The Phantom of the Opera
[b]Don?t Count Out[/b]: [u]Alexander, Proof, The Life Aquatic, Ray[/u]
Yes, I took Alexander out of the final five. It will definitely be in the race, but my gut is screaming at me that it?s going to suck. I could be wrong, but I trust my gut enough to move is out. Aviator is still looking like the front runner, and the trailer for Closer was better than I could have hoped. It is definitely looking to be the big indie of the year. Finding Neverland is clearly Oscar bait, but it?s a biopic about a beloved writer. Musicals have been huge the past few years, so Phantom of the Opera found it?s way into the final five. Vanity Fair is the Focus Features Oscar film this year, and they?re becoming big hitters in the award season.
Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
[i]Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland[/i]
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
Jamie Foxx, Ray
Jude Law Closer
[b]Don?t Count Out[/b]: [u]Bill Murray, The Life Aquatic; Tom Cruise, Collateral; Liam Neeson, Kinsey; Jeff Bridges, The Door in the Floor[/u]
Jim Carrey received rave reviews for his touching turn in Eternal Sunshine, and he's an actor who hasn't even received his due in nominations, so this is looking like his year to finally get some academy respect. Depp seems to be the frontrunner at this point. He's playing a loved writer in a biopic. DiCaprio will ride The Aviator's success to nomination. Jude Law is supposedly fantastic in Closer, and it's a big year for him film-wise. Jamie Foxx will strike a chord due to Ray Charles?s recent death. Murray could ride last years nomination to one this year, but the Best Actor race is shaping up to be quite tough. If Life Aquatic doesn?t get love in the other categories, Murray could miss his second chance. Cruise was on playing the asshole, but that may actually work against him. Liam Neeson is always great, but the controversial subject matter may cause voters to shy away. Bridges received some of the best reviews of his career for The Door in the Floor, and he was snubbed last year, but it looks like Focus will be putting all it?s hope in Vanity Fair.
Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger
Kim Basinger, The Door in the Floor
Gwenyth Paltrow, Proof
[i]Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland[/i]
Reese Witherspoon, Vanity Fair
[b]Don?t Count Out[/b]: [u]Naomi Watts, We Don?t Live Here Anymore; Renee Zellweger, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Nicole Kidman, Dogville[/u]
Oscar likes Joan Allen, if the movie turns out even halfway good, she should get recognition. Paltrow is apparently the best thing about Proof. Winslet will be coming off a huge year with both Neverland and Sunshine, and the Academy won't be able to ignore her. She'll probably nab the nod for the more Oscar-friendly film, and since she's way overdue, she'll probably win this year, finally. Reese Witherspoon will hopefully put her talent to good use in a serious turn in Vanity Fair. She looks great in the trailer. Basinger apparently gives her best performance ever in The Door in the Floor, she?s getting noticed as the best part of a great film. Watts looks great in the trailer for We Don?t Love Here Anymore, but the similarities between it and Closer are very noticeable, and the voters are more likely to recognize Closer. Edge of Reason isn?t shaping out like a lot of fans were hoping, and they may take it out on Zellweger. Kidman was apparently great in Dogville, but the release date, coupled with the controversial film and the split from the critics hurts her chances.
Best Supporting Actor[/b]
Jim Broadbent, Vanity Fair
[i]Morgan Freeman, An Unfinished Life[/i]
Ryan Gosling, Stay
Anthony Hopkins, Proof
Clive Owen, Closer
[b]Don't Count Out[/b]: [u]Peter Sarsgaard, Garden State; Don Cheadle, Crash; Willem Dafoe, The Life Aquatic[/u]
Vanity Fair's supporting cast is so huge it could be anybody. I think VF will definitely score a nomination in this category, but I really don't know who for. If James Purefoy is as good as he looks in the trailer, he could nab it instead of oscar veteran Broadbent. Morgan Freeman has been so overlooked that it seems impossible he won't get it for this much buzzed about film. Gosling is one of the finest young actors working, and apparently his work in The Notebook is great, and even though that film probably won't get oscar love, it may help his chances for Stay. Hopkins could split it between Alexander and Proof. If he has great father-daughter chemistry with Paltrow, he'll get it for Proof. Clive Owen apparently owns Closer. I find it hard to believe the Academy will ovelook Garden State in the major categories, and Sarsgaard just seems the most likely nominee. The trailer montage for Crash was great, and Cheadle is so under rated, that hopefull he'll find himself in the race. I have no idea how big Dafoe's role in Aquatic is, but come on. It's WILLEM DAFOE.
