Predictions for the 78th Annual Academy Awards
BY JOSEPH PLANTA
Sunday, 05 March 2006
VANCOUVER - Tonight is Oscar night. The entire film world's attention is centered on the presentation of the 78th Annual Academy Awards. Jon Stewart hosts, which is apt, considering just how popular he is. Then again, Letterman was pretty hot in the mid-1990s, and after he hosted, his bankability sort of tanked. Maybe tonight Stewart will jump the shark.
Here, I offer my predictions. I'm sort of hit and miss each year. Last year I got 18 out of 24 in the old Oscar pool, and that's without seeing any of the nominees. Ditto this year. Let's see how I'll do tonight:
Best Picture: I'm going out on a limb and say Crash. I don't know why. I read somewhere that between it and Brokeback Mountain, Crash will be the movie people will still remember 10 years from now. Last year, I thought The Aviator would win.
Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain. I wouldn't be surprised if George Clooney won this for Good Night, and Good Luck, but Lee's a favourite in Hollywood. Lee's films are eclectic and favourites in Hollywood. Think about it, sure, he directed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but he also evoked 1970s-America in The Ice Storm, and Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibility.
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote. He's won every other award there is. Perhaps Joaquin Phoenix could sneak through, or even David Strathairn, but the momentum has been for Hoffman forever. Plus, he's no slouch as an actor. A well-deserved win to say the least. (Useless anecdote: Strathairn may have made a career playing Ed Murrow, however I can't shake the fact he slept with Carmela Soprano. I actually worry for his life, so I'm hoping Tony don't find out.)
Best Actress: If momentum and Hollywood favouritism is the order of the day, then it's Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line. Felicity Huffman could snag it, but just think what bitterness would ensue on the Desperate Housewives set.
Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney, Syriana. I would be very happy to see Paul Giamatti win, because like Philip Seymour Hoffman, he's a great actor. Clooney's got three nominations this year, and because he's done good work on all three, he's bound to win at least one. I think this is his best shot at winning.
Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener. She seems to be a front-runner for this award, copping the Golden Globe and the SAG award. I would be happy if Michelle Williams won, if only that she'd be the only Dawson's Creek alum who really scored this year.
Best Animated Feature: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Art Direction: Memoirs of a Geisha.
Cinematography: Brokeback Mountain.
Costume Design: Memoirs of a Geisha.
Documentary Feature: March of the Penguins.
Documentary Short: God Sleeps in Rwanda.
Film Editing: Crash.
Foreign Language Film: Tsotsi from South Africa.
Makeup: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Original Score: Brokeback Mountain.
Original Song: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," Hustle & Flow. I'm probably making a mistake, but using my guide of the nominee with the most attention, I'd have to say it's this number. The song from Crash might win, but that's only if it's really popular with Academy voters. This song is my pick, if only we've heard a lot about it, especially with the accommodations that the network censors and Gil Cates are giving it. Don't forget Eminem won this award a few years back. Now, Dolly Parton happens to be nominated here, and she's the higher profile amongst nominees. I don't think however that the Academy would give her an Oscar before they'd give one to say, Martin Scorsese. And does anyone think, amongst the pantheon of notable singers who've won the Oscar in this category Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Prince, and Barbra Streisand, that she'd make it? Well, Carly Simon did, so anything's possible. (Another useless anecdote: Did you know Walter Cronkite is currently dating, and is thinking of marrying Carly Simon's sister?)
Short Film-Animated: One Man Band.
Short Film-Live Action: Six Shooter.
Sound Editing: King Kong.
Sound Mixing: Walk the Line.
Visual Effects: King Kong.
Screenplay-Adapted: Brokeback Mountain. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana are locks in this category. I was going to say that McMurtry's (Lonesome Dove) probably the accomplished writer of the bunch, but I notice that Tony Kushner (Angels in America) is a co-nominee for the Munich screenplay (his co-nominee is Eric Roth, who won an Oscar for adapting Forrest Gump).
Screenplay-Original: Crash. Stephen Gaghan, who is nominated for Syriana in this category, won five years ago for Traffic, and Woody Allen last won in this category for Annie Hall.
The Hugh Pickett memorial is today at, where else, the Orpheum. There's a website set up with photos and a place where folks can leave memories of the great impresario who brought show business to Vancouver, who died recently: hughpickett.com.
And the interview segment I host here at THECOMMENTARY.CA, Planta: On the Line, returns this week with Leah McLaren from the Globe and Mail talking about her new novel, and another author, Heather Pringle, on her remarkable book on Himmler's scientists and the Holocaust. Stay tuned for those.
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