Should Win – In one of the best years for actresses in recent memory, there are arguments to be made for four of the five nominees (I’d say Streep’s film is too fluffy and insubstantial). That said, Penelope Cruz’s performance in “Volver” is the most truly alive in the category. She runs the gamut of emotions without ever seeming calculated, and shares a mother-daughter bond with Carmen Maura that’s not just convincing, but beautiful.
Streep (Devil Wears Prada). I can’t say that I agree with the critics at the aformentioned publication; the other four actresses were all phenomenal and deserve a second look. Most impressive, I thought, was Streep, who took a potentially shallow role and added depth with subtlety that makes every one of her roles convincing.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win – Upsets, when they happen, often happen in the Supporting categories, and the Oscars seem overdue for a Marisa Tomei-style surprise. Given the apparent Academy love for “Blood Diamond” and the size and emotional weight of Djimon Honsou’s role, he seems like the most likely contender to beat out “Dreamgirls” (and “Norbit”!) star Eddie Murphy.
Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls). This is a big year for ensemble casts who are crowding the Supporting Actor and Actress categories. “Dreamgirls” is the front-runner with eight nominations. The amount of acclaim it’s received seems to have been enough to make both Oscar-newbies Murphy and Hudson favorites in each category.
Should Win – In willing to find the humanity in a loathsome criminal, “Little Children”‘s Jackie Earle Haley gave the bravest performance of the year – perhaps because he had nothing to lose. A tip of the hat, too, to Mark Wahlberg, who is compulsively watchable in “The Departed” – so much so that he’s starring solo in its sequel.
Haley (Little Children). While I’m surprised and impressed with Murphy’s ability to appear in a film for more than five minutes without either being obnoxious or dressing up in a fat suit, I am unconvinced that his performance was Oscar-worthy—entertaining, yes; unique or outstanding, no. Haley, on the other hand, seemlessly combined innocence and creepiness to salvage what could have potentially been a very awkward role.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win – Jennifer Hudson has been everywhere for three months, and her competition consists of two actresses from Babel that no one has heard of, a little girl, and Cate Blanchett, who won two years ago. This is almost TOO easy a call.
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls). Babel got two nominees for this category, which is likely to split the vote and give Hudson the win.
Should win – Jennifer Hudson, a great singer, falls short in trying to convey her character’s inner life – she aimed for sassy, but Effie White seemed to me completely unsympathetic. Rinko Kikuchi is almost gruesomely emotionally naked in “Babel,” and her performance grounds the film in an emotional reality both bizarre and understandable.
Hudson. Much of the criticism against her has been that her singing was unbelievable and her acting was not quite up to par with it. My response: IT’S A MUSICAL. She stole the show, despite having her role minimized to make room for Beyonce and Jamie Foxx.