Hello, friends. With less than a week to go until the 81st Annual Academy Awards, it only seems more than appropriate that you sit back and allow me to tell you what’s going to win. Because I just know these things. I’ll also be weighing in with my picks for what should win, but with such an underwhelming array of nominees this year, my options are somewhat limited. So without any further ado, let’s get started.
Best Supporting Actress
This is probably the most wide-open category that there is. I could see almost all of these actresses winning this award, with the possible excecption of Amy Adams, who seemed to not have too much to do in Doubt. Penelope Cruz has gotten a lot of critics awards and such and was excellent in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and I could certaianly see her winning. Taraji P. Henson seems kind of like a long shot, but if the 13 nominations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button weren’t an overzealous exaggeration of the Academy’s love for this movie, then she may well take the gold. And Marisa Tomei, excellent in everything and unfairly mocked for winning in 1992 for My Cousin Vinny, could certainly take it home for her outstanding work in the under-nominated The Wrestler. But Viola Davis, who had one scene in Doubt, as the mother of a potentially molested young student, has the most going for her. The movie itself, a great little film, has four acting nominations in all, but Davis, the least-known star in the film, is absolutely heart-breaking in her role, stealing the thunder from everyone. She brings a profound sympathy and overwhelming sadness to a character who would have been easily despicable in a lesser actress’s hands. The weight of this performance outdoes everything else in its category.
Will win: Viola Davis
Should win: Viola Davis
Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight.
Will win: Heath Ledger
Should win: Heath Ledger
I don’t know what it is with me, maybe I’m just a chauvanist douchebag, but every year when the Oscars roll around, I’ve only seen one or two of the nominated films in the Best Actress category. Maybe I just hate female characters strong enough to take the lead in a movie. And this year is no different, I guess, as I’ve only seen two. The first is Kate Winslet in The Reader, film that I did not care for and a performance I’ve thought has been overpraised. She’ll probably win, and it’s a shame because I usually love her and she’s been nominated five times before for far better work. The other I’ve seen is Meryl Streep in Doubt, a film I really liked, and a terrific performance to match, but hey – she’s Meryl freakin’ Streep! Of course she’s great. Anyway, these two seem like the most likely to win anyway. Angelina Jolie is a no. Anne Hathaway might pull it off, but I doubt it. And Melissa Leo seems like one of those the-nomination-is-your-award kinda deals. So, for my limited knowledge in this category, here goes:
Will win: Kate Winslet
Should win: Meryl Streep
Brad Pitt will not win. He just won’t. He can’t. Benjamin Button is not a very good movie, Brad Pitt is good, but not great, and the film will only end up with a bunch of technical stuff that it steals from The Dark Knight. Richard Jenkins I would love to see win. He’s a terrific actor who’s finally getting some recognition, and he’s excellent in The Visitor. The whole movie really hinges on his performance. As the glue holding together a movie I liked, but didn’t love, he’s fascinating to watch. Frank Langella I always kinda love, but he’s not really doing anything of particular interest in Frost/Nixon, a not particularly interesting movie. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, check out Philip Baker Hall in Secret Honor and be amazed!) Mickey Rourke is totally spellbinding and powerful in The Wrestler and deserves some lovin’. He’s gotten a decent amount of precursor awards, but has he got what it takes to take on Sean Penn in Milk? Milk was a good film and a good performance that’s been getting a lot of accolades, but The Wrestler was a better film and Rourke’s was a better performance. For some reason, though, I’m feeling that there will be a lot of Milk love come Oscar night.
Will win: Sean Penn
Should win: Mickey Rourke
With the frustrating absense of Christopher Nolan from this category, I’m kinda at the point where I don’t really care who wins. The nominees in this category directly correspond to those of the Best Picture category, which for me means that there is a lot of substandard work on display here. David Fincher, who I always love, let me down with his bloated Oscar-pandering Benjamin Button. Ron Howard is totally out of his element with the self-important, obvious, and ridiculous Frost/Nixon. Stephen Daldry. The Reader. Pssh! There are only two directors here who I feel really deserve it: Gus Van Sant, who did an excellent job of making a lively and stirring film out of Milk (which might have easily been a by-the-numbers biopic), and Danny Boyle, who made one of the most uplifting and compelling films of recent years with Slumdog Millionaire. After winning the Director’s Guild Award a couple weeks ago, he’s pretty much got this one locked up.
Will win: Danny Boyle
Should win: Danny Boyle
Just like in the director category, there’s something big missing here. But among what I have to work with: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Reader, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire, my own personaly pick is obviously going to have to be Slumdog. Many have this predicted to win, and they’re all probably right, but for the sake of being different and because I’m just feeling some major upset coming on in some category, I have this weird feeling that Milk has a really good shot. And if one of the non-Slumdog movies has to win, I would hope that it’s Milk. So, at the risk of being spat on, here goes:
Will win: Milk
Should win: Slumdog Millionaire
And here are some things I’d like to see on the big night:
- I’m dying to see Martin McDonagh’s script for the stellar In Bruges take home an Oscar, although if my Milk prediction is right, then I can kiss that one goodbye.
- Wally Pfister win for Cinematography for The Dark Knight. Slumdog won the ASC award and will probably win a good amount of stuff on Oscar night, so it’ll probably lean in that direction here too, but I can dream, can’t I?
- I’m torn about Best Documentary. I loved Man on Wire and I enjoyed it more and thought it was a better film than Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World (although that one’s certainly a very good movie, too!). But I’d love to see Herzog win an Oscar. Aside from the fact that Herzog is one of my top five favorite directos of all time, don’t you think his acceptance speech would be awesome?
- I’d like to see The Dark Knight win Best Picture through write-in votes. If the Publisher’s Clearing House has taught me anything, it’s that miracles can happen!!
So there it is. Now you know. You’re welcome. Check us out for constant updates Oscar night (Sunday, February 22) as the winners are announced!