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You Are Their "Sunshine": 2007 Oscar Predictions PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 21 February 2007 02:36

The following are the nominations for the 2007 Academy Awards, scheduled to air on ABC affiliate WQAD-TV at 7 p.m. on Sunday, February 25. If all goes the way I think it will (ha ha!), the winner of the most Oscars - a whopping three - will, for the first time ever, be a foreign-language film, and the Best Picture winner will have received the same amount of Oscars as the Best Documentary Feature winner. (That this is even a possibility marks this as a zany-ass year.)

And if you're planning to use my predictions to win your office Oscar pool, know that last year I only guessed correctly in 15 of the 24 categories, so I don't wanna hear any bitching if my prognosticating leads to your embarrassment. This means you, Mom.

Boldface denotes my predictions.

 

BEST PICTURE

Babel

The Departed

Letters from Iwo Jima

Little Miss Sunshine

The Queen

 

Because, for the love of God, nothing seems to be stopping it. And if I do predict Little Miss Sunshine, then maybe The Departed actually has a chance. (I've guessed wrong in this category three out of the past five years. Here's hoping it's four out of six.)

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima

Stephen Frears, The Queen

Paul Greengrass, United 93

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel

Martin Scorsese, The Departed

 

And after typing that, I threw salt over my shoulder, knocked wood, and spun around three times. You know. Just in case.

 

BEST ACTOR

Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond

Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson

Peter O'Toole, Venus

Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

 

After seven losses, only a performance as universally revered as Whitaker's could prevent an O'Toole victory. And will.

 

BEST ACTRESS

Penélope Cruz, Volver

Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal

Helen Mirren, The Queen

Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

Kate Winslet, Little Children

 

Perhaps the biggest Done Deal in Academy Awards history. You are allowed to bet your kids' college funds. You are allowed to bet your kids.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine

Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children

Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond

Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

 

If there's gonna be a surprise in the acting categories, it's gonna be here, and it's gonna be Arkin. But with great uncertainty, I'm sticking with Murphy: He's won all the important, pre-Oscar trophies (the Golden Globe, the SAG Award, the Broadcast Film Critics' award), he's made billions for Hollywood over the years, and -seriously - if not now, when?

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Adriana Barraza, Babel

Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal

Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine

Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

 

Clay Aiken's agent is ecstatic.

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Children of Men

The Departed

Little Children

Notes on a Scandal

 

For burgeoning screenwriters, Children of Men could be a master class on structure and dramatic economy, not to mention the exquisite use of silence. But for exquisite banter, nothing this year tops The Departed. (And, for the record, its structure and dramatic economy are nothing to sniff at.) A Scorsese film, by the way, has never won in this category, either. Can the madness please end this year?

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Babel

Letters from Iwo Jima

Little Miss Sunshine

Pan's Labyrinth

The Queen

 

For my money, the screenplay is the weakest thing about it, but Little Miss Sunshine has to win something besides Best Picture. Uh ... right?

 

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

After the Wedding, Denmark

Days of Glory, Algeria

The Lives of Others, Germany

Pan's Labyrinth, Mexico

Water, Canada

 

The Lives of Others is developing enormous buzz, but it's hard to imagine any film triumphing over Guillermo del Toro's breathtaking faun-tasy.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Deliver Us from Evil, directed by Amy Berg & Frank Donner

An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim

Iraq in Fragments, directed by James Longley & John Sinno

Jesus Camp, directed by Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady

My Country, My Country, directed by Laura Poitras & Jocelyn Glatzer

 

And voters will instantly feel less guilty about driving home in their SUVs.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Cars, directed by John Lasseter

Happy Feet, directed by George Miller

Monster House, directed by Gil Kenan

 

An Inconvenient Truth for the tap-dancing-penguin set.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Black Dahlia

Children of Men

The Illusionist

Pan's Labyrinth

The Prestige

 

You may notice no Best Picture nominees in this lineup. Wanna know the last time that happened? When the very first Oscar nominations were announced, back in 1929. (I told you it was a weird year.) Pan's Labyrinth could easily dominate its tech categories, but for that astonishing, climactic battle scene alone, I'm pulling for a Children of Men win.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Babel, Gustavo Santaolalla

