Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Nominations are in.

OK. Here's my two cents.

Actor in a Supporting Role -
Alan Alda, The Aviator
Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
Jamie Foxx, Collateral
Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Clive Owen, Closer

One of the most irritating things about the Oscars is how nebulous the categories are. Some would rightly claim that both Church and Foxx have starring roles in their films, yet they are relegated to a supporting nomination. It's of some solace to Church and Foxx that they are also the strongest contenders for the award. Freeman, like Meryl Streep, is so used to accolades that this one is simply a given. Owen will most likely blend in with his ensemble in Closer. And as for Alda, well, The Aviator has much bigger heads to crown than his (see below). Foxx's stronger chance is with Ray, so I'll call this for Church. Sideways, given its indie vibe, will probably miss the other big awards, and the Academy has been known to give conciliatory prizes for supporting turns in great films that fall into this category (See Chris Cooper in Adaptation, Jim Broadbent in Iris and James Coburn in Affliction).

Actress in a Supporting Role -
Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
Laura Linney, Kinsey
Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman, Closer

Barring an upset with Madsen getting the award in place of Church (see above), I think this is a race between Linney and Portman. Blanchett will eventually get an Oscar, but not this year (See Alda above). Okonedo may bring an upset, but more likely will stand as another representative of Hotel Rwanda itself and its greatness. Portman, as with Clive Owen above, will probably fade into the ensemble. Linney, however, plays the supportive wife of a controversial genius (See Marcia Gay Harden in Pollock), and like many of the winners of the past, she's long overdue for notice. Expect to see Linney on the stage.

Actor in a Leading Role -
Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio, the Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Jamie Foxx, Ray

Jesse Jackson may rejoice that there are two very strong black contenders for this category. Depp, who just keeps on putting out quality product, is destined to win on another occasion. Ditto for DiCaprio. Eastwood already has enough awards to fill a walk-in closet. Which brings us back to Cheadle and Foxx. Just as Liam Neeson missed his Oscar for Schindler's List, I'm guessing that Cheadle will also miss out. And just as with Neeson, it will be a crying shame. Still, Jamie Foxx is the acting success story of the year, and I think he's a lock for the win.

Actress in a Leading Role -
Annette Bening, Being Julia
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This is probably going to be the fiercest battle of the night, and is therefore the toughest to call. A lot of critics are crossing their fingers for Moreno. Maria was a brutal and brilliant film that unfortunately most people haven't even heard of, much less seen. Winslet in Eternal will probably be too trippy for most voters. Drake, about an abortionist, will probably be too small and controversial (even given Michael Caine's win in Cider House Rules). That leaves us with Swank and Bening, who have both been gathering accolades like posies. I'll give the edge to Bening since she hasn't won before, but I wouldn't place any heavy bets on that call.

Best Director -
Martin Scorsese, The Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford, Ray
Alexander Payne, Sideways
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake

Best Picture -
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Million Dollar Baby

Not to by cynical or anything (too late), but the odd men out can be removed. Thus, Vera Drake and Finding Neverland can be eliminated, since they failed to get both nominations. Ray, which was a bit overlong, will have gotten it's notice with Foxx. Sideways, which is a little edgy and depressing at times, will have gotten it's notice with Church or Madsen. Thus we are left with Million Dollar Baby and The Aviator. Baby will be highly esteemed, like Eastwood's Mystic River last year. But in the end, it will be seen as a film whose recognition will be award enough. Plus, all three principles from Baby already have their own little gold men. Which leaves us with The Aviator. It's an epic biography about an American success story. It revels in the golden age of Hollywood. It's directed by a man who is one of the most sorely deserving of an Oscar who hasn't yet got one. In other words, It's a most assured lock for both awards.

And that's it. For those who are interested (and you know who you are), The Oscars will be awarded on February 27. See ya then.

1 comment:

Alonzo Mosley (FBI) said...

The Movie Guru stands corrected! Morgan Freeman hasn't yet won an Oscar. This could very well throw open the Best Supporting Actor trophy. Freeman may very well get his due next month.