Oscar Predictions: The Exhaustive Guide

“The Oscars. They are supposed to be the top notch thing in Hollywood. They are supposed to be the best of the very best…but sometimes I wonder.” – J Jammer
I had originally asked our resident film critic J Jammer to give me his picks for who he thought would win the Oscars this year.

What he gave me was FIFTEEN PAGES of analysis. How the Hell am I supposed to keep up with that?

So submitted for your consideration here, is a detailed look at the nominees and our predictions for who is going to go home carting off the big brass ring of Hollywood. (I only throw my two cents in here and there to offer some counterpoint.)

And keep in mind that if you really want to predict who is going to be an Oscar winner, best bet is to keep your own opinion out of it. For more information on this, check out our article on how to pick a winner

And away we go...

Actor – Leading

Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond) – Did not see the movie. I saw the preview over and over again and even though I might have had interest in seeing it I lost it after the billionth time I saw it previewed. It overdosed me on it. Based on what I saw DiCaprio did an accent and he seemed to have a range of emotion of anger---not very new nor very interesting and that seems a tad boring. So even though I think he’s a great actor I do not think he’ll win at all.

Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) – I’ve seen him in other films just not this one. People would remember him mostly from The Notebook and he acted great in that movie and I’m sure he did a fantastic job in this movie as well…without a doubt but I think based on his age and his inexperience he will not be getting the award this go around though I’m sure he’ll get it sometime later.

Peter O’Toole (Venus) – Didn’t see this movie either. I never even heard of this movie. He’s the oldest man nominated, if I’m not mistaken. It’s as if they have to nominate an old person just because…and just because they do doesn’t mean they deserve to win. I’ve seen him in other movies and he’s a good actor but I don’t think he’ll be winning this time.

Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) – I’m sick of people going OMG that’s not how you spell happiness…duh really? See the movie and shut up. I think that Will Smith did a fantastic job in this movie but it’s not the best acting I’ve seen from him. I mean it was awesome on his part and I love his acting but for the Oscar not good enough to win but apparently good enough to be nominated.

Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) – Which leaves me with Mr. Whitaker and another movie I did not see. I’ve seen his acting a lot. He amazes me a lot and based on that and him being nominated for a film I am going to wager that he is going to win the Oscar for this category. I think he’s most deserving out of all five. He’s work hard in his career and he doesn’t disappoint in whatever part he has in any movie he’s ever been in.

The Oscar Goes To….. Forest Whitaker

Judge’s take:
Forest Whitaker has really stepped up the acting in the past several years. Same with DiCaprio and Smith. But my vote is for Peter O’Toole. He’s been a solid actor in over 80 films and between 1963 and 1983, O’Toole racked up seven Academy Award nominations without ever winning it. He should have walked away with it for his performance in “Lawrence of Arabia” – probably one of the greatest films ever made - but lost to Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird” that year. My guess is that the Academy realizes that Peter’s got the chops and might give him a mercy Oscar before he finally takes that last exit off the stage. If not, I expect some kind of a “lifetime achievement” Oscar for O’Toole next year.

Actor – Supporting

Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) – I saw this movie and it is one of my favorite movies. It’s awesome and funny and Arkin does a great job at making me laugh and being that speak his mind grandfather. He made the movie funny when he had a scene in it but I don’t think what he did was good enough to win an Oscar.

Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children) – I saw a little snip it of his acting in the movie and I think he has a great chance of winning. A great chance. I don’t think I’ve seen many movies with him in it so I have nothing to go on other than what I saw in that clip.

Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) – Just like with DiCaprio I only seen him on the trailer and based on that I think he spends most of the movie within one emotional state and it is frustration and anger so I don’t see how his range would show him being a worthy winner of the Oscar. I think he’s a great actor but I don’t think his acting in the movie would have him win.

Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls) – The movie was excellent. Eddie Murphy has become a great actor. His role in the movie was one of emotional range and it showed him from a high-high to a low-low and I think that is what an actor should have to go through in order to win an award. I think they should show range. I think that he has a great chance of winning this Oscar.

Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) – I thought the movie was greatly done with the writing and the casting. I enjoyed Wahlberg’s part in the movie. I think he did great with the silent gestures. But I think what he did was good enough to make the movie awesome but not good enough to snag the award. I think he should be happy for being nominated and understand that he most likely will not win.

