Eric’s 2005 Oscar Predictions

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Eric’s 2005 Oscar Predictions

The Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, who will make approximately 15,000 jokes about how black people are different from white people, will air live on ABC this Sunday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PST. (That’s 6 p.m. MST and 7 p.m. CST. There, I did the math for you.) Here are my predictions on the winners.

Best Picture
THE AVIATOR
FINDING NEVERLAND
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
RAY
SIDEWAYS
Should win: Of these five, “Million Dollar Baby” is clearly the best, being nearly a perfectly constructed, sublimely understated, emotionally powerful film.
Will win: “The Aviator” is more along the lines of what usually wins — three hours long, deals with history, made by an acclaimed director — but I think “Million Dollar Baby” will edge it out.

Best Director
Martin Scorsese, THE AVIATOR
Clint Eastwood, MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Taylor Hackford, RAY
Alexander Payne, SIDEWAYS
Mike Leigh, VERA DRAKE
Should win: Clint Eastwood, baby. The film is so well-directed, you don’t notice it’s being directed at all. It’s a smooth, well-oiled machine that sneaks up on you with its power. Still, it would be nice to see Scorsese finally win one.
Will win: Eastwood, methinks. Partly because support for “The Aviator” in general is waning while “Million Dollar Baby” is picking up steam … and partly because Eastwood won the Directors Guild of America award, which has correctly predicted the Oscar winner all but six times in the past 1,000 years, or something like that.

Best Actor
Don Cheadle, HOTEL RWANDA
Johnny Depp, FINDING NEVERLAND
Leonardo DiCaprio, THE AVIATOR
Clint Eastwood, MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Jamie Foxx, RAY
Should win: I’m torn between Eastwood and Foxx, but my sentimental choice is Eastwood, simply because, unlike Foxx, he’s very classy and hasn’t spent the last five years irritating the crap out of me.
Will win: Foxx seems to have this one locked up. People have been saying that since before he was even nominated.

Best Actress
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
Should win: Imelda Staunton has been my favorite since I saw “Vera Drake,” and nothing I saw after that has changed my mind. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and do so, just to watch her.
Will win: They keep talking about how it came down to Annette Bening and Hilary Swank five years ago, too, for “American Beauty” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” and how Swank beat Bening then, too. But here’s the thing: Bening doesn’t even have a CHANCE this year. This supposed competition between them is commentators trying to make something out of nothing. Hardly anyone has seen “Being Julia,” and those who have agree it’s a mediocre film that happens to have a great performance by Bening. Meanwhile, “Million Dollar Baby” is well-regarded in all aspects, and Swank is worthy of the Oscar she’s going to win. And if Swank didn’t win it, Staunton would have, so it’s not like Bening should be cursing Swank’s name.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Alda, THE AVIATOR
Thomas Haden Church, SIDEWAYS
Jamie Foxx, COLLATERAL
Morgan Freeman, MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Clive Owen, CLOSER
Should win: All five are worthy entries — maybe the only major category in which I have absolutely no qualms about who they chose. But I would go with Freeman, who provides much of the heart and soul in “Million Dollar Baby.”
Will win: It’s either Freeman or Church — Alda’s role is too small, Foxx won’t win twice in one night, and Owen’s film doesn’t have enough general support — and my money’s on Freeman.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, THE AVIATOR
Laura Linney, KINSEY
Virginia Madsen, SIDEWAYS
Sophie Okonedo, HOTEL RWANDA
Natalie Portman, CLOSER
Should win: I love Blanchett in anything, but I was only a casual Portman fan until “Closer” (well, that and “Garden State”). I’d be happy to see either of them take home the gold.
Will win: Blanchett. Even detractors of “The Aviator” agree her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn is brilliant.

Best Adapted Screenplay
BEFORE SUNSET
FINDING NEVERLAND
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
SIDEWAYS
Should win: What you like about “Before Sunset,” “Finding Neverland” and “The Motorcycle Diaries,” if you like those films, is the performances, not the screenplays. “Sideways” has some excellent dialogue, but my vote is for “Million Dollar Baby,” which accomplishes the more difficult task of using dialogue sparsely and carefully, as opposed to merely wittily. Not to mention the fact that the whole screenplay is so perfectly structured, scene by scene, with nary an extraneous moment.
Will win: “Sideways” is the sort of film — quirky, intelligent, subtextual comedy — that gets honored in the screenplay category and almost nowhere else.

Best Original Screenplay
THE AVIATOR
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
HOTEL RWANDA
THE INCREDIBLES
VERA DRAKE
Should win: I used to favor “Eternal Sunshine” for this, but the more I think about “The Incredibles,” the more I admire its wit, wisdom and efficiency. “Vera Drake” was largely written by the cast through months of improvisations, and the scripts for “Hotel Rwanda” and “The Aviator” are solid but unremarkable.
Will win: “Eternal Sunshine,” for the same reasons as “Sideways.”

Best Documentary Feature
BORN INTO BROTHELS
THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAME
SUPER SIZE ME
TUPAC: RESURRECTION
TWIST OF FAITH
Should win: “Super Size Me” was one of the best films of ANY kind last year, making powerful statements while also being crowd-pleasingly entertaining.
Will win: … which is why it won’t win. The documentary prize usually goes to something Serious and Important. I’m guessing it’s “Born into Brothels,” which is about Calcutta prostitutes who raise their children to go into the same profession as their moms.

