Lost in prediction
Oscars will be handed out Feb. 29. The year’s biggest Academy blunders have to be bringing back the overrated Billy Crystal as host (God, I hate his stupid song numbers!) and not nominating School of Rock for Best Song. It would’ve been cool to see Jack Black and the kids in the movie perform live.
Here are this year’s predictions. For a decent drinking game, chug a six pack every time I get one wrong. You should be pretty blitzed by evening’s end. If you are underage, please make that a six pack of chocolate milk.
Best Actor: Bill Murray, Lost in Translation; Sean Penn, Mystic River; Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog; Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean; Jude Law, Cold Mountain.
The sentimental favorite would be Murray, getting his first Oscar nomination for what may be the best role he’ll ever be given. Penn has never won, and he is regarded as one of the best actors to ever walk the earth. If this were to go strictly on strength of performance, Murray would have to take the statue for his beautifully nuanced work. Penn actually delivered the year’s best male lead performance, but in a different movie, 21 Grams. I think Penn will get a lot of guilt votes for past snubs and finally get his Oscar. In a huge surprise, Johnny Depp took home the Screen Actor’s Guild Award, probably because Penn and Murray split the vote. It will be close, but I think Penn will win. Should win: Murray. Will win: Penn.
Best Actress: Charlize Theron, Monster; Naomi Watts, 21 Grams; Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give; Samantha Morton, In America; Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider.
No contest here. Theron will win, and she should win. Watts was incredible, and Keaton an absolute delight, but the Academy will not be able to ignore the transformation Theron undertook for the role of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Should and will win: Theron.
Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins, Mystic River; Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams; Djimon Hounsou, In America; Alec Baldwin; The Cooler; Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai.
The best performance in this category was given by Del Toro as a tortured man responsible for killing a father and his children in 21 Grams. Del Toro already has an Oscar, and more people saw Mystic River, so Robbins will probably take this one. An upset by Baldwin is a distinct possibility. Should win: Del Toro. Will win: Robbins.
Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain; Holly Hunter, Thirteen; Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April; Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog; Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River.
This is a lock. Zellweger will win for her scene-stealing in Cold Mountain, even though Hunter, Clarkson and Aghdashloo all delivered better performances. Prepare to see Renee lose her mind during “the speech.” Alison Lohman being ignored for Matchstick Men in this category is one of the year’s worst Oscar crimes. Last year’s Best Supporting Actor, Chris Cooper, is currently practicing how to say Shoreh Aghdashloo, just in case. Should win: Clarkson. Will win: Zellweger.
Best Director: Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation; Clint Eastwood, Mystic River; Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; Fernando Meirelles, City of God.
After delivering three of the best eye-popping epics in cinema history, this should be Jackson’s night. His only obstacle will be Oscar’s usual ignorance toward great fantasy films. Coppola has the potential to upset. Should and will win: Jackson.
Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Lost in Translation; Mystic River; Seabiscuit; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
Everybody thinks Rings is a lock, but let’s not forgot the year Saving Private Ryan was universally predicted to take the gold, only to be dethroned by Shakespeare in Love. I’m placing my safe and optimistic vote for the deserved Rings, but Lost in Translation could take this one. Should and will win: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Other predictions: Best Foreign Film, The Barbarian Invasions; Best Song, “Into the West,” Lord of the Rings; Screenplays, Lost in Translation (Original), City of God (Adapted); Best Documentary, Capturing the Friedmans; Best Animated Feature, Finding Nemo.