Odd that we've made it to September without me making Oscar predictions. I actually didn't think I'd do any this year until it really got to crunch time. Then Forest Whitaker started to get all this "sure thing" Oscar buzz for The Last King of Scotland, and I had been saying he was gonna get nominated since April, except I never posted it anywhere. But I totally did! Ask Nathaniel! Anyway, here's how I think the race will shake out as of right now.It won't end up like this, of course, but let's see how close I can get.
01 – Dreamgirls (Dreamworks/Paramount)
02 – Flags of Our Fathers (Dreamworks/Paramount)
03 – Little Children (New Line)
04 – Stranger Than Fiction (Columbia)
05 – Bobby (The Weinstein Co.)
06- Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight); 07- World Trade Center (Paramount); 08- Babel (Paramount Vantage); 09- The Last King of Scotland (Fox Searchlight); 10- The Good German (Warner Bros.); 11- The History Boys (Fox Searchlight); 12- The Departed (Warner Bros.); 13- The Pursuit of Happyness (Columbia); 14- The Good Shepherd (Universal); 15- United 93 (Universal); 16 - The Queen (Miramax); 17 - Catch A Fire (Focus Features); 18 - The Fountain (Warner Bros.); 19 - Volver (Sony Pictures Classics); 20 - Running With Scissors (Columbia).
** This category is shaping up more and more each week, though Dreamgirls looks like the only "lock." I worry that I may be tranferring my own personal love for Little Miss Sunshine to the academy, but doesn't this seem like the perfect lovable/inoffensive/success story to grab a fifth slot? The only reason I don't have it picked is that Stranger Than Fiction seems to be crowding that slot. Also, I suspect Babel and Little Children (and maybe Bobby; and maybe The Good German) will duke it out for critical champion.
01 – Bill Condon (Dreamgirls)
02 – Clint Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers)
03 – Oliver Stone (World Trade Center)
04 - Alejandro Gonzalez Iñaritu (Babel)
05 – Todd Field (Little Children)
06- Steven Soderbergh (The Good German); 07- Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction); 08- Emilio Estevez (Bobby); 09- Nicolas Hytner (The History Boys); 10- Paul Greengrass (United 93); 11- Jonathan Dayton/Valerie Ferris (Little Miss Sunshine); 12- Martin Scorsese (The Departed); 13- Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland); 14- Stephen Frears (The Queen); 15- Pedro Almodovar (Volver).
** I can't peg Emilio Estevez as an Oscar nominee. I just can't. Iñaritu seems a much better bet, even if his film gets the snub.
Acting categories await if you follow the link below . . .
01 – Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
02 – Brad Pitt (Babel)
03 – Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness)
04 – Patrick Wilson (Little Children)
05 – Peter O'Toole (Venus)
06- Matt Damon (The Good Shepherd); 07- Derek Luke (Catch A Fire); 08- Ryan Gosling (Half-Nelson); 09- Will Ferrell (Stranger Than Fiction); 10- Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls); 11- Sean Penn (All the King's Men); 12- Jude Law (Breaking and Entering); 13- George Clooney (The Good German).
** O'Toole's the sentimental wild card (he's never won). Though Will Smith's role seems more sentimental than a truckload of kittens and grandmothers. Could be a battle.
01 – Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
02 – Helen Mirren (The Queen)
03 – Kate Winslet (Little Children)
04 – Annette Bening (Running With Scissors)
05 – Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherrybaby)
06- Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal); 07- Penelope Cruz (Volver); 08- Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal / The Good German); 09- Beyoncé (Dreamgirls); 10- Nicole Kidman (Fur); 11- Julie Walters (Driving Lessons); 12- Ashley Judd (Bug).
** Those top four will be damn hard to unseat. Gyllenhaal's a wild card, with an unlikeable role but is having one of those "three worthy performances, give her a nod for something" years. Cruz continues to get crazy praise. And Notes on a Scandal continues to be a great unknown entity.
Best Supporting Actor
01 – Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland)
02 – Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)
03 – Jack Nicholson (The Departed)
04 – James MacAvoy (The Last King of Scotland)
05 – Robert Downey Jr. (Fur)
06- Brian Cox (Running With Scissors); 07- Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine); 08- Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children); 09- Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada); 10- Tobey Maguire (The Good German); 11-Michael Sheen (The Queen); 12- Richard Griffiths (The History Boys); 13- Jude Law (All the King's Men); 14- Michael Peña (World Trade Center); 15- Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine).
** Very strong top ten, I think. Any of them could place and I would not be surprised.
Best Supporting Actress
01 – Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
02 – Jennifer Connelly (Little Children)
03 – Vera Farmiga (The Departed)
04 – Emma Thompson (Stranger Than Fiction)
05 – Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada)
06- Maggie Gyllenhaal (World Trade Center / Stranger Than Fiction); 07- Carmen Maura (Volver); 08- Maria Bello (World Trade Center); 09- Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls); 10- Diane Lane (Hollywoodland); 11- Sharon Stone (Bobby); 12- Natalie Portman (Goya's Ghosts); 13- Rinko Kincuchi (Babel); 14- Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine); 15- Frances de la Tour (The History Boys).
** Hardest category to call. Only Hudson seems like a strong bet at this point. Everything beyond that is wild guesswork.