Academy Award Nominees Announced

Ken AshfordPopular Culture1 Comment

AcademyawardstatuteMy predicted winners are in red:

1. Best Picture: "Babel," "The Departed," "Letters From Iwo Jima," "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Queen."

Comments:  The surprise here is, of course, the failure of "Dreamgirls" to be nominated.  It was a movie that many expected to not only be nominated, but to win.  With "Dreamgirls" out of the mix, it is an open question.  LMS is too light and fluffy for an Oscar, and Queen is too, well, British.  "Letters From Iwo Jima" has an outstanding chance, not only because it is a well-done film, but it stands beside Eastwood’s other Iwo Jima epic of this year "Flags Of Our Fathers".  Still, I think it’s going to Scorsese. (P.S. Kudos for not nominating "Borat")

2. Actor: 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"

Comments: Whitaker won the Golden Globe and the Academy likes him.  DiCaprio has a good chance (especially since he wasn’t nominated for best supporting for his role in "The Departed"), and Peter O’Toole is a sentimental favorite, since it looks like he might not be with us much longer.  Still, I give Whitaker the slight edge.

3. Actress: Penelope Cruz, "Volver"; Judi Dench, "Notes on a Scandal"; Helen Mirren, "The Queen" ; Meryl Streep, "The Devil Wears Prada"; Kate Winslet, "Little Children."

Comments:  Personally, I would love to see Meryl win another Oscar, and she did take the Golden Globe.  But Mirren’s performance was, according to the buzz, outstanding.  Meryl will be nipping at her heels, and don’t be surprised by an "upset" from Penelope Cruz.

4. Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, "Little Miss Sunshine" ; Jackie Earle Haley, "Little Children"; Djimon Hounsou, "Blood Diamond"; Eddie Murphy, "Dreamgirls"; Mark Wahlberg, "The Departed."

Comments:  A lot of people are saying it’s Eddie Murphy, and I certainly was pleasantly surprised by his performance in "Dreamgirls", and pleased with his Golden Globe win.  Still, I have this feeling about Arkin — a consistently good actor who has yet to be recognized.

5. Supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza, "Babel"; Cate Blanchett, "Notes on a Scandal"; Abigail Breslin, "Little Miss Sunshine"; Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"; Rinko Kikuchi, "Babel."

Comments:  The only sure thing in the top categories — Jennifer Hudson.

6. Directing: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, "Babel"; Martin Scorsese, "The Departed"; Clint Eastwood, "Letters From Iwo Jima"; Stephen Frears, "The Queen"; Paul Greengrass, "United 93."

Comments:  Again, a bit of a surprise that Bill Condon wasn’t nominated for "Dreamgirls", but even if he had, I think this is the year when Scorsese finally wins his first Oscar for Best Directing.

7. Foreign Language Film: "After the Wedding," Denmark; "Days of Glory (Indigenes)," Algeria; "The Lives of Others," Germany; "Pan’s Labyrinth," Mexico; "Water," Canada.

Comments:  Not even close.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Sacha Baron Cohen and Anthony Hines and Peter Baynham and Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips, "Borat Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"; Alfonso Cuaron and Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, "Children of Men"; William Monahan, "The Departed"; Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, "Little Children"; Patrick Marber, "Notes on a Scandal."

Comments:  A bit of a surprise that "Thank You For Not Smoking" wasn’t nominated.  I’m leaning toward "Children of Men" but it could be "The Departed"

9. Original Screenplay: Guillermo Arriaga, "Babel"; Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis, "Letters From Iwo Jima"; Michael Arndt, "Little Miss Sunshine" ; Guillermo del Toro, "Pan’s Labyrinth"; Peter Morgan, "The Queen."

Comments:  It’s either "Little Mary Sunshine" or "Babel".  I’m guessing the former.

10. Animated Feature Film: "Cars," "Happy Feet", Monster House."

Comments:  Its environmental message and good music will give "Happy Feet" the edge over "Cars"

11. Art Direction: "Dreamgirls," "The Good Shepherd," "Pan’s Labyrinth", "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," "The Prestige."

Comments:  I’m picking "Pan’s Labyrinth" simply because it’s otherworldly, and (apparently) done very well.

12. Cinematography: "The Black Dahlia," "Children of Men," "The Illusionist," "Pan’s Labyrinth", "The Prestige."

Comments:  Futuristic ("Children of Men") and historical ("The Black Dahlia", "The Illusionist") often do well, but so do the otherworldly.  I’m leaning toward Pan again.

13. Sound Mixing: "Apocalypto," "Blood Diamond," "Dreamgirls", "Flags of Our Fathers," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest."

14. Sound Editing: "Apocalypto," "Blood Diamond," "Flags of Our Fathers", "Letters From Iwo Jima," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest."

15. Original Score: "Babel," Gustavo Santaolalla; "The Good German," Thomas Newman; "Notes on a Scandal," Philip Glass; "Pan’s Labyrinth", Javier Navarrete; "The Queen," Alexandre Desplat.

Comments:  Never go against Philip Glass.

16. Original Song: "I Need to Wake Up" from "An Inconvenient Truth," Melissa Etheridge; "Listen" from "Dreamgirls," Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler and Anne Preven; "Love You I Do" from "Dreamgirls", Henry Krieger and Siedah Garrett; "Our Town" from "Cars," Randy Newman; "Patience" from "Dreamgirls," Henry Krieger and Willie Reale.

Comments:  Very odd.  "Love You I Do" was from the original Broadway score, so one wonders why "I’m Not Going" wasn’t nominated.  In truth, the winner will probably be something from "Dreamgirls".  I just don’t like "Listen" or "Patience" very much.  [UPDATE:  Heather says I am wrong about "Love You I Do" being from the original Broadway score, and I probably am.]

17. Costume: "Curse of the Golden Flower," "The Devil Wears Prada", "Dreamgirls," "Marie Antoinette," "The Queen."

Comments:  The costume award just has to go to a movie about fashion.

18. Documentary Feature: "Deliver Us From Evil," "An Inconvenient Truth", "Iraq in Fragments," "Jesus Camp," "My Country, My Country."

Comments:  Usually, popular documentaries don’t win, but this year will be different.

19. Documentary (short subject): "The Blood of Yingzhou District," "Recycled Life," "Rehearsing a Dream," "Two Hands."

20. Film Editing: "Babel", "Blood Diamond," "Children of Men," "The Departed," "United 93."

21. Makeup: "Apocalypto," "Click," "Pan’s Labyrinth"

22. Animated Short Film: "The Danish Poet," "Lifted," "The Little Matchgirl," "Maestro," "No Time for Nuts."

23. Live Action Short Film: "Binta and the Great Idea (Binta Y La Gran Idea)," "Eramos Pocos (One Too Many)," "Helmer & Son," "The Saviour," "West Bank Story."

24. Visual Effects: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," "Poseidon," "Superman Returns"