Movie Rantings and Ravings

Friday, November 24, 2006

November Oscar Predictions

Time for another set of predictions!

So very much can change in a month. The highlights:

-- Dreamgirls is definitely in. I held out as long as possible on this one, but when you get the Oprah show, and the other massive amounts of praise from people who have been to screenings, well it is too hard to ignore. What is pretty unbelievable actually is that in at least 3 locations (NYC, LA, SF) they are playing the movie on a limited basis for 1-2 shows per day for $25. That's a 250% markup to get a worthless program and have a seizure, if the movie is anything like the trailer. I think I will be skipping the engagement at the Metreon... because, well, I am certain that I will hate it. I'll have to see it eventually though, because I think it will win, and I'll need to have seen it to have the proper rancor against it when it beats out something I like more. Especially if it also wins director, which I don't think it will, but you never know, I might have my first dose of indignant "Marty lost!" hate (I didn't think either of his previous two nominations deserved wins on any level, and I was too young or didn't care prior to that).

-- Little Children is out of Best Picture and I think Babel probably is as well. Little Children because it is suffering from the single most miserable release strategy of the year by any studio. If nobody actually sees it, it will be seen as a failure. Is it playing near you? Was it ever playing near you? Yeah, I didn't think so. Which is really too bad, because it had a great critical response, and I personally really liked it. Babel is simply too divisive critically for the amount of money it made. It is a little weirder to give my opinion on this one, because well, there's really four movies in one, and one of them is great, two of them are alright, and one of them is fairly bad. I still think other categories are possible (in some cases probable) but not Picture.

-- Letters From Iwo Jima is being released this year, probably because it's intended release around Oscar time to support Flags of Our Fathers is fairly pointless since Flags was a bomb of fairly epic proportions. It isn't even going to make half its budget back. Not to mention that it was a terrible movie. Although word on Letters is good, *and* its Clint Eastwood, *and* it is in Japanese! If the mainstream critics liked Flags, they will like anything he does. This time the film has an excuse to fail commercially (it isn't in English), not to mention the fact that it is being released late enough so that the general success of the movie will be up in the air still come nomination time anyway. This is why Oscarbait used to get primarily released in December, but the general proliferation of precursor awards is forcing everyone to push stuff back earlier if they actually want to win.

-- What I'm hearing on The Good German so far is just too mixed. I think some people are going to like it and some people are going to hate it. I'm taking it out of Picture for good and leaving it out of everything else until I can gauge it better. I think I will probably like it, but who knows.

-- I'm putting Little Miss Sunshine in as the crowd-pleasing more accessible choice, because I don't have any idea for something more likely.

-- Some things I'm just waiting on a reaction because it is way too hard to read. Major players here are The Good Sheppard, Breaking and Entering, and The Painted Veil. We'll see... could be some acting nominations out of those.

THE PREDICTIONS

I've indicated my guess for winner in bold, and included possible alternates with explanation.

Picture
The Departed
Dreamgirls
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

alt: United 93, if it has massive end-of-year critic awards.

Director
Martin Scorsese – The Departed
Bill Condon - Dreamgirls
Clint Eastwood - Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears - The Queen
Pedro Almodovar - Volver

alt: Robert Altman - A Prairie Home Companion, or Paul Greengrass - United 93. The former because sadly, he passed away recently (and you never know what kind of sympathy that might generate), the latter because of the same reason I listed in Picture.

Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed
Peter O’Toole – Venus
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Ken Watanabe - Letters From Iwo Jima
Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland

alt: Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson. Is the movie too small? Will anyone notice? Hopefully. And interesting note here, it will be pretty funny if everyone gets the chance to say "IT IS LAWRENCE OF ARABIA VS. THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR IN THE BEST ACTOR SHOWDOWN!". I can't see them resisting Peter O'Toole if the movie is good enough, but then again Will Smith had the Oprah show.

Actress
Penelope Cruz – Volver
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren – The Queen
Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet – Little Children

alt: Naomi Watts - The Painted Veil. Will anyone care about her movie? I probably will -- she has won my personal best actress award 3 times in the past five years.

Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson – The Departed
Brad Pitt – Babel
Michael Sheen - The Queen

alt: Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children. Will people see this movie as anything but a reason to nominate Kate Winslet (if they even do that). They should, but given the spectacular failure of the studio on this I am not sure.

Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi – Babel
Carmen Maura - Volver

alt: Adriana Barraza -- Babel. She could replace her costar.

Original Screenplay
Babel
The Queen
Little Miss Sunshine
The Pursuit of Happyness
Volver

alt: United 93, if it hits with the critics awards.

Adapted Screenplay
The Departed
Dreamgirls
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

alt: A Prairie Home Companion, possible in with Altman?

There's still a little over a month left of releasing, so you never know what might change here. But things look to be solidifying finally... it is not the December Oscars anymore.

Incidentally, I've updated the right sidebar with my *personal* preferences. Two new BP entries this month!

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