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Oscar Predictions 2007 by Rayce32 on fest21.com

Tonight, February 25, the world will watch in baited breath to see if one of their cinematic favorites walks away with the industry's highest honor – the Oscar. Every year presents its fair share of surprises, triumphs, heartaches and snubs. What makes this Academy Award ceremony particularly exciting is the monumental year of quality films that it represents. 2006 was a sensational year at the movies, highlighted by an unprecedented number of fine roles for women. With so much great work to choose from, the Academy got quite a lot right with their nominations, but unavoidably snubbed some deserving talents in the process.

Here are some thoughts on who will win, who should win, and who got snubbed.

Best Picture

"Babel"
"The Departed"
"Letters From Iwo Jima"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"The Queen"

Who Will Win: "Babel". A deeply flawed film, albeit a morally ambitious one. In terms of scope, this one seems to fit the Oscar mold more than the others. But watch out for a possible upset to come in the form of "Little Miss Sunshine".

Who Should Win: "The Departed". Sure, it's a genre picture whose only aim is to entertain. But have you ever seen this genre done any better?

Who Got Snubbed: "Children of Men". Visionary, exciting, pulse pounding entertainment that becomes deeper and richer the more you think about it.






Best Director



Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - "Babel"
Martin Scorsese - "The Departed"
Clint Eastwood - "Letters from Iwo Jima"
Stephen Frears – "The Queen"
Paul Greengrass - "United 93"




Who Will Win: Martin Scorsese. The best director of our time. Never won an Oscar. A sledgehammer film in "The Departed". What more do you need to know?


Who Should Win: Martin Scorsese.

Who Got Snubbed: Yes, he was nominated, but Paul Greengrass is clearly the director who will be snubbed this year. In truth, his was the bravest and most accomplished piece of directing in 2006. A loss by him in any other year would certainly warrant protest, but the allure of seeing Scorsese finally going home with a golden trophy is far too great.






Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio – "Blood Diamond"
Ryan Gosling – "Half Nelson"
Peter O'Toole – "Venus"
Will Smith – "The Pursuit of Happyness"
Forest Whitaker – "The Last King of Scotland"




Who Will Win: Forest Whitaker. The reviews have been 100% accurate. Whitaker delivers the performance of the year as Idi Amin, the ruthless dictator who charmed as many followers as he eventually massacred. Whitaker's work here is finely detailed, nuanced and completely commanding.


Who Should Win: Forest Whitaker.

Who Got Snubbed: Matt Damon. When are voters going to realize that Damon is quietly strengthening into one of the most complex, subtle actors of his generation? Just take a look at this past year's "The Departed" and "The Good Shepherd" and let me know when you've finished finding the hidden layers in his performances.





Best Actress

Penelope Cruz – "Volver"
Judi Dench – "Notes on a Scandal"
Helen Mirren – "The Queen"
Meryl Streep – "The Devil Wears Prada"
Kate Winslet – "Little Children"

Who Will Win: Helen Mirren. A miraculous performance by a miraculous actress. In "The Queen", she quite literally brings a statue to life.

Who Should Win: Helen Mirren.

Who Got Snubbed: Maggie Gyllenhall. Her performance in "Sherrybaby" was all raw nerve-endings. That this all-out portrayal of a selfish, addicted mother got snubbed is a real testament to the overall strength of female roles this year.






Best Supporting Actor






Alan Arkin – "Little Miss Sunshine"
Jackie Earle Haley – "Little Children"
Djimon Hounsou – "Blood Diamond"
Eddie Murphy – "Dreamgirls"
Mark Wahlberg – "The Departed"

Who Will Win: Eddie Murphy. This is a comeback performance that puts many of Murphy's wondrous talents on display. The more mature nature of the role (at least compared to many of Murphy's recent efforts), coupled with the tremendous sense of goodwill the industry seems to have towards him at the moment, should make his win inevitable.

Who Should Win: Jackie Earl Haley. This is the real comeback story. Haley has been off the radar since he was a teen. Remember "Bad News Bears"? Nearly thirty years later, he returns with a challenging performance that is frightening, creepy and heartbreaking in equal measure.

