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Volume 34
Issue 09
 
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Oscars appear predictable for Brokeback Mountain, Hoffman and Witherspoon
Oscars appear predictable for Brokeback Mountain, Hoffman and Witherspoon
by Lorelei Quenzer - SGN A&E Writer

Last year's Oscars predictions were pretty easy. For me, I mean; it was a tricky call between The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby, but at least I wasn't making the call alone. I had two other SGN writers backing me up with their picks. This year? Well, it feels like the pressure is on, but really, it looks like the winners are going to be even more predictable than usual. I've done my research and I've seen all of the films. I'll do my best to give you a leg up on your office Oscars pool with the major categories.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Supporting Actor nominees: George Clooney, Syriana; Matt Dillon, Crash; Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man; Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain; and William Hurt, A History of Violence.

Who will win: Earlier in the awards season it looked like the critics were doing their best to rectify last year's Oscar snub when Paul Giamatti wasn't nominated for Sideways. But that was back in January, when Giamatti took home a Critics' Choice and SAG award; since then George Clooney has received all the buzz. Clooney is beloved, while Giamatti is only be-liked. Besides, Barbara Walters has chosen Clooney for her special; she has a knack for picking winners.

Who should win: George had a lot of words to memorize in Syriana (not to mention helping us follow the film's convoluted plot - that was work!). But Jake Gyllenhaal's vulnerability as the emotional Jack in Brokeback was memorable. The BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) just picked Jake's Jack, so I'm thinking there could be some cowboy love at the Oscars. This might be the upset of the night & but don't count on it.

Who was robbed: I really wanted to see Donald Sutherland nominated for Pride and Prejudice. His subtlety as Mr. Bennett elevated the film above the usual romantic costume drama. Only a few of the top films really moved me, and Sutherland's performance - that moment when he gave Elizabeth his blessing? Aww - was one that I found particularly touching.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Supporting Actress nominees: Amy Adams, Junebug; Catherine Keener, Capote; Frances McDormand, North Country; Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener; and Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain.

Who will win: Although the season started out with Adams and Williams receiving major recognition, tying for the Broadcast Film Critics Association win, right now Rachel Weisz looks unstoppable. She certainly benefits from the most on-screen time. The Brits even nominated her for best Lead Actress in the BAFTA awards. She gets the most to work with, and boy did she make an impact.

Who should win: All of the supporting actresses had powerful characters, especially Michelle Williams, but I thought that Amy Adams was superlative as the needy sister-in-law in Junebug. I might have relatives like her. Heck, I might be a relative like her. You've got to give this movie a try.

Who was robbed: While I appreciated that the BAFTAs chose Thandie Newton for her role in Crash, I loved-loved-loved Shirley MacLaine as the down-to-earth grandmother from In Her Shoes.

LEADING ACTOR

Leading Actor nominees: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow; Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain; Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line; and David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck.

Who will win: Philip Seymour Hoffman probably has his acceptance speech written. More likely, he's already given so many acceptance speeches that his Oscars speech will take one from column A, two from column Z .& Hoffman won the Critics Choice, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, National Board of Review and BAFTA awards for lead actor. The little golden man is his.

Who should win: As much as I loved Ledger, Howard, Phoenix and Strathairn (When, oh when will it be the year for Strathairn? Seriously, he was a rock as Murrow), this year it's all about Hoffman, and deservedly so. He was chilling as Tru; you don't even have to see him to believe him.

Who was robbed: Every other nominated actor. Really: in any other year, another would have won. It's their bad luck to go up against this particular performance of Hoffman's. But if I have to pick an actor who was just plain overlooked by the academy, I choose Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Mysterious Skin. This was one of my favorite performances of the year. I couldn't take my eyes off of him.

LEADING ACTRESS

Leading Actress nominees: Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents; Felicity Huffman, Transamerica; Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice; Charlize Theron, North Country; and Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line.

Who will win: Forget Dench, Theron and Knightley. Theron took home Oscar a mere two years ago, Dench's role wasn't in a big enough movie, and Knightley & well, Keira has a lot to live down after Domino and King Arthur. And she's got the time. This one is between Felicity Huffman and Reese Witherspoon, and unless they effectively cancel each other out it's Witherspoon's year. Count on her taking the stage on Sunday.

Who should win: I'm torn. I thought Huffman was genuine and moving as the Transgendered Bree in Transamerica, but I think I'll go along with the pundits and pick Witherspoon. She, even more than Joaquin Phoenix, was the heart of Walk the Line. If those danged Brits hadn't nominated Rachel Weisz as a lead actress in the BAFTAs, Witherspoon would have nabbed that award in addition to her Critics' Choice, SAG and Golden Globe statues.

Who was robbed: I was beyond surprised that neither Laura Linney (The Squid and the Whale) or Joan Allen (The Upside of Anger) were nominated. They could have taken the places of Knightley and Theron and the category would have been almost perfect.

DIRECTING

Directing Nominees: Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee; Capote, Bennett Miller; Crash, Paul Haggis; Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney; and Munich, Stephen Speilberg.

Who will win: I don't see how anybody other than Ang Lee could take home the Oscar. He was robbed five years ago, losing for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Steven Soderbergh (for Traffic), and the Academy knows it. Plus the film has already won too many awards to be denied in the eleventh hour.

Who should win: I'm hoping Lee was right - in all of his other acceptance speeches - when he said that audiences appreciate Brokeback because it isn't a film about Gay cowboys, but a film about love with universal appeal. Let's hope the voters are listening. Meanwhile I'm hoping that first-time directors Haggis and Miller have scripts they're passionate about, because I'm really looking forward to seeing more from them. Clooney and Spielberg? They had me at "Hello."

Who was robbed: No, Rob Marshall, it's not you. Or you, Woody Allen. Hmph. I'm still a little shocked that the Director nominees actually match the Best Picture nominees, though I'd like to have seen James Mangold named for Walk the Line, and not just because my brother worked on the film. But that would've been cool.

BEST PICTURE

Best Picture nominees: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night, and Good Luck and Munich.

Who will win: I'm not anticipating any Brokeback Mountain backlash. As in the Best Director category, it would make the Academy a laughingstock if it were the only entity to not choose the movie as the year's best. If it was going to lose it would have lost another major award by now. But if there were to be an upset look to Crash, the little engine that could, as the film that might pull Brokeback down.

Who should win: You know as well as I do: Brokeback is the best picture among a solid quintet of films.

Who was robbed: There were a lot of films that stood out this year, but what's glaringly missing from the Academy Awards' best picture category? There's no comedy nominee. So my choice for most overlooked film of the year is The 40-Year-Old Virgin. It's completely crazy that this film wasn't nominated in the screenplay category at the very least.

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