First of all, let me give you my annual reiteration of my Oscar philosophy. The awards were created for one purpose: to sell movie tickets. Today they do that only marginally well. Over time they’ve become sort of a badge of honor for Hollywood, evidence though not proof, that somebody still cares about art out there. Still they are the most prestigious and sought after awards in the entertainment industry. The Academy hasn’t diluted the Oscars with trivial and meaningless awards like the Grammys or the Emmys have. An Oscar means something, even if that meaning is not exactly what the Academy says it is.
When watching Sunday’s broadcast you must keep in mind that this is a celebration of middle class values. Incomprehensible art films need not apply and neither do low brow comedies or action movies. The Oscars are strictly middle brow. If you don’t like this, don’t watch. I guarantee you that the best film of 2006, if such a thing could even be determined, is not going to win Best Picture.
The only response to this situation is to have fun. Read all the predictions, make your own, and enjoy the evening. That’s what I intend to do. Now to my picks:
I hate to start out this way but I had no interest in seeing Borat and followed through on that, so no pick here. This is the only time I’ll do that to you this year.
This one’s tough. My guess is they’ll give it to Letters from Iwo Jima because Clint probably won’t be picking up any other hardware this year. I’m probably wrong though.
Cars-bank on it. Pixar always wins.
It’s Marty’s year. He came out with a worthy film in The Departed and he been criminally overlooked his entire career. Eastwood is always possibility but Scorcese is the favorite. I’d give it to Paul Greengrass for United 93, though.
All the acting categories have clear favorites this year. Here it’s Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls and I won’t argue. Cate Blanchett has a chance but it’s small.
Eddie Murphy is the frontrunner here but he may have hurt his chances by making the mean and misogynistic Norbit. If he falls, it will clear the way for Jackie Earle Haley who gave the stand out performance in a mediocre film. The smart money’s still on Murphy though.
This is a strong category for once after years of Hollywood struggling to come up with five good leading female roles. That being said, Helen Mirren is all but a lock. Judi Dench could sneak in but I doubt it.
Forest Whitaker is the frontrunner, but don’t be surprised if sentimental favorite Peter O’Toole makes the speech, since everybody knows this will probably be his last chance. This is a very weak category. The other nominees are really just there to get five names. It’s like the Leading Actress category in regular years.
It’s a very odd year when the acting categories are pretty well nailed down and the Best Picture is a toss up. Any of these films could win. I’ll pick The Departed because it’s the year of Marty. But that is very much a guess.