What WOULD Joni Do?

Random thoughts and other ramblings

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar? Already?

In the last few years, it seems like there is just too much going on in February. We already had Valentine's Day, President's Day, Black History Month and weather that makes it too cold to leave the house. Then, they go and start dragging out the football post-season so that we have the Super Bowl in early February instead of late January. Then there is TV sweeps, where every network drama claims that each episode is an "event" and pretends that they are gonna kill off the main character, but instead wimp out and kill some minor player, like the main character's mother who was dying anyway. Then, they cut a month off the entertainment award season and we have the Academy Awards in late February. So, there is just no freaking way I can see all the movies in time to make an educated stab at my annual predictions. But that probably never stopped any member of the Academy or Media Critic, so why should it stop me?

This year, it pretty much feels like the acting awards are preordained going in. Forest and Helen for being a 'King' and Queen respectively. Jennifer and Eddie for Dreamgirls. For director, looks like it will be Scorsese finally. There is a 60% shot that a song from Dreamgirls will win best song, and I'm thinking that those Prius driving, Hollywood kooks will vote Al Gore's movie as best documentary, even though to some it seems the film might be better categorized as fiction. But then again, that didn't stop them from awarding Michael Moore the same award a few years back for a film far more fictional. For best foreign film, I don't see how Pan's Labyrinth can't win, although since it was the only foreign film entry I actually saw, I guess I'm a bit biased on that one. And finally, I'm hoping that Kevin O'Connell will win the best sound mixing award for "Apocalypto." While this may seem an obscure addition to my usually acting centered predictions, poor guy has been nominated an astounding 18 times without winning. And you just know he's probably getting really sick and tired of the Susan Lucci jokes.

But back to the acting awards. This year, all of the favorites are also my personal favorites, so it doesn't feel like there is too much to say. But that never really stopped me before, so here goes:

Best Supporting Actor -
Alan Arkin was loads of fun in Little Miss Sunshine, but I really think that Paul Dano as the mute by choice brother in the same film was the one that really deserved a nomination the most. Dijmon Hounsou seems to be consistently good in all he does, so he will probably have more chances in the future. I just love that Mark Wahlberg is nominated, and I'm so happy for him that I'm not even going to call him the name I really want to. He probably doesn't have a shot in Hell tonight, but he'll look hot on the red carpet, so I'm good with that. Hollywood loves a great comeback story, and while many are pointing to Eddie Murphy as the comeback kid, it really is Jackie Earle Haley with the sweetest comeback story of the year. A child actor that went from the Bad News Bears to relativeobscurity in Texas post puberty, his story touches the heart a little more. Cause there is a difference between coming back from leaving acting because Hollywood forgot you and had no use for you once you outgrew your cuteness, to coming back from making 40 bad movies in a row, and pickng up hooker transvestites while your wife is waiting at home with your 5 kids. I think if there is an upset tonight, this will be the one. And it would be an upset that no one would be upset about - except maybe Eddie. And seriously, I think it will be Eddie anyway. Just hope he gives us a good speech - either funny or touching - but not just a quick thank as he rushes off the stage.

Best Supporting Actress -
Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi, both nominated for Babel will likely split any vote from fans of their film. Both probably share the "honor to be nominated" spot for this year. Cate Blanchett already has one, so no one will feel bad not voting for her again. And, while cute as a button, Abigail Breslin will basically be remembered for dancing funny. If that was all it took to win an Academy Award, my college boyfriend Greg would one already. That leaves the favorite going in, Jennifer Hudson. I really hope she wins, but I do wish that everyone (and I'm talking to you, ladies of The View) would shut up with the comments about how Simon Cowell supposedly kicked her off of American Idol and how he should feel stupid about that. Cause if you all recall, Jennifer made it into the Top 12 (which Simon has control of) but she lost out when America started voting (which Simon has no control over.) Therefore, we/America are the reason she lost, and we were wrong. Deal with it, give the girl her Oscar, and lets all move on.

Best Actor -
Who would have ever thought that a former Mousketeer, the Fresh Prince, the football player from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and TV's Growing Pains' version of Cousin Oliver would all be up for an Oscar against Peter O'Toole? Or that after being denied Oscar 7 previous times and being 75, normally a gimme in Hollywood, that O'Toole would not be the favorite among this group? Still, he could pull it out, but I really thing tonight's long denied winner will be in the Directing category. I love Will Smith (I mean, who doesn't?) and I am sure he will end up with an Oscar in the years to come, but I'm not feeling that this is his year. While I hear that Ryan Gosling was really really good in his film, I can't imaging that he will slip through as the winner either. My wish for him is that he looks really hot on the red carpet, and that his girlfriend doesn't wear that awful pink streak she's been sporting lately to the event. Leonardo DeCaprio could squeak in this year based on having two great performances (although only nominated for one) this past year. But, as he is to play Teddy Roosevelt in a Scorsese film set to release in 2008, I think he will have another, better shot at Oscar with that roll and director. In fact, I'll call it here - Leo wins in 2009 for playing Teddy Roosevelt. Finally, that leaves us with Forest Whitaker. I've loved him forever. I cried when he died in the Crying Game. He moved me as a criminal in Panic Room. He scared the living crap out of me in as the stalkerish victim of hospital neglect on ER recently. I would really really love to see him win. My only wish is that he have a speech prepared this time. His loss of words at the Golden Globes was touching, but when he replayed it at the SAG awards, it was just sort of awkward. So please, Forest, take a cue from the ladies and have a list of thank yous stuffed up your sleeve with the Kleenex.

Best Actress -
Judi Dench has won before and will probably win again one day before its over. Just not this year. Meryl Streep has won before and probably will again one day too. Just not this year. Plus, they don't normally award anyone for a comedy except in supporting rolls, a fact for which Mira Sorvino, Whoopi Goldberg and Marrisa Tomei are still thanking their lucky stars. Poor Kate Winslett. She's not gonna win either. In fact, I worry that she will end up like Peter O'Toole 40 years from now, nominated over and over but not winning until she is old and gray, when she finally either receives an honorary one or wins over more deserving performances simply because she is old and we need to honor her for a career in full. I despise Penelope Cruz. Really, she bugs me to the nth degree. She will probably show up to the awards with her, uhm, friend Selma Hyack on one side, somebody else's recent ex-boyfriend or soon to be ex-husband on the other, and her hair piled up on top of her head like she's just had it done by Truvy from Steel Magnolias. Needless to say, I don't want her to win. And thankfully, even if she had a chance, there is probably no way that Helen Mirren won't win. I like her a lot. And she will probably make a great speech. Forest Whitaker, take note.

Best Picture - This is the one award that really seems up for grabs. The Departed and Letters from Iwo Jima both seem like movies that could hold up as Oscar winners in the years to come, and I think either could win. Although, it does seem unlikely that a Japanese subtitled film would win. While I haven't seen Babel, I've been told by several who have that it was a very difficult film to watch, and I think that could be its undoing in this catagory. The Queen just doesn't seem big enough of a film to win. Therefore, I'm going with Little Miss Sunshine. The scene with Olive and Dwayne after he learns he will never be a pilot - her with her head resting on his sholder, that unspoken moment between the big brother and little sister - it reminded me of my own big brother, and how much I love him. And sometimes, we should just acknowledge a film that makes us laugh a little, cry a little, and remember why we love our family.

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