Who Was Snubbed: Ben Affleck, Jack Nicholson and Steve Carell. Affleck regained credibility with his performance as fallen actor George Reeves in "Hollywoodland". It seemed that Oscar favorite Jack Nicholson would have been a shoo-in for a nomination over Walberg for "The Departed". Meanwhile, Alan Arkin is always a hoot in any movie he's in. But, if we're talking about a supporting performance from "Little Miss Sunshine", shouldn't the nod go to Steve Carell instead?






Best Supporting Actress



Adriana Barraza – "Babel"
Cate Blanchett – "Notes on a Scandal"
Abigail Breslin – "Little Miss Sunshine"
Jennifer Hudson – "Dreamgirls"
Rinko Kikuchi – "Babel"




Who Will Win: Jennifer Hudson. This year's powerhouse performance. Never before has a sung performance from a musical film felt so urgent and real. When Ms. Hudson sings like she means it, the ground shakes beneath her feet and ours.


Who Should Win: Rinko Kikuchi. It's hard to argue with Ms. Hudson's work, but the performance given by Rinko Kikuchi is equally impressive. Hudson's portrayal is an ear-piercing cry of vocal protest, while Kikuchi portrays those same feelings of need, defiance and defeat without making a sound.

Who Got Snubbed: Emily Blunt. Her acidic performance in "The Devil Wears Prada" gave the film more than it's fair share of bite.






Animated Feature



"Cars"
"Happy Feet"
"Monster House"


Who Will Win: "Cars". John Lassiter and Pixar/Disney are generally unstoppable in this category. And it's difficult to argue that their work, by and large, is at all undeserving.

Who Should Win: "Cars".






Best Art Direction



"Dreamgirls"
"The Good Shepherd"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest"
"The Prestige"



Who Will Win: "Pan's Labyrinth". Real world period set pieces. Fantastical dreamscapes. All on an indie budget.


Who Should Win "Pan's Labryinth".




Best Cinematography



"The Black Dahlia"
"Children of Men"
"The Illusionist"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"The Prestige"



Who Will Win: "Children of Men". In one of the toughest categories to call (all of the nominees are spectacularly placed for their achievements in this category), the camera heroics of this futuristic thriller should give it the edge.


Who Should Win: "The Illusionist". It's a real toss-up between this and "Children of Men", but my personal edge goes out to this Edward Norton magician tale. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, this is the most sumptuous and gorgeous photography in any film I saw from last year. Better yet, the look of the picture is perfectly modulated with its aims.

Who Got Snubbed: "The Last King of Scotland". Eye-poppingly vivid colors express the passions and the horrors of the Ugandan people circa 1970's. "Apocalypto". Stunningly visual recreation results from what must have been a horrendously challenging shoot.




Best Costume Design

"Curse of the Golden Flower"
"The Devil Wears Prada"
"Dreamgirls"
"Marie Antoinette"
"The Queen"
Who Will Win: "The Devil Wears Prada". This is a tough category to call. Do you give it to the most exotic? The most fantastical or the most realistic? In this case, I believe it will be the film that is defined almost entirely by fashion.

Who Should Win: "The Devil Wears Prada".






Best Documentary Feature



"Deliver Us From Evil"
"An Inconvenient Truth"
"Iraq in Fragments"
"Jesus Camp"
"My Country, My Country"



Who Will Win: "An Inconvenient Truth". This is a strong year for documentaries. Still, with Gore's exposure (particularly amongst the Hollywood elite) and the strength of his message, he's a shoo-in for the award. It's too bad the doc isn't as well structured as it needs to be. If voters sense the same flaws as I did, then look for "Iraq in Fragments" (another more than timely doc) to slip by with the upset win.


Who Should Win: "An Inconvenient Truth". Despite it's flaws, I believe the film's message demands all the recognition it can get.

Best Film Editing




"Babel"
"Blood Diamond"
"Children of Men"
"The Departed"
"United 93"



Who Will Win: Exceptional nominees dominate this category as well, but I believe the multiple storyline nature of "Babel" will secure its win.


