Oscar time!

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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).

Best Picture

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.

Best Director

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.

Best Actor

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.

Best Actress

mirrenWill 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.

dreamgirlsShould 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.

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  1. ashley's comments  

    "...Whitaker is not actually the main character ... McAvoy is, after all, in more scenes."

    "...aided by his distinct facial features, really made this role pop off the screen."

    ummm... bwog is in short supply of entertainment writers? ashley's rebuttal of the criticisms directed against jennifer hudson made me cringe...

    • yeah for real though  

      "IT'S A MUSICAL" in response to acting not being good is ridiculous.


      Also, #1, I highly doubt that a musical could really be underrated. People eat that shit up.

  2. really?

    "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."

    ...thanks, I can read EW for that. can we get some actual opinions here folks?

  3. isnt that  

    what the "should win" was for?

  4. let them write  

    bwog comments suck

  5. Ever since....  

    the movie 'Titanic,' I have been unable to stand Leonardo DiCaprio.

  6. dreamgirls  

    was a big fat turd. jennifer hudson did not sing or act well in it. nevertheless, she and eddie murphy will win, and so will helen mirren and forest whitaker (this has to be least competitive year for acting nominations in quite a while).

    picture and director are tougher nuts to crack. part of the problem is that everyone thinks that Babel is in the running because it won the Golden Globe; historically, the Globes do a really poor job of predicting the Oscars. the DGA and PGA awards are much better at this.

    DGA gave it to scorsese, little miss sunshine won the PGA award; so this seems like a pretty likely director/picture split for the academy, which wants to atone for its mistreatment of scorsese but isn't cool enough to love the Departed as much as it should. given how recently eastwood won, it's hard to imagine him stealing scorsese's thunder again, though the possibility can't be ruled out entirely.

    • whitaker

      was fine whatever great. same thing for gosling. great great drug addict great kind of always decent actor finally doing something certifiably decent, ok great. peter o'toole is peter o'toole. happyness = worst movie ever made.

      best lead acting performance of the year though was dicaprio in departed. everyone knew it at the time so how come no one is talking about it at all right now? just because the studio fucked up on their whole campaign to get him in two categories?

  7. best foreign film  

    looks favoured to go to Pan's Labyrinth, but it should really go to The Lives of Others, both for the power of the overall film, and especially for Muhe's performance

  8. yo listen to me  

    whoever said that the Meryl Streep had depth in the Devil Wears Prada needs to get in in the face

  9. ashley nin  

    is smokin' hot. if you're reading this, have my babies.

  10. grrrrr  


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