The Good German, Thomas Newman

Notes on a Scandal, Philip Glass

Pan's Labyrinth, Javier Navarette

The Queen, Alexandre Desplat

 

What?! No John Williams?! Heresy! (And, I must say, relief.) If Santaolalla hadn't just won last year, I'd go with his memorable Babel strumming. Instead, I'm predicting that Desplat will be rewarded for his 2006 two-fer, as he also composed the music - and won the Golden Globe - for The Painted Veil.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

"I Need to Wake Up," An Inconvenient Truth; music and lyrics by Melissa Etheridge

"Listen," Dreamgirls; music by Henry Krieger & Scott Cutler; lyrics by Anne Preven

"Love You I Do," Dreamgirls; music by Henry Krieger; lyrics by Siedah Garrett

"Our Town," Cars; music and lyrics by Randy Newman

"Patience," Dreamgirls; music by Henry Krieger; lyrics by Willie Reale

 

Because this category has become increasingly impossible to predict - Eminem? Three 6 Mafia? - and because Oscar host Ellen Degeneres just might have a funny response to Etheridge's victory. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

 

BEST FILM EDITING

Babel

Blood Diamond

Children of Men

The Departed

United 93

 

United 93 or Children of Men deserves the win here, but if Babel is about anything - and I'm not entirely convinced that it is - it's editing.

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Poseidon

Superman Returns

 

Poor Bill Nighy. He finally winds up in a blockbuster and you can't freakin' see him.

BEST SOUND EDITING

Apocalypto

Blood Diamond

Flags of Our Fathers

Letters from Iwo Jima

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

 

BEST SOUND MIXING

Apocalypto

Blood Diamond

Dreamgirls

Flags of Our Fathers

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

 

To be honest, I don't really understand the difference between these categories, but I'm assuming that a majority of voters don't, either. Consider this the best way for the Academy to recognize both of Clint's achievements. (Sound Editing is also Letters' best shot at an Oscar.) Message to Kevin O'Connell, nominated for Apocalypto's Sound Mixing: The 20th time has to be the charm, right?

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Curse of the Golden Flower

The Devil Wears Prada

Dreamgirls

Marie Antoinette

The Queen

 

Question for discussion: Did you, or did you not, find the film's exquisite period design thrown out of whack with the appearance of the Chuck Taylors? Converse.

 

BEST ART DIRECTION

Dreamgirls

The Good Shepherd

Pan's Labyrinth

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

The Prestige

 

As with Best Cinematography, there are no Best Picture nominees in this category, either, which hasn't happened since 1945, when the category was still called Best Interior Decoration. (I have friends who would kill for that honor.) And this year, no interiors were more imaginatively decorated than Eugene Caballero's and Pilar Revuelta's.

BEST MAKEUP

Apocalypto

Click

Pan's Labyrinth

 

The eyes have it.

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

The Blood of Yingzhou District

Recycled Life

Rehearsing a Dream

Two Hands

 

The Blood of Yingzhou District (about the plight of a Chinese orphan with AIDS) and Recycled Life (about Guatemalans who make their living by rummaging through trash) sound unbearably depressing - I'd probably love them - and Rehearsing a Dream, which concerns high-schoolers in the performing arts, doesn't sound depressing enough. I'm opting for Two Hands, the inspiring tale of pianist Leon Fleisher, who triumphed over a mysterious ailment that caused him to lose the use of his right hand. Daniel Day-Lewis and Geoffrey Rush are probably battling one another for the feature-film rights.

 

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Binta & the Great Idea

One Too Many

Helmer & Son

The Saviour

West Bank Story

 

According to (http://www.oscar.com), West Bank Story is "a musical-comedy set in the fast-paced, fast-food world of competing falafel stands." Like Dreamgirls, but, you know ... breaded.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

The Danish Poet

Lifted

The Little Matchgirl

Maestro

No Time for Nuts

 

With no go-with-the-funniest-title choice this year (unless you're the sort who reflexively giggles at the word "nuts" ... hee hee ... ), instead go with the funniest storyline: Lifted concerns an alien abductor who has enormous difficulty navigating a sleeping farmer onto his spaceship. Oscar mumber eight for Gary Rydstrom! And Kevin O'Connell is pissed.


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