The Oscar Goes To…it’s a hard choice between Jackie Earle Haley and Eddie Murphy. I think they have a battle going on here and I think that Jackie Earle Haley will win.

Judge’s Take:
I had one of those “Oh shit! Its HIM!” Moments the other day over Jackie Earle Haley when I realized he played the leather-jacket punk pitcher Kelly Leak in the original “Bad News Bears.” He’s had a rough time with Hollywood – falling into the typical child actor getting older curse - and the fact that he’s even nominated is a credit to his dedication and stick-to-itiveness with the craft.

I think this category is a tough one to call, but my vote for who I think the Academy will give the nod to will be Arkin for similar reasons as Peter O’Toole. Arkin’s been nominated for three Oscars, four Emmy’s and five Golden Globes, winning the globe only once in 1966 for “The Russians are Coming the Russians are Coming.” Why Arkin for the Oscar? Three reasons: He’s got a long career full of solid work, he’s getting old and he’s due.

Actress – Leading

Penelope Cruz (Volver) – I’ve never seen this movie nor have I heard of it. Though I watched the trailer on Yahoo and it seems like she has her self a good movie there. From what I saw she seemed to handle the movie quite well and from what I’ve seen before she is a good actress.

Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal) – I’ve never seen this movie either. But from what I know of Dench is that she does not fail when she gives a performance. However, I don’t think she will be able to win this go around.

Helen Mirren (The Queen) – I saw this movie and it was a very good movie. The way Mirren portrayed the Queen was excellent and smooth. I believe that she has a chance of winning but not a huge chance…more so than most of the nominated women.

Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) – She made this movie. Streep is a great actress and her role in the movie was a bitter old woman. To see this from her sweet acting in A Prairie Home Companion is a grand contrast and it shows her versatile nature as an actress.

Kate Winslet (Little Children) -- Winslet is a good actress but her time is not now.

The Oscar Goes To…It’s a hard choice. I think that Helen Mirren should win.

Judge’s Take:
Penelope? Not a chance. Winslet is good and she is developing a solid body (snicker) of work to her credit, but when you are up against Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep, I think it’s best to practice your “its an honor just to be nominated” speech.

Streep was great in “The Devil Wears Prada” but was it Oscar-worthy? Honestly, I don’t think so. She had a fun character to play, but it was very two-dimensional. In my mind, it comes down to Mirren and Dench neck and neck. Much has been said publicly about “The Queen” so my guess is that the Academy will go for the popular vote on this one and give it to Mirren. I’ll probably be wrong on this one, but its a coin toss.

Actress – Supporting

Adriana Barraza (Babel) – Babel is interesting because all the actors seem to have a small role that doesn’t add up to a whole role. Out of everyone in that movie I remember her the most. At the beginning her performance was minor because she was just the nanny but by the time the movie got to the end and she was wondering around the border looking for the kids---she became outstanding.

Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal) – Blanchett doesn’t disappoint with her shining performances in any movie. She agrees to act she agrees to make the character special and stand out. It’s hard to win another Oscar after already winning one so I don’t think she will win based on that.

Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) – Children being nominated is interesting within itself. Her being nominated is not a mistake because her acting was unique and made her memorable. She has a strong chance of winning.

Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) – I did not like her on American Idol. I thought she over sang and was way too loud for her own good. In Dreamgirls I believe that Hudson worked hard and gave the best performance she could give and I was amazed. I loved seeing her on the screen and loved every single scene she was in. I think she has the strongest chance of winning.

Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) – I’ve already stated how Babel had a lot of characters and Kikuchi’s was memorable but not as much as Barraza’s was. Kikuchi had to do most of her acting with gestures and she did so eloquently with style.

The Oscar Goes To…It’s almost a three way tie between Barraza, Breslin and Hudson. Breslin did a great job but I have to pick one so she would be in the bottom rung of the three. So it’s between Barraza and Hudson and the funny thing is they both made me like their scenes. I’m going to go with Hudson and I hope that when she wins she thanks the show that brought her there…otherwise I will just lose all kinds of respect for her.