Best Supporting Actress[/b]
[i]Cate Blanchett, The Aviator[/i]
Hope Davis, Proof
Laura Dern, We Don't Live Here Anymore
Laura Linney, Kinsey
Natalie Portman, Closer
[b]Don't Count Out[/b]: T[u]handie Newton, Crash; Anjelica Huston, The Life Aquatic; Evan Rachel Wood, The Upside of Anger; Naomi Watts, Stay[/u]
Blanchett is playing a loved Hollywood icon, and from the few clips we see of her in the trailers, she looks great. Plus, she's overdue for a win. Hope Davis was a hopeful last year for American Splendor, and hopefull that breakout role will help her get a nomination for Proof. There was strong buzz for Dern at Sundance, and it's been years since she's had an acclaimed performance. Oscar loves a comeback. Linney is alwso an often overlooked actress, and this juicy role may get her another nod. Portman's looking to have a great year with Closer and Garden State, but Closer is apparently a surprising change of pace for Portman, and the buzz for her is great. Newton looked fantastic in the Crash montage. I'm not sure about the roles in Aquatic, but one should never count out Anjelica Huston. Evan Rachel Wood came so close to getting a nod last year (damn you, Keisha Castle Hughes) and if she's half as good in Upside of Anger as she was in Thirteen, she'll definitely be in the race.
Michael Mann, Collateral
Mira Nair, Vanity Fair
Mike Nichols, Closer
[i]Martin Scorsese, The Aviator[/i]
Oliver Stone, Alexander
[b]Don't Count Out[/b]: [u]Zach Braff, Garden State; John Madden, Proof; Paul Haggis, Crash; Wes Anderson, The Life Aquatic[/u]
This is probably the category that Collateral will get some love in. Vanity Fair is a huge production, and I just don't see how Nair woulnd't get a nom. Mike Nichols should ride the Closer high to a nod. But it's looking like it going to be Scorsese's year. He's never won an oscar, and this film looks fantastic. It should finally win him his gold. I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep Stone on the list, because, like I said, I have a gut feeling that Alexander is going to suck. Braff could get indie love for Garden State. If Proof is good, Madden could get his first nom since Shakespeare in Love, but advanced word isn't so hot. If Crash get good reviews Haggis could be looking at a breakthrough nomination. Anderson is always a possibility, but it seems that Aquatic will get more love for it's screenplay
[b]Best Original Screenplay[/b]
[i]Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind[/i]
I Heart Huckabees
The Life Aquatic
[b]Don't Count Out[/b]: [u]Stay, Crash, Collateral, Spanglish[/u]
The Aviator will probably get a nod just for being the Best Picture frontrunner. Eternal Sunshine not only had a fantastic screenplay, but also a huge amount of critical love. This should be Kaufman's year. Garden State was THE Sundance hit, but with Closer looking to be the indie fave this year, Garden State will probably get it's love here. It also has a rather large chance of beating out Sunshine. I Heart Huckabees should be just weird enough to get what "look, we're hip" nomination. Wes Anderson is brilliant. How could Aquatic not get some love. I took Stay off the list because I got weary do to the script for Troy. But Benioff's brilliant 25th Hour keeps Stay in the running. Crash seems to be the character drama of the year. Collateral is a possibility, just judging by the dialogue in the trailer. And the lighthearted Spanglish will probably be in the running, too.
Best Adapted Screenplay[/b]
We Don't Live Here Anymore
[b]Don't Count Out[/b]: [u]A Home at the End of the World, Phantom of the Opera, Ladies in Lavender[/u]
With Closer looking to be the indie darling, this should be an easy win. Finding Neverland will probably nab a nod if it gets a BP nod. Proof will probably land a nod here even if the movie is mediocre, just because of the pedigree of the talent. Vanity Fair is a classic novel and if it's any good at all it's should be a guarenteed nomination. We Don't Live Here Anymore will hopefull follow in the footsteps of In the Bedroom and grab a nomination. A Home at the Endof the World's buzz isn't so hot. Phantom of the Opera is a risky move, and Ladies in Lavender's buzz dropped fast.