Tuesday, January 31, 2006
As you probably already know, the 2006 Oscar Nominees were announced this morning. I thought I'd share my early pics in the major categories, as I'm already thinking about the office pool here. I haven't won one yet, but since I work in the film industry, I have a lot of film geeks to compete with. Hopefully, none of you have that same problem. Here are my thoughts so far:
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
Crash has a good chance, especially with the head of steam it's picked up in the awards shows of the past few weeks, but this one's gonna go to Brokeback Mountain. Everyone involved in this project risked career suicide, and ended up making a fantastic film.
Steven Spielberg, MUNICH
Ang Lee, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
George Clooney, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
Paul Haggis, CRASH
Bennet Miller, CAPOTE
Again, Crash could surprise everyone, but the smart money is on Brokeback Mountain. Spielberg has his Best Director award already, Clooney getting nominated is as good as a win (since this is only his second film), as is Miller's nod. Haggis made a very good film, but I think this will be Lee's night.
Actor in a Leading Role
Philip Seymour Hoffman, CAPOTE
Heath Ledger, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Terrence Howard, HUSTLE AND FLOW
David Strathairn, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
Joaquin Phoenix, WALK THE LINE
Hoffman has picked up a lot of momentum with the Golden Globes, and last weekend's SAG awards, so it would be hard to vote against him. I liked his performance plenty, but I'll be quietly rooting for Ledger or Howard. Both were 'from out of nowhere' performances, especially Ledger's. If you've ever lived in Wyoming, you knew someone like him, right down to the mumble. But Hoffman's got this one in the bag, especially when you look at his body of work.
Actress in a Leading Role
Felicity Huffman, TRANSAMERICA
Charlize Theron, NORTH COUNTRY
Reese Witherspoon, WALK THE LINE
Keira Knightley, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Judi Dench, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS
Reese is the 'it' girl right now, and that's usually how the voters swing. Look back at Erin Brockovich. Was Roberts really THAT good? Same with Jolie's Best Supporting win for Girl Interrupted. I haven't seen Walk the Line yet though, so I can't comment on her performance in this one. Huffman could surprise, but just getting a nod is a win for her. The same can be said for Knightley. Dench and Theron have their statues already. Therefore, it's Witherspoon.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Paul Giamatti, CINDERELLA MAN
George Clooney, SYRIANA
Matt Dillon, CRASH
William Hurt, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Jake Gyllenhaal, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
I wasn't expecting Giamatti to get the nod here. Same with Hurt, as he's only in his film for about ten minutes (and to me, it was a scenery-chewing ten minutes). A nod for Dillon is pretty much a nod for everyone in Crash, so I doubt they'll single him out. They can't slap a mustache and some grey dye on Gyllenhaal and make him look twenty years older. That puts Clooney at the top of the list, although I'll be honest, I didn't think he had the best performance in the film. Plus, my thoughts on Dillon and the cast of Crash could also be said for Syriana. I'm picking Clooney, but there's definitely some upset potential here.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Rachel Weisz, THE CONSTANT GARDENER
Frances McDormand, NORTH COUNTRY
Michelle Williams, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Amy Adams, JUNEBUG
Catherine Keener, CAPOTE
Wow, this one is even tougher. I'd like to write off Amy Adams and Michelle Williams, but newcomers have won this award before. They're both outside shots, but either one could happen, as they both were great (Adams especially understands the importance of subtlety). McDormand already has an Oscar, and in order to win another one, you really have to do something special (which I didn't think Swank did last year, but AMPAS disagreed). So it's either Weisz or Keener. I'm going with Weisz, as she had more to do in her film, but this one could go either way.
Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, MATCH POINT
George Clooney & Grant Heslov, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK
Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco, CRASH
Stephen Gaghan, SYRIANA
Noah Baumbach, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE
This one is a two-horse race. I'd love to see Syriana win it. Had I made my top ten list later than I did, it would've been number two. The script is a fascinating human geo-political puzzle. It doesn't assume that the viewer is stupid, which is always nice. And it accomplishes more in a two-hour running time than any film I've seen in years. However, Crash is gonna win this one. Personally, I thought the ending was a little too convenient. Haggis wants us to believe that twenty people live in all of Los Angeles. However, none of that matters. In the Oscar world, racial 'feel-good' films almost always trump political 'feel-bad' ones. Haggis has a screenplay Oscar already, but I don't think that will stop AMPAS voters from giving him another one.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Dan Futterman, CAPOTE
Josh Olson, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Jeffrey Caine, THE CONSTANT GARDENER
Tony Kushner & Eric Roth, MUNICH
Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Last one, and it's an easy one. Even though all five scripts are deeper than any plot synopsis can give them credit for, Brokeback Mountain took the biggest risks. That will count for a lot on March 5th.
So those are my picks for the major categories. For the first time in a long while, I'm not mad about any of the major nominees. Typically, I'm rooting against someone 'undeserving,' but that won't be the case this year, so I'm looking forward to the show.
One more thing. I really hope that Terrence Howard gets to perform 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.' It won't be as funny as Robin Williams performing 'Blame Canada' a few years back, but it'll be just as memorable, especially if he wears that wife-beater: