Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain

The following are the nominees for the 2006 Academy Awards telecast, scheduled to air on ABC affiliate WQAD-TV at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 5. (Note: Boldface denotes Mike's projected winner in each category.)


Best Picture


Brokeback Mountain



Good Night, & Good Luck.



Crash wouldn't surprise me; no film's selection would bother me. Yet the anticipated Brokeback-lash never happened, and the film is the biggest box-office hit among the nominees here, which never hurts a film's Best Picture odds. It also happens to deserve the prize. That doesn't hurt, either.



Best Director


George Clooney, Good Night, & Good Luck.

Paul Haggis, Crash

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Bennett Miller, Capote

Steven Spielberg, Munich


A lock. Bet the mortgage. Bet the children.



Best Actress


Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents

Felicity Huffman, Transamerica

Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice

Charlize Theron, North Country

Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line


Bet the neighbors' children.



Best Actor


Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow

Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line

David Strathairn, Good Night, & Good Luck.


Ledger could sneak a win, and it would be a deserved one, but Truman Capote is the role of Hoffman's life, and everyone seems to know it.



Best Supporting Actress


Amy Adams, Junebug

Catherine Keener, Capote

Frances McDormand, North Country

Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener

Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain


And at your Oscar party, you are allowed to slug anyone who starts singing the victor's name to the tune of "Edelweis."



Best Supporting Actor


George Clooney, Syriana

Matt Dillon, Crash

Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man

Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain

William Hurt, A History of Violence


Because it's a serious field of Oscar contenders, and we're gonna need a funny speech. Of course, Giamatti's would be pretty amusing, too... .



Best Original Screenplay


Crash, Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco

Good Night, & Good Luck., George Clooney & Grant Heslov

Match Point, Woody Allen

The Squid & the Whale, Noah Baumbach

Syriana, Steven Gaghan


Ah, the screenplay categories, where the year's second-best pictures - and often more deserving ones - finally get some love. (Think Sideways, Lost in Translation, Traffic, L.A. Confidential, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, The Piano... need I continue?) So it's Crash vs. Good Luck for this prize, and Haggis (who wrote last year's Million Dollar Baby yet did not receive a Best Screenplay Oscar) and Moresco look pretty unstoppable.



Best Screenplay Adaptation


Brokeback Mountain, Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana

Capote, Dan Futterman

The Constant Gardener, Jeffrey Caine

A History of Violence, Josh Olson

Munich, Tony Kushner & Eric Roth


If McMurtry and Ossana don't win this, all bets are off for the rest of the night.



Best Foreign Language Film


Don't Tell, Italy

Joyeux Noel, France

Paradise Now, Palestine

Sophie Scholl - The Final Days, Germany

Tsotsi, South Africa


I haven't seen any of them, so what the hell do I know? Only that the Paradise Now reviews are great. And the film won this category at the Golden Globes. And the subject matter is timely. And Palestine has never had a film nominated in this category before, which seems like a slight. Well, look at that. I guess I do know some stuff... .



Best Animated Feature


Howl's Moving Castle

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit


Say, "Cheeeeeeeeese!"



Best Cinematography


Batman Begins, Wally Pfister

Brokeback Mountain, Rodrigo Prieto

Good Night, & Good Luck., Robert Elswit

Memoirs of a Geisha, Dion Beebe

The New World, Emmanuel Lubezki


I feel really unsure about this one, but we don't have a Braveheart-y, Titanic-y epic in the race this time, and those Wyoming landscapes are gorgeous; if you can't vote with Scale in this category, always vote with Pretty.



Best Original Score


Brokeback Mountain, Gustavo Santaolalla

The Constant Gardener, Alberto Iglesias

Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams

Munich, John Williams

Pride & Prejudice, Dario Marianelli


Again, I'm probably going with my heart over my head on this one; the safe money is on Iglesias for Gardener or Williams for Memoirs. But in an unusually subtle race this year - and that's with two John Williams entries! - I'll again back Brokeback, as Santaolalla's plaintive guitar chords linger in the memory nearly as much as Lee's images do.



Best Original Song


Crash, "In the Deep," by Kathleen "Bird" York & Michael Becker

Hustle & Flow, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, and Paul Beauregard

Transamerica, "Travelin' Thru," by Dolly Parton


I bet Dolly's speech would be almost as entertaining as Clooney's inevitably will be, but "In the Deep" had true contextual impact, and I'm guessing voters - leaning toward Brokeback in the Picture and Director categories - will also want to load Crash up with as many other Oscars as they can.



Best Film Editing


Cinderella Man

The Constant Gardener



Walk the Line


Case in point.



Best Documentary Feature


Darwin's Nightmare

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

March of the Penguins


Street Fight


And you thought Reese would be the night's cutest winner.



Best Art Direction


Good Night, & Good Luck.

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

King Kong

Memoirs of a Geisha

Pride & Prejudice


I hate Memoirs of a Geisha. Freakin' hate it. It's destined to win something.



Best Costume Design


Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

Memoirs of a Geisha

Mrs. Henderson Presents

Pride & Prejudice

Walk the Line


I'm afraid it's gonna win this one, too. Sari.



Best Make-Up


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

Cinderella Man

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith


Did you know this was the first of the six Star Wars films where the visual effects weren't cited? I'm predicting a consolation win in this category instead, but still... ouch. The movie wasn't that bad... .



Best Visual Effects


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

King Kong

War of the Worlds


... and considering they found room for the shaky Narnia effects... . Of the three choices here, I'm actually rooting for the War of the Worlds guys, but until human actors start performing with the wit and realism of Peter Jackson's CGI creations, his movies will always reign in this category.



Best Sound Mixing


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

King Kong

Memoirs of a Geisha

Walk the Line

War of the Worlds


The other nominees are certainly louder, but Chicago won this, and Ray won this, so I'm guessing that musicals have an edge here.



Best Sound Editing


King Kong

Memoirs of a Geisha

War of the Worlds


Flip a coin. I mean, flip a weird, three-sided coin. Mine came up War of the Worlds.



Best Documentary Short Subject


The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club

God Sleeps in Rwanda

The Mushroom Club

A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin


Cue the really depressing Oscar speech.



Best Live Action Short Film


Ausreisser (The Runaway)


The Last Farm

Our Time Is Up

Six Shooter


To the eventual winner in this category: Congratulations, but after I hear your name announced, I won't be listening to your speech. I will be refreshing my drink. Nothing personal.



Best Animated Short Film



The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello


One Man Band


"Mike, are you still at the bar... ?"

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