Judge’s Take:
Rinko Kikuchi was nominated without uttering a single line of dialog in Babel. That’s pretty damn impressive, but is the gimmick enough to win the hearts of the voting members of the academy? I don’t know. Meanwhile, there’s been much hype over Dreamgirls - and I think the Academy will play to the popular vote on this one. Its a shot in the dark, but I think Hudson’s got it.

Animated Feature

Cars – I really like this movie because of the friendship aspect. It had humor and drama and a bit of race car action.

Happy Feet – I did not like this movie as much as I had hoped. The singing was great but the lack of it as much as the commercial lead to believe was a let down…as was the dragged out storyline.

Monster House – seems to be a filler to make it three nominated films instead of two.

The Oscar Goes To…Cars because it had it all and gave what it promised.

Judge’s Take:
My vote is for Cars, hands down. However, if those damn dancing penguins win I am going to scream.

Art Direction

Dreamgrils – The sets were well done but over all it wasn’t anything that just jumped out and said LOOK AT ME…so really they were boring in respects to being nominated.

The Good Shepherd - I didn’t see this movie based on me believing it would be boring and the fact that the preview put me to sleep leads me to believe that not only would the story line be lackluster so would the sets.

Pan’s Labyrinth – Amazed. It was well done and the color difference between the fairy tale aspect and reality was wowing.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Great sets. Great as always.

The Oscar Goes To…Pan’s Labyrinth because their sets are just the best.

Judge’s Take:
This one is all about how artsy-fartsy a film can get and you cant get any more artsy-fartsy than Pan’s Labyrinth. My vote is this one is a shoe-in.


The Black Dahlia
Children of Men
The Illusionist
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Prestige

The Oscar Goes To…It’s between Children of Men, The Illusionist, and The Prestige. I think the two magician movies will cancel one another out therefore leaving Children of Men to win.

Judge’s Take:
Children of Men – both for the cinematography and for the deep political undertone of the film. Although this one is also a tough one to call.

Costume Design

Curse of the Golden Flower
The Devil Wears Prada
Marie Antoinette
The Queen

The Oscar Goes To…Marie Antoinette. They had awesome vibrant colors in that movie along with great costumes that stood out more than the movie did and it tried.

Judge’s Take:
Oh look: a film based in 18th century France, full of big poofy costumes, powdered wigs, huge palaces and horse-drawn carriages. What a surprise that it’s nominated for an Oscar. And its directed by Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter as well. Give this one to the film already and let’s move on.

I hate when the movie is not nominated in both categories of Best Director and Best Picture.
Babel – There are several stories that go on in this movie and they are woven well so as to not to stick with one too long. The time is split right so that one doesn’t forget what is going on in another story line. The actors also give very good performances.

The Departed – The ending sticks out as an amazing feat of film. What occurs during the last few moments of the film happen quickly and they make the movie worth seeing. I like when I don’t know what is to happen next and this movie certainly gives me that much.

Letters from Iwo Jima – Did not see it but based on Flags of Our Fathers this would be a well-directed movie.

The Queen – The movie focused on the Queen as the title suggests and showed a different aspect of the Royal Family than what I’ve ever seen and because of that I think the movie was superb.

United 93 – The entire movie takes place on a plane and because of that it is already a difficult feat to make it great. For what there was to work with and the sensitive nature of the story I believe that it was done.

The Oscar Goes To…I don’t think The Queen will win because it’s not apparent what was done directing wise. The Departed seems to have the greatest chance of winning United 93 has a chance but I don’t think it’s great other than it would be nice that it occurred. Letters From Iwo Jima has a chance but I don’t think it’s a great chance. Therefore I think it’s between The Departed and Babel. I’m going to go with The Departed.

Judge’s Take:
All I gotta say is “Goodfellas,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “Raging Bull”, and “Taxi Driver.” Martin Scorsese’s been nominated seven times throughout his career, yet he’s never won the Oscar. The fact that he doesn’t have a statuette collecting dust on his shelf is downright insulting to the art of filmmaking. I am hoping that the Academy will see things my way as well and do something to correct this detestable oversight post haste.

Documentary Feature
I didn’t see ANY of these films so mostly I’m deciding based on if I like the name or not.

Deliver Us From Evil – Love the name. It’s creative and it’s a known phrase. I think it would make for a great documentary.

