Oscar Picks

Now that I’ve finished my mad rush to catch up with most of the nominated films I missed over the past year, I am now prepared to make my Oscar picks. First, though, let me state my guiding philosophy when it comes to the Academy Awards-They’re fun. They are not a definitive indicator of cinematic greatness, and anybody who thinks they should be is destined for a life of frustration and disappointment. The awards may point you in the general direction of a certain type of film-middle brow American dramas. This is OK by me, because I like middle brow American dramas. In this country, at least, film has always been working class entertainment. I’m happy that all those French new wave directors were able to make a living, but please don’t make me watch the result. I’ve seen enough for a life time.

OK, on to the picks. In the screenplay races, we have two consensus winners. Everything I’ve read points to the Adapted Screenplay category as the place where Sideways will get its recognition. I’ll disclose here that I never saw The Motorcycle Diaries. It was never in at Blockbuster, and I went three times. (I bet Roger Ebert never has this problem) So I won’t make a pick there. Eternal Sunshine is the smart pick in the Original Screenplay category. Now the handicapper in me picks ES; it’s probably going to win. The geek in me desperately wants The Incredibles to take the prize. The critic doesn’t have any strong feelings about it. Let’s look at the other entries. Acting was the strength of Hotel Rwanda and of Vera Drake. The Aviator’s script didn’t really impress me. So the geek wins. I would vote for The Incredibles.

Speaking of which, the race for Best Animated Feature always seems to have a clear frontrunner and this year is no exception. The Incredibles will and should win. It is far deeper and better made than the two entries from Dreamworks.

By all accounts Supporting Actress is a two woman race between Blanchett and Madsen, although, over the years, more upsets have occured in this category than any other. I think modern Hollywood loves old school Hollywood and goodness knows they both love Katherine Hepburn. Cate Blanchett take the statue home and I’m not going to disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance.

The supporting Actor race seems to be sewn up. Everyone says that Morgan Freeman will get some long overdue recognition and he probably will. But this year, I would give itto Jamie Foxx, whose performance in Collateral was so low key and intense.

Best Actress is a rematch between Annette Benning and Hilary Swank with maybe Imelda Staunton coming up on the outside. Most people are picking Swank, but I think that Benning getting revenge for her upset loss in 1999 is too good a story for Hollywood voters to pass up. Swank gave the better performance, though.

Jamie Foxx will win Best Actor. He deserves it; he’ll get it. Bet the ranch, the kids’ college fund, and the minivan. There is no doubt. His name’s been etched on the award for months.

I think they will once again split the Directing and Best Picture awards, with Marty finally getting the directing statue and Clint taking home the big paperweight for Best Picture. I think that I would be inclined to give both statues to Clint, however. Million Dollar Baby is a monumental acheivement.

So, there you have it. On Sunday night, make some popcorn and brew up some strong coffee; it’ll be a long night. But most of all, have fun.

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