Best Foreign Language Film
AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
THE CHORUS
DOWNFALL
THE SEA INSIDE
YESTERDAY
Should win: I’ve only seen “The Chorus” and “The Sea Inside,” and I wasn’t blown away by either of them. The best foreign-language film of the year was “A Very Long Engagement,” which France refused to consider for its entry because, despite being written, directed and produced in France, in the French language, with an almost entirely French cast and crew, the French film board decided it wasn’t quite French enough. (They said the fact that it was financed by Warner Bros. — an AMERICAN company! — disqualified it.) For that reason alone, the film France put up instead, “The Chorus,” should NOT win — you know, just to teach the froggies a lesson.
Will win: “The Sea Inside” has more notoriety, but “Downfall” is about Hitler, and pretty much anything about the Holocaust usually wins any category it’s nominated for. It’s like I always say, the smart guys puts his money on Hitler.

Best Animated Feature
THE INCREDIBLES
SHARK TALE
SHREK 2
Should win: “The Incredibles.” “Shrek 2” was a great film, but no classic. And “Shark Tale”? Come on. Get outta here with that “Shark Tale” business.
Will win: “The Incredibles.”

Best Cinematography
THE AVIATOR
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT
Should win: Did you see “House of Flying Daggers”? And do you know what cinematography is? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you know which of these five films deserves the Oscar.
Will win: This is one of several categories where the highest-profile movie often wins, as opposed to the movie that actually deserves it. Expect “The Aviator” to take it.

Best Art Direction
THE AVIATOR
FINDING NEVERLAND
LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT
Should win: “Lemony Snicket” deserves it for the sheer imagination that went into making the film. Not a single scene was shot on location! It was all done on sound stages! That’s pretty cool.
Will win: I think “Lemony Snicket” will take it, though I will not be surprised if “The Aviator” sneaks up instead.

Best Costume Design
THE AVIATOR
FINDING NEVERLAND
LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
RAY
TROY
Should win: “The Aviator” had sooo many characters, and all of them had to be dressed in period costumes ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Will win: “The Aviator” will continue to dominate the technical categories, having been shut out of the other ones.

Best Editing
THE AVIATOR
COLLATERAL
FINDING NEVERLAND
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
RAY
Should win: None of these films is especially flashy as far as editing goes. Just like its directing, though, “Million Dollar Baby” benefits from editing that’s so good you don’t notice it — editing that serves the story, in other words, rather than the editor’s desire to be acknowledged.
Will win: “The Aviator,” pulling a “Lord of the Rings” and getting lots of technical awards and no acting ones.

Best Makeup
LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
THE SEA INSIDE

Should win: “The Sea Inside” doesn’t even belong here, as the only makeup it employs is making Javier Bardem look slightly older and sicker than he is in real life. The work in “Lemony Snicket” is more inventive, but the “Passion of the Christ” makeup is more realistic and more useful to the film’s purpose.
Will win: I’m predicting a shut-out for “Passion of the Christ,” with this award going to “Lemony Snicket.”

Best Original Score
FINDING NEVERLAND
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
THE VILLAGE
Should win: I don’t remember a single note of music from any of these movies, though I do recall thinking the score in “Passion of the Christ” complemented the film’s emotional impact.
Will win: John Williams doesn’t really NEED another Oscar, but I bet he gets one for “Harry Potter.”

Best Original Song
“Accidentally In Love” from SHREK 2
“Al Otro Lado Del R�o” from THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
“Believe” from THE POLAR EXPRESS
“Learn To Be Lonely” from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
“Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)” from THE CHORUS
Should win: None of these pieces of crap, that’s for sure.
Will win: If “Phantom of the Opera” had more support in general, this tacked-on, just-for-the-movie song would be a shoo-in. But the movie sucks and everyone knows it. Instead, the cheesy “Believe” from the cheesy “Polar Express,” sung by the cheesy Josh Groban, will win.

Best Documentary Short Subject
AUTISM IS A WORLD
THE CHILDREN OF LENINGRADSKY
HARDWOOD
MIGHTY TIMES: THE CHILDREN’S MARCH
SISTER ROSE’S PASSION
Should win: No clue. Haven’t seen a one.
Will win: No Holocaust material here, so nothing’s a sure thing. “Mighty Times” deals with racism and segregation, but “Autism Is a World” deals with, um, autism. So it’s a toss-up. I say “Autism Is a World” wins, but I say that randomly.

Best Animated Short Film
BIRTHDAY BOY
GOPHER BROKE
GUARD DOG
LORENZO
RYAN
Should win: See previous category.
Will win: My Magic 8 Ball suggests “Lorenzo.”

Best Live Action Short Film
EVERYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY MUST
LITTLE TERRORIST
7:35 IN THE MORNING
TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT
WASP
Should win: Again, no clue.
Will win: Entertainment Weekly notes that “Everything in This Country Must” is the only American-made film in the category, and that seems as good a reason as any to predict it.

Best Sound Editing
THE INCREDIBLES
THE POLAR EXPRESS
SPIDER-MAN 2
Should win: Seems to me that an animated film — where ALL the sounds are created, as opposed to recorded live on a set — deserves this award, and the sound in “The Incredibles” is pretty incredible.
Will win: “The Incredibles” probably has more general sentiment behind it than the other two.

Best Sound Mixing
THE AVIATOR
THE INCREDIBLES
THE POLAR EXPRESS
RAY
SPIDER-MAN 2
Should win: The music-heavy “Ray” deserves it for keeping everything — songs, dialogue, background — at juuuuust the right balance.
Will win: “The Aviator.”

Best Visual Effects
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
I, ROBOT
SPIDER-MAN 2
Should win: “I, Robot,” what are you even doing here? Go away. Between the other two, I have no preference, as both were supreme examples of incorporating special effects seamlessly into a story.
Will win: I don’t predict much Oscar love for “Spider-Man 2,” unfortunately. “Harry Potter” takes this one.

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