An Inconvenient Truth – I know of this documentary but did not have interest in seeing it at all. I’m sort of sick of hearing about global warming and so I hope it doesn’t win because if it does win there will be more yammering about it.

Iraq in Fragments – Same with this movie if it wins more yammering about Iraq this and that and this and that and this might sound ignorant on my part but I’m sick of global warming so now add Iraq to the list. Where’s the documentary on how illegal aliens are invading America?

Jesus Camp – No.

My Country, My Country – This might be about illegal aliens but the redundant nature of the title makes me sick.

The Oscar Goes To… Deliver Us From Evil because the name rocks and it seems cooler than the others on that alone.

Judge’s Take:
Most people never see the documentaries or short films, which make them great tie-breakers in most office Oscar contests. My pick is for “An Inconvenient Truth” but the Academy loves the opportunity to jab President dumbass, so they may go for the one with “Iraq” in the title.

Documentary Short

Again I did not see any of the following so it’s just going to be based on first thing that comes to mind when I read the title.

The Blood of Yingzhou District – Sounds like a battle ground. Sounds bloody. Sounds a tad graphic for a Short…geeze.

Recycled Life – Interesting name here. It makes it seem like someone is starting off with a new slate in the middle of an old life.

Rehearsing a Dream – Trying to do something that was only thought of and now it gets to actually be done for real.

Two Hands – Disturbing….the FCC should pull the name because of the implications alone.

The Oscar Goes To…Recycled Life because it sounds way more creative and interesting than the rest of them.

Judge’s Take:
Not a clue. Throwing my magic dart at my magic dartboard tells me I need to get out more. I am going to pick “Two Hands” for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Film Editing

Babel – Different stories within one film there is a lot of going back and forth and I think that the editing done in the movie was good.

Blood Diamond – Didn’t see it but I do know there’s two main stories between three people.

Children of Men – I know there is one scene that was shot and it was about 14 minutes total and that is amazing considering that if they messed up they had to start over and that scene is simply spectacular.

The Departed – Nothing stands out about editing from this movie at all.

United 93 – The camera movements during this movie and the way they had to shoot it I think it did a fantastic job.

The Oscar Goes To…It’s a battle between Children of Men and United 93 and it’s close. I think that they both did a great job. I’m going to have to go with United 93 though.

Judge’s Take:
The Departed - fantastic film. Great editing work, and a master at the helm. It deserves the Oscar.

Foreign Language Film

After the Wedding
Days of Glory
The Lives of Others
Pan’s Labyrinth

The Oscar Goes To…Pan’s Labyrinth because I saw it and it was good and it was neat and I don’t think those that I didn’t see can live up to what I did see. So there!

Judge’s Take:
Pan’s Labyrinth – when compared to the others, they just dont stand a chance.

Make Up

Apocalypto – They had all kinds of make up in this movie dealing with facial markings. If quantity is the winner than here you go.

Click – Huh?

Pan’s Labyrinth – This fairy tale is brutal and within brutal is a massive need for make up to make people look like they’ve been bashed in the face with bottles. So I squirmed at the sight of some of what I saw and therefore this wins.

The Oscar Goes To…Pan’s Labyrinth.

Judge’s Take:
Labyrinth had more complicated work going on, so technically its the favorite. I’ll pick this one for the win.

Original Score

Babel – Loved it.

The Good German – don’t know of it so it sucked.

Notes on a Scandal – ditto.

Pan’s Labyrinth – Wanted it.

The Queen – Interesting.

The Oscar Goes To…Babel. I remember it as very fitting for the movie and the fact that I can still hear it in my head means it was pretty darn good.

Judge’s Take:
No clue. I’ll guess Babel

Original Song

“I Need To Wake Up” (An Inconvenient Truth) – Never heard it.

“Listen” (Dreamgirls) – I remember this one.

“Love You I Do” (Dreamgirls) – I don’t remember this one too well.

“Our Town” (Cars) – It was alright.

“Patience” (Dreamgirls) – must have heard this one.

The Oscar Goes To…Listen is the best one out of all of them…even the one I didn’t hear.

Judge’s Take:
Three songs from the same film nominated? And it’s a film about songs? Please. I am voting for “Our Town” just to spite Dreamgirls.

