Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Oscars 2007: Who Will Win, Who Should Win...and Who Was Left Out

I had a really good time this year seeing movies, and made a point to see as many nominated films as I could.

Okay, well, I didn't really succeed as well as I hope academy members did, but I think I saw more films than I usually do. It doesn't really help that the Oscars telecast has been rescheduled for February instead of March.

But there seemed to be better films this year, don't you think? And some awards almost seem to be guaranteed. We might be surprised....but that would be a thrill, too, only because of the high level of performances we found.

BEST PICTURE: It seems to be a tight race between Scorsese's The Departed and Babel. I vote for Scorsese, not only because the guy is definitely due, but because The Departed told a complicated tale of two Irish men and how they went separate ways. However, Babel is definitely a contender featuring four storylines and some very talented actors. The Queen also has its fans, and Little Miss Sunshine is the independent film here, screeching for respectability. It's The Departed, at least from where I'm sitting.

DIRECTOR: This particular race seems to be between oldtimers Scorsese and Clint Eastwood. Since Eastwood has won, most recently for the incredible Million Dollar Baby in 2002, I think Scorsese will carry the night.

BEST MALE LEAD: Another tough category, but I think Forest Whitaker will win for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. What may hurt Scotland is that only three people saw it. But Leo Dicaprio was nominated for the wrong movie, Peter O'Toole was being, well, Peter O'Toole, Will Smith didn't really garner enough talk, and Ryan Gosling, as amazing as he was, was in another unwatched film. I must say, in a postscript here, that I am amazed Jack Nicholson wasn't nominated for his incredible over-the-top performance in The Departed. Perhaps it was too over-the-top, or perhaps the academy voters are a lot younger than they used to be.

BEST FEMALE LEAD: If you're in Vegas, go for Helen Mirren. Even the other actresses have admitted they'll be going home empty-handed. However, it was an amazing year for women in film. There are many more one could nominate in this category.

BEST MALE SUPPORTING ACTOR: The Best Male and Female Supporting Actors are the most contentious categories, but you can't argue that the nominees turn in stellar performances on every count. From Dirk Diggler to a detective in the New York State Police department, Mark Wahlberg has come a long way. But is it enough to win? Probably not. My money is on public favorite Eddie Murphy, who took a surprising turn as an early rhythm-and-blues singer in Dreamgirls. However, Alan Arkin, overdue perhaps for his inventive role in Little Miss Sunshine, should take home the little gold guy. We'll see. This is also a category where it's so tough to pick because there were many great performances this year. One in particular I enjoyed was Alec Baldwin's in The Departed; sure, it wasn't a big role, but it really made a punch.

BEST FEMALE SUPPORTING ACTOR: Another tough one. I would really love to see Rinko Kikuchi win for her devastating role as the deaf Japanese teenager in Babel, but she mostly likely will not win due to the fact that her costar, Adriana Barraza, will split the vote. It looks like Jennifer Hudson will take it, but being a newcomer may hurt her. But Cate Blanchett has already seen a few awards thrown her way. I think Hudson will take it, but each of the others is deserving.

That's it for the major categories. I'm already in front of the T.V. four hours before the broadcast, just soaking up the color and pomp and glitter. It's gonna be a great night.


At 9:56 PM, Blogger Rabbi Ruth Adar said...

"ittle Miss Sunshine is the independent film here, screeching for respectability"...

Cat, I love your writing!


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