by Tony Dayoub
The writer's strike is over, probably due in no small part to Gil Cates. Cates, producer of The 80th Academy Awards, was the only man in Hollywood sure that the Oscars would go on this year. Makes you wonder if he had some kind of back-channel access to the parties involved.
Whatever the case was, I am glad he made it possible to enjoy my favorite day of the year. There is a case to be made that it diminishes the art by rewarding those who spend money on Oscar campaigns. However, for a movie-lover like myself, there is no more glamorous or celebratory day for American cinema.
And though I may disagree on who should win the awards, here are my picks on who will win the awards.
Actor in a Leading Role - Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood -No one else even comes close this year. Enough said.
Actor in a Supporting Role - Javier Bardem No Country For Old Men - Same as above.
Actress in a Leading Role - Marion Cotillard La Vie en Rose - This category is where the real prognosticating starts on this list. Factors against her: reverence for Julie Christie, Oscar's trend towards rewarding ingenues like Ellen Page, and disregard for foreign language performances. But she gave a cute acceptance speech at the BAFTA, the Brit Oscars. And sometimes it comes down to that.
Actress in a Supporting Role - Ruby Dee American Gangster - Sentimental favorite as observed at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards. But a reward for her long career rather than her limited screen time in this film.
Animated Feature Film - Ratatouille - Persepolis could pull the rug out from under this one. But the Academy doesn't really reward downers in this category, much less see them.
Directing - Julian Schnabel The Diving Bell And The Butterfly - Tough one to call. The Coens have never won, and this is their best chance. Also, P.T. Anderson is being hailed as the Second Coming for the deservedly important There Will Be Blood. But Schnabel pulled off the near-impossible: communicating a paralytic's experience with little sentimentality or melodrama. And Sean Young's drunken snub at the DGA awards garnered Schnabel some good will.
Documentary Feature - No End In Sight - Michael Moore is the best known documentarian competing. But I think the voters are over him. So they'll turn their focus to this anti-Bush piece instead.
Foreign Language Film - Austria The Counterfeiters - An interesting film about the Nazi's use of concentration camp prisoners to create counterfeit bank notes in order to flood their enemy's market with false currency and collapse their markets.
Music (Score) - Marco Beltrami 3:10 To Yuma - I have no idea why, except I liked his score for this film. My favorite score, Jonny Greenwood's for There Will Be Blood, was disqualified for not being original to the film.
Music (Song) - "Falling Slowly" Once - It will be aided greatly by Enchanted's three nominations. Those three are likely to split the vote paving the way for this sleeper's song.
Best Picture - No Country For Old Men - The strongest competition comes from There Will Be Blood. This one just depends on which film had the strongest buzz behind it at voting time.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay) - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen No Country For Old Men - Here is where the Coens will be rewarded... mainly for adapting Cormac McCarthy's genre novel while keeping their sensibility intact.
Writing (Original Screenplay) - Diablo Cody Juno - Hip newcomer, with a heck of a background (former stripper-blogger), writes hip screenplay. She's got it sewn up.
Tell me what your picks are, and how much you disagree with me.