Who Should Win: "United 93". One of the most powerful and effecting films of the year, due in no small measure to the masterful editing, which brought out the simultaneous chaos that erupted in a variety of locations and the real-time element that only makes the suspense that much more heartbreaking.



Best Foreign Language Film




"After the Wedding"
"Days of Glory (Indigenes)"
"The Lives of Others"
"Pan's Labyrinthe"
"Water"



Who Will Win: "Pan's Labyrinthe". A film that expresses childhood fantasy as vividly as it does war-torn horrifics, this is the highest-profile of the foreign films and will undoubtedly take home the golden trophy.


Who Should Win: "Pan's Labyrinthe".





Best Makeup




"Apocalypto"
"Click"
"Pan's Labryinthe"



Who Will Win: "Pan's Labryinthe". This is the most obvious of the three, and the most likely. However, if the voters are more interested in spreading the wealth, you might want to watch out for a sneak "Apocalypto" win.


Who Should Win: "Click". No, just kidding. "Pan's" is where this honor belongs.

Best Original Score




"Babel"
"The Good German"
"Notes on a Scandal"
"Pan's Labyrinthe"
"The Queen"


Who Will Win: "The Queen". Critical consensus seems to be behind this score above all others. And, perhaps most importantly, Helen Mirren has been vocal about how greatly the score helped to enhance her onscreen performance.




Who Should Win: "Babel". Out of the five nominees, this is the most eclectic, surprising and moving score.


Who Got Snubbed: "The Fountain" and "Apocalypto", which turns out to be one of the strongest James Horner scores in quite some time.



Best Original Song




"I Need to Wake Up" – "An Inconvenient Truth"
"Listen" – "Dreamgirls"
"Love You I Do" – "Dreamgirls"
"Our Town" – "Cars"
"Patience" – "Dreamgirls"


Who Will Win: "Listen". Dramatic and powerful, this tune has been too unjustly overshadowed by Hudson's performance of "And I am Telling You". Until now.

Who Should Win: "Listen".

Who Got Snubbed: Prince. His theme from "Happy Feet" was booted in favor of one more unremarkable "Dreamgirls" tune. No matter – the Purple One already won his Oscar years ago. But it would have made for a helluva live performance on the show.








Best Short Film – Animated




"The Danish Poet"
"Lifted"
"The Little Matchgirl"
"Maestro"
"No Time for Nuts"



Best Guess: "The Little Match Girl"



Best Short Film – Live Action




"Binta and the Great Idea"
"One Too Many"
"Helmer & Son"
"The Saviour"
"West Bank Story"


Best Guess: "The Saviour"








Best Sound Editing



"Apocalypto"
"Blood Diamond"
"Flags of Our Fathers"
"Letters From Iwo Jima"
"Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest"


Who Will Win: "Letters From Iwo Jima". The furious sounds of battle will assure this one it's sole win.

Who Should Win: "Letters From Iwo Jima"





Best Sound Mixing




"Apocalypto"
"Blood Diamond"
"Dreamgirls"
"Flags of Our Fathers"
"Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest"




Who Will Win: "Dreamgirls".


Who Should Win: "Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest"







Best Visual Effects




"Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest"
"Poseidon"
"Superman Returns"


Who Will Win: "Pirates". We've seen a man fly before….we've certainly seen a sunken boat…so you can thank squid face for this win.

Who Should Win: "Pirates"



Best Screenplay – Adapted
"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
"Children of Men"
"The Departed"
"Little Children"
"Notes on a Scandal"




Who Will Win: Tough call. But I think "The Departed" has the strongest shot. The script is a top-notch example of what this genre can be. And it's surprisingly funny and insightful about characters. But what the hell is "Borat" doing in this category?


Who Should Win: Probably "Little Children" – for the daring of its subject and the delicate balancing act that went into to making it all come together.

Best Screenplay – Original




"Babel"
"Letters from Iwo Jima"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Pan's Labyrinthe"
"The Queen"


Who Will Win: This is a real toss up between "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Babel". I'll go with my preference – the infinitely more ambitious "Babel".

Who Should Win: "Babel".

Who Got Snubbed: "The Fountain" – Very ambitious, a little wacky, but – above all else – original.

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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