Awards Season Thoughts

Oscar Predictions

The awards season finally comes to a close tomorrow night with the Oscars.

Whilst there are some certain winners like Helen Mirren and Martin Scorcese, there are also some categories that are much harder to predict. Not least the race for Best Picture, which is the most open in years.

Here are my predictions for the main categories:

This is the hardest one to call. I think The Queen is the only film that definitely won’t win, whilst Letters from Iwo Jima has only an outside shot. So it is a three way race between Babel, The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine. My gut feeling is that Little Miss Sunshine will sneak it. It is an enormously popular film within the industry and although The Departed is better crafted and Babel more worthy, I think Oscar voters have fallen for the charms of the little yellow bus.

Who will win: Little Miss Sunshine
Who should win: The Departed

In any other year you could make a strong case for Paul Greengrass (United 93), Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima), Stephen Frears (The Queen) or Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel). But this is no ordinary year. Because now is the time for Hollywood to finally atone for past sins and give Martin Scorcese the Oscar he richly deserves for The Departed.

Who will win: Martin Scorcese (The Departed)
Who should win: Martin Scorcese (The Departed)

Whilst it looked a while ago that Peter O’Toole (Venus) could be in line for the sentimental vote, Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) is too strong. His powerhouse portrayal of Idi Amin should deservedly win even though Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness), Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond) all offered strong performances.

Who will win: Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
Who should win: Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)

There is only one winner here – Helen Mirren (The Queen). Like Forest Whitaker she has cut a swathe through the awards season, picking up almost every award she has been nominated for. Despite a strong field featuring Penelope Cruz (Volver), Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal), Kate Winslet (Little Children) and the Oscar legend that is Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada), this is Dame Helen’s year.

Who will win: Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Who should win: Helen Mirren (The Queen)

A trickier category this one. Although Eddie Murphy has long been the frontrunner for his excellent work in Dreamgirls I have a feeling it is a more open race. Djimon Honsou (Blood Diamond) and Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) are also strong candidates but I fancy Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) will get it. My head says Murphy, my gut says Arkin.

Who will win: Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Who should win: Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)

Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) is the red hot favourite and I can’t see an upset. She certainly deserves it for her wonderful performance. If there is an upset then maybe it could be Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) but that isn’t going to happen.

Who will win: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Who should win: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)

And in the other categories:

Who will win: Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine)
Who should win: Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Who will win: William Monahan (The Departed)
Who should win: Todd Field & Tom Perrotta (Little Children)

Who will win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Who should win: Pan’s Labyrinth (although The Lives of Others is also outstanding)

Who will win: Cars
Who should win: Monster House

Who will win: An Inconvenient Truth

Who will win: Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione (Babel)
Who should win: Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson & Christopher Rouse (United 93)

Who will win: Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men)
Who should win: Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men)

Who will win: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Who should win: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Who will win: Sharen Davis (Dreamgirls)
Who should win: Sharen Davis (Dreamgirls)

Who will win: David Martí, Montse Ribé (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Who should win: David Martí, Montse Ribé (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Who will win: “Listen” – Dreamgirls
Who should win: “Love You I Do” – Dreamgirls

Who will win: Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel)
Who should win: Javier Navarrete (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Who will win: Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer, Willie D. Burton (Dreamgirls)
Who should win: Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer, Willie D. Burton (Dreamgirls)

Who will win: Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman (Letters From Iwo Jima)
Who should win: Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman (Letters From Iwo Jima)

Who will win: John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)
Who should win: John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)

N.B. I haven’t seen the other candidates for Best Documentary or any of the nominated films for Documentary Short, Short Animated Film or Short Film Live Action, so I’ll have to pass on predictions for them.

If you have any predictions or thoughts then feel free to post them below.

> Full list of nominees at Wikipedia
> A name pronunciation guide to the nominees

2 replies on “Oscar Predictions”

We’re in agreement on most of these, although I don’t “officially” predict the technical categories (what the hell do I know about Best Production Design?) I do think United 93 ought to get something, and I guess editing is its best opportunity. I liked Desplat’s score for The Painted Veil more than I did his work in The Queen.I also think Dick Pope should win Best Cinematography for The Illusionist (curious that no Best Picture nominee is up for that award…is that a first?), I liked the costumes in Curse of the Golden Flower and the makeup in Apocaylpto more than your prohibitive faves. Remember, in Apocalypto, there’s very specific makeup on every person in every scene of the film. I thought that was a terrific achievement of that film that’s tending to be overlooked.

When predicting things in the technical categories I\’m coming at it purely as a viewer. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the technical aspects of film but they are an important part of how a film affects us as viewers.

The art direction in Pan’s Labyrinth was one of the key elements that made that film so magical. Likewise, the editing in United 93 was a major element of how the tension was created. Plus, too often Oscar coverage is dominated by easy headlines about the main categories.

I agree with you about Alexandre Desplat’s score for The Painted Veil – it certainly deserved a nomination. Dick Pope’s work in The Illusionist is excellent but I think Emmanuel Lubezki’s work in Children of Men is some of the most remarkable I’ve seen in years. There is the famous long take near the end but the overall look of the film is also dazzling. In truth he should have won last year for his marvellous work on The New World.

With the Oscars in general, I don’t think it is like a sporting event in which the best competitors invariably win. It is more like an election with different campaigns, preliminary votes and the final ballot. This means that whilst the nominated films can often very good, the quality of winners does vary.

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