Sunday, February 25, 2007

J. Doan picks the Oscars

I'm going to try and make this post as confusing as possible. The nominees that I would vote for are italicized, the nominee I predict is actually going to win are bolded. Movies I have seen are marked with an asterisk (*). I can't pick a nominee unless I have seen the movie. I left out the Documentary and Animated categories as I haven't seen any of them, nor have anyone but the handful of people who will vote in those categories.

I'll update this post after the Oscars are over with my thoughts. Those additions will be in red.

Best Motion Picture of the Year:
  • Babel*
  • The Departed*
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Little Miss Sunshine*
  • The Queen*
The most most wide open Best Picture race in recent memory. I wouldn't be shocked to see any movie except The Queen win (It's not a strong enough story, as well made as it is). Of the 4 movies that I actually saw I enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine the most, though if I were able to vote I would vote for The Departed which was a much better made film. That said, the academy has a tendency to vote for the movie with the most convoluted plot and that would have to be Babel, which manages to tie together the lives of a Mexican housekeeper, Moroccan goat farmer and a deaf mute Japanese girl.

Not upset about this choice at all. Excellent film from the greatest filmmaker of his generation with an amazing cast.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio* (Blood Diamond)
  • Ryan Gosling* (Half Nelson)
  • Forest Whitaker* (The Last King of Scotland)
  • Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness)
  • Peter O'Toole (Venus)

The only way that Forest Whitaker is walking away without this award is if enough of the old guard try and make up for not giving Peter O'Toole the award in 1969 for The Lion in Winter. I don't see that happening, as they already did that by giving him an honorary award in 2003.

Another obvious choice, but still it was a very powerful perfomance and deserving of recognition.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

  • Meryl Streep* (The Devil Wears Prada)
  • Kate Winslet* (Little Children)
  • Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal)
  • Helen Mirren* (The Queen)
  • Penelope Cruz (Volver)

I really wanted to see Notes on a Scandal, but time just ran out (well, more accurately, my local theater only showed it for a week), but I doubt seeing it would have swayed my decision making. Meryl Streep does put on an amazing performance as the boss from hell, and Kate Winslet does make you feel for her as the suburban housewife caught in a relationship she no longer wants, but Helen Mirren IS Queen Elizabeth II.

Well that's not exactly a shocker.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Djimon Hounsou* (Blood Diamond)
  • Mark Wahlberg* (The Departed)
  • Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)
  • Jackie Earle Haley* (Little Children)
  • Alan Arkin* (Little Miss Sunshine)

I couldn't give a shit if I ever see Dreamgirls, but everyone and their dog keeps raving about Eddie Murphy's performance, which is in no small part I'm sure to everyone not expecting much from him in a dramatic role. For my money though Jackie Earle Haley as the recently paroled sex offender in Little Children is just so creepy I'd likely cross the street to avoid him in real life. I also wouldn't be sad to see Alan Arkin win for his take on a heroin addicted grandfather/beauty contest coach in Little Miss Sunshine.

A great performance by a great actor. Thank you Academy for not going along with the Eddie Murphy hype machine. Could this be the start of a landslide of awards for Little Miss Sunshine?

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Adriana Barazza* (Babel)
  • Rinko Kikuchi* (Babel)
  • Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
  • Abigail Breslin *(Little Miss Sunshine)
  • Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal)

Now here's the category where I wish I would have seen Notes on a Scandal. I know Jennifer Hudson is getting nothing but good buzz, but she isn't going to win this one for 2 reasons. First up is American Idol, there is no way someone is going form being on American Idol to winning an acting Oscar in 2 years, no way. The second one is the more sinister race issue. The academy has been, shall we say, less white bread as of late, but 3 of the 4 acting awards aren't going to go to African-american actors. That's just the reality of the situation. They may however still show some diversity by giving the award to Rinko Kikuchi who absolutely smolders in Babel. Don't be shocked though if the award goes with my favourite performance, 10 year old Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine.

Well that confirms that I don't know shit.

Best Achievement in Directing

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu* (Babel)
  • Martin Scorsese* (The Departed)
  • Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima)
  • Stephen Frears* (The Queen)
  • Paul Greengrass* (United 93)

The 6th time is the charm for the MPAA's answer to Susan Lucci, Martin Scorsese. This one is a lock.


Best Writing, Original Screenplay

  • Babel*
  • El Laberinto del Fauno*
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Little Miss Sunshine*
  • The Queen*

Remember what I said earlier about the Academy loving convoluted stories? Well it holds true here. I'd vote for Pan's Labyrinth, but the Academy will appreciate that only half of Babel is subtitled.

Hmmmm...I'm feeling like I should go change my Best Picture prediction.

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America...*
  • Children of Men*
  • The Departed*
  • Little Children*
  • Notes on a Scandal

Borat needs some recognition and this is the only category it can get any in, I'll be surprised if this category goes any other way.

