Armed with the knowledge that I haven’t seen all the films nominated, you can take my opinions on the nominations with Galactus-sized pinch of sodium chloride, but that won’t stop me from sharing anyway.
As I do a note-perfect impression of a very lazy person, it’s taken a while for me to speak my mind on the subject. Subsequently, other people have posted their takes: Tom has an always well-written and informed look, Jog speaks his mind (and don’t worry about writing about films, Jog; it’s okay to talk film every so often), while the lovely people at Empire talk about the people who were snubbed by the august body of people who make up the Academy. Bear in mind that I did have my own opinions prior to reading those of these fine folk so, even though there is some crossover (particularly you, Tom, you dog), I’m not copying people, honest.
Million Dollar Baby
The Aviator is large scale and celebrates Hollywood, so appeals to the voters for the sort of thing that should be a best picture. The trouble comes with the split between this and Million Dollar Baby – do they give the latter the Best Film nod to compensate for finally giving Marty the Best Director? Or will they go for The Aviator safe bet for the big two?
Martin Scorsese – The Aviator
Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford – Ray
Alexander Payne – Sideways
Mike Leigh – Vera Drake
My bias towards Marty aside (just give it to him, for God’s sake), this should be his year. Clint already has one, Payne and Hackford haven’t been nominated before and, great though he undoubtedly is, Leigh won’t get it for something about abortion, perhaps why the best director apparently direct a best nominated film.
Don Cheadle – Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp – Finding Neverland
Leonardo Dicaprio – The Aviator
Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby
Jamie Foxx – Ray
Haven’t seen Ray, but that’s where the buzz is. Nice to have Depp there, even if they won’t give it to him. Dicaprio might have some following after the Globes, but it seems unlikely. It’s great to have Cheadle in there, who is a great actor, even if his Cockney accent in the Ocean film grates on the ear. Can’t see why Clint would get it, so the Academy might feel happy with itself by rewarding a black actor, even if he might be seen as a bit of an upstart, what with him being a comedian who has lucked into the role of a lifetime. I mean, Jim Carrey isn’t even nominated for his turn in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Talking of missing out, what about Paul Giamatti for Sideways? Director, supporting actor and actress, screenplay, but apparently he’s not good enough to be there? Boo, hiss.
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
Swank has the buzz after the Globes, but I’d be happy to see a Brit win. Kate Winslet has the pro of being nominated three times, but the con of the film being seen as a little odd (even though the film is great and she is marvelous in it). Staunton is more serious in a more serious film, which the Academy tend to favour. But it is a film about abortion, which might be tricky. Can’t see them giving it to Moreno, but haven’t seen the film. Bening seems an outsider with a film that no-one saw, even though she is a good actress.
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Alda – The Aviator
Thomas Hayden Church – Sideways
Jamie Foxx – Collateral
Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby
Clive Owen – Closer
Alan Alda? Really? I mean, wow. Was he that good? Anyway, let’s forget him; I personally don’t think he’s in the running (famous last words). Foxx will stop himself with Ray, and Church is just a one-off, I think; right place at the right time. The main contenders should be Freeman and Owen. Freeman has the ‘multi-nominated, no win, old vet that people love’ thing going for him, whereas Owen has the Globes behind him. Too close to call.
Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett – The Aviator
Laura Linney – Kinsey
Virginia Madsen – Sideways
Sophie Okonedo – Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman – Closer
This is a strange mix, as it always is. There have been some strange winners here in the past (what has Whoopi Goldberg done since her bizarre win for Ghost? Apart from annoy people, I mean.) Blanchett is good in The Aviator but it would be a strange win for her (she deserved it more for Elizabeth, for example). Madsen was excellent in Sideways, but she’s an outsider. Happy to have a Brit in there, but can’t see Okonedo troubling voters. Haven’t seen Kinsey, so my Linney radar is blank there, and Portman has the Globes. I’d personally be happy for Portman to win, even though I haven’t seen Closer, but that doesn’t count unfortunately. This one’s up in the air.
Best Original Screenplay
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I’m terrible when it comes to screenplay, as I always go for my fave. Very occasionally, this works, but not often. So, personally, I want Eternal Sunshine to get this, as it was one of the best and most original things last year, as well as being touching and powerful. The nod for The Incredibles seems a little strange, as action pictures don’t usually get one, but maybe they trying to be progressive. Also weird is the nod for Vera Drake because, and please correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve read that Leigh doesn’t do screenplays in the strictest sense, only a strong sense of the story and where it goes and then getting the actors to improv the scenes after a lot of rehearsal. The Aviator and Hotel Rwanda seem outsiders here.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Million Dollar Baby
The Motorcycle Diaries
See above for my problems with screenplay picks. This one is quite tricky; will they give it to Million Dollar Baby for not giving it other Oscars? Or go foreign with The Motorcycle Diaries? Or out there and go for Before Sunset (with no other nominations)? Having not seen the others, I’ll go for Sideways, as I don’t think it will get anything else.
Best Animated Film
The Incredibles. The Incredibles. The Incredibles. Simple. Shrek 2 was very, very funny, but not the best film winner. Shark Tale was an embarrassing mess/product endorsement with dating pop culture references that should have been drowned at birth, and is insulting the other two films by its presence on the list.
I’m not doing all the list, because I’m lazy. But these are the ones I always look at, so you get my thoughts on them. Come back in a little over a month and find out how wrong I was.