Okay, so let’s do this thing. I am supposed to be filling out my Gurus chart and my Buzzmeter chart, of course I haven’t done either. It’s hard out there for a pimp, what can I say. I’m working on it, fellas. Here we go.
Best Picture – mostly locked. Slim chance for a Reader or Button upset but the slimmest of ever-so-slim chances there. Slumdog has thing in the bag.
Best Director – locked.
Best Actor – still fairly open. Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke are competing, but any of the others could sneak in. Remember when Adrien Brody won when everyone thought it was either Daniel Day Lewis or Jack Nicholson. Two popular contenders can often mean that a third actually wins. Who would that third be? Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella and Brad Pitt are the other three.
Best Actress – a toss up between Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep. Streep earns her 15th nod and still only has one Best Actress Oscar. By contrast, Hilary Swank has two. So does Jodie Foster. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but still, the lady may be overdue for this win. On the other hand, this is the Year of the Kate, with her having NEVER won a single Oscar and having turned in two career-best performances. And there is Melissa Leo, a dark horse if there ever was one. Dark horses have been known to win, however. Anne Hathaway and Angelina Jolie probably are in the lucky-to-be-nominated category this time, where Winslet usually sits. But nobody knows anything.
Best Supporting Actor: Want to know how Heath can lose? If the Academy catches a case of the “shoulds.” No one likes being told who they should or must vote for. While everyone expects Ledger will walk away with this, I’ve gone down this same road too many times to think that this is anything but a slam dunk. Clearly, this is a voting that did not like The Dark Knight enough, in mass, to vote for it in Best Picture. That hurts for Ledger’s win. It is also a posthumous Oscar, which is a tough sell anyway as they all like to see their choices walk up on stage to be anointed by their generosity. In line to win if Ledger doesn’t is probably Robert Downey, Jr. And the poor guy if that happens.
Clearly “they” don’t care what other people think about “their” choices. As Kenneth Turan famously wrote after Brokeback lost to Crash, “In the privacy of the voting booth, as many political candidates who’ve led in polls only to lose elections have found out, people are free to act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices that they would never breathe to another soul, or, likely, acknowledge to themselves,‚Äù he wrote. ‚ÄúAnd at least this year, that acting out doomed Brokeback Mountain.‚Äù
It was one of the smartest things anyone has ever written about the way “they” make their choices. So don’t be surprised if some other name is called. At that point, I’m sure, many will wipe their hands of the Academy for good. That’s my guess. Cue the commenters calling me a fangirl and bitter and angry, etc.
Supporting Actress: I put Viola Davis in the lead because of what Jason wrote here:
Viola Davis will win the oscar for 2 reasons 1) assuming Winslet wins Best Actress, Doubt has 4 acting noms. and wouldn‚Äôt have any wins with the current leads at AD; it‚Äôd be silly to think they wouldn‚Äôt honor one of those, and it‚Äôd either be Davis or Adams but 2) Davis is black and as it sometimes goes, that does count for something.
Okay so someone also brought up the possibility of Adams and Davis canceling each other out. Adams’ isn’t that strong for the win, I don’t think, and is truly lucky to be nominated. What that shows is a love for the film overall, I think. Hurting Davis more is Taraji P. Henson, who could end up being one of Button’s wins. I know that 13 nominations can result in no wins but on top of art direction, costume design, visual effects, Button can win in supporting actress too. I’m not going to do the black thing because I think, believe it or not, the Academy has moved beyond that (I remember when they hadn’t, believe me).
Supporting actress is tough, no doubt. Marisa Tomei would be winning her second Oscar in supporting. It’s certainly possible if they really loved The Wrestler. It’s hard to beat Viola Davis, though, with that emotionally packed scene and the fact that she’s been doing serious press for the movie. I’m still not completely decided on this category and I think any of the five could win.
Original Screenplay: Another toss-up. These writers are all good. In the “they’re going to want to give the film something” category, Milk could win this in a walk. Courtney Hunt has the advantage of being female in an industry where so few female writers are recognized. And then there is Andrew Stanton, who wrote Wall-E. Although the Annies pricked the buzz bubble on the film for the moment, how many voters will feel enough love to vote for the great writing here? There is always Mike Leigh to content with, now that BAFAMPAS is the AMPAS.
Adapted Screenplay: Locked.
We’ll do part two, the techs and the rest, tomorrow.