Bah, that's a load of crap. Take one Asian movie, translate it to English and voila, Award statue.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

  • The Black Dahlia
  • Children of Men*
  • The Illusionist
  • El Laberinto del Fauno*
  • The Prestige

Another category where I wish I had seen more nominees, but it likely doesn't matter. Pan's Labyrinth is a breathtakingly beautiful movie to look at and will do well in the technical awards.

Another obvious lock wins an award.

Best Achievement in Art Direction

  • Dreamgirls
  • The Good Shepherd
  • El Laberinto del Fauno*
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest*
  • The Prestige

Another category where I wish I had seen more nominees, but it likely doesn't matter. Pan's Labyrinth is a breathtakingly beautiful movie to look at and will do well in the technical awards. Wait, did I already say that?

Not at all a shocking outcome to start the night.

Best Achievement in Costume Design

  • The Devil Wears Prada*
  • Dreamgirls
  • Curse of the Golden Flower
  • Marie Antoinette
  • The Queen*

I expect that this award will go to the movie that was the most work for the costume designer, Curse of the Golden Flower, but I didn't see it. For my pick I'll go with multiple Emmy award winner Patricia Field's work in The Devil Wears Prada.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest*
  • Apocalypto
  • Blood Diamond*
  • Dreamgirls
  • Flags of Our Fathers
I never know how the sound awards are going to go so I'll just pick the movie that had the biggest budget and marketing campaign and assum the Academy will as well.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

  • Apocalypto
  • Blood Diamond*
  • Flags of Our Fathers
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest*

Of course I could be wrong and they may go for the explosion filled war movie that I didn't see instead.

Best Achievement in Editing

  • Babel*
  • Blood Diamond*
  • Children of Men*
  • The Departed*
  • United 93*

When teaching film production this is the movie instructors will use in the future. The last fifteen minutes are as intense as any movie you've ever seen and that is in no small part thanks to the amazing work of the editors who make the inside of that plane seem as claustrophobic and hectic as possible. Hey, I managed to see all the nominees in at least 1 category, yay me.

Did they start letting non-editors vote in this category? Horrible choice.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest*
  • Poseiden
  • Superman Returns*

Another lock, Superman was good Pirates was great.

Just like the make-up category there was only one real choice here and the majority of voters picked it.

Best Achievement in Makeup

  • Apocalypto
  • Click
  • El Laberinto del Fauno*

If this one goes any other way someone needs to launch an investigation pronto.

It really was a one horse race.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

  • Our Town (Cars)
  • Listen (Dreamgirls)
  • Love You I Do (Dreamgirls)
  • Patience (Dreamgirls)
  • I Need To Wake Up (An Inconvenient Truth)

Hmmmm, I don't get to vote here. I predict all the Dreamgirls songs will cancel each other out and Randy Newman will walk away with his 2nd Oscar (out of what is it now? 100 nominations?)

Hmmm..picked the wrong non-Dreamgirls song.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

  • Babel*
  • The Good German
  • El Laberinto del Fauno*
  • Notes on a Scandal
  • The Queen*

Honestly, unless it's an amazingly powerful score like Star Wars, I just don't notice it. Pan's Labyrinth continues to steam roll through the lesser awards.

Like I said, didn't even notice the score in any of the movies i saw...

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

  • Efter brylluppet - Denmark
  • Indigenes - Algeria
  • El Laberinto del Fauno* - Mexico
  • Das Leben der Anderen - Germany
  • Water - Canada

You know how I said that Martin Scorsese would be a lock? Well he's a long shot compared to this "race".

Wow, I'm stunned. I hope this doesn't bode poorly for my other locks....

And there you have it folks. Check back after the awards to see how I did.

J. Doan's favourites: 8/18

Correctly guessing what the Academy would vote for: 7/19

Good thing I wasn't wagering money on these.


Gwenhwyfar said...

If this one goes any other way someone needs to launch an investigation pronto.

If this one goes any other way, I'll be launching more than that.

Every year I watch the Oscars and when it comes to the "big" awards, the best they get from me is mild interest. Unless there's someone who I've felt for a while that deserves recognition up for an Oscar (Philip Seymour Hoffman is a good example), I don't even commit who won to memory.
However the technical awards have my complete attention. I love that the nominees get the recognition they deserve. I love that they get that moment of glory. I love them for lots of reasons.
Who won best actress last year? Not a clue.
Who won best make-up last year? Howard Berger, Chronicals of Narnia.

Holly Laird said...

I'm actually following along with your updates as I'm watching the awards...weird...

Jason Doan said...

I'm at work and updating by following along with Cinematical's live bloggers.

Holly Laird said...


Jason Doan said...

Thanks, just glad that at least 1 person was reading along.