Best Picture

Babel – Three hours of different story lines that show how communication is important by showing you how people don’t communicate well. It’s one of those movies that are worth seeing and yet after seeing it not feeling the need to ever see it again. So I don’t know if it deserves to be Best Picture if it gives away that feeling.

The Departed – This movie is about two spies one in the police department and one in the mob. It’s interesting storyline that is made so by the script and the amazing cast that is star studded. The ending is quick and a bit twisted. The entire movie is creative and worth a second viewing.

Letters from Iwo Jima - Never seen it but I saw Flags of Our Fathers and it’s based on the same time area and by the same director. And that movie was well done but it was not my type of movie but the movie was well directed and well done and I can not deny that. If Letters From Iwo Jima similar to Flags of Our Fathers than woohoo for it.

Little Miss Sunshine – this movie is funny from beginning to end and it has a great storyline. It takes a road trip with several characters having different problems and by the end they all band together for one goal in which they wouldn’t have done pre-trip. It’s one of those movies that can be viewed more than once. I love that aspect.

The Queen – It is a different perspective on a world known event and for that I’m really glad I saw it. There were lots of weird things that occurred and watching the movie helped explain why things were handled the way they were and it was done in a royal manner.

The Oscar Goes To…to me it is between The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine. I want so bad for Little Miss Sunshine to win but my gut is screaming to tie the Best Director to Best Picture and therefore I’m going to go with The Departed.

Judge’s Take:
Departed. Done. Over. Make an old man happy so we can keep seeing great films from him. Give the guy his due!

Short Film – Animated

The Danish Poet – Poetic….interesting.

Lifted – bra related?

The Little Matchgirl – Cute.

Maestro – Well orchestrated?

No Time For Nuts – This one seems to go hand in hand with the Documentary Short Two Hands.

The Oscar Goes To…I want to say The Little Matchgirl just based on the name alone but the title Lifted is what I’m going to go for. So I say Lifted for the Oscar win.

Judge’s Take:
Whoever. It doesnt matter. No one but the academy saw them anyway.

Short Film – Live Action

Binta And the Great Idea – It could be.

Eramos Pocos -- Too true.

Helmer & Son – Too much like Sandford & Son.

The Savior – no.

West Bank Story – Boring.

The Oscar Goes To…Binta and the Great Idea because it is a great name.

Judge’s Take:
Eramos and Pocos – because I had to pick something.

Sound Editing

Blood Diamond
Flags of Our Fathers
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The Oscar Goes To…I think this is best given to a movie that has a great deal of action so that the sound is actually noticeable. Therefore Dreamgirls is not in the race at all for the win. Dead Man’s Chest is a good movie but it won’t win sound editing. I really think it’s between Apocalypto and Flags of Our Fathers. I will say that Flags of Our Fathers will win.

Judge’s Take:
Was there anything special about any of these that stands out in your mind? My best guess is “Flags of Our Fathers” because war is always noisy.

Sound Mixing

Blood Diamond
Flags of Our Fathers
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The Oscar Goes To…I don’t have time for this….Flags of Our Fathers.

Judge’s Take:
Same pick: Flags of Our Fathers – for the same reason.

Visual Effects

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Amazing job with the sea creature like pirates. The entire movie is like visual candy. Can’t tell where the make up starts and the computer takes over. Nice work.

Poseidon – This movie was amazing for it’s lake of vulgarity. Outside of that nothing else can be said…oh well the wave that hit the ship was new technology. I happen to catch that late night one night, but if that’s it then meh.

Superman Returns – Flying…amazing. Catching a plane in mid-air and wings flying off…amazing. Bullet to eye…super.

The Oscar Goes To…Superman Returns had great effects and I wanted to give it to Dead Man’s Chest but after mental review I’m going to state that Superman Returns snags it.

Judge’s Take:
This one has to go to Pirates. The amount of work that was done to make actors look like half-human/ half sea-creature – and to do it seamlessly without looking overly CGI’d, has to go to the people that developed most of the techniques that Hollywood uses today. Not that Industrial Light and Magic needs another Oscar clogging up their bookcase, but everything else is just silly compared to the amount of work they did on Pirates.

Screenplay – Adapted

Borat Cultural….ect.ect.ect. – Adapted from brain to paper? The movie was funny but I don’t think Oscar worthy would be what it needs…so no.

Children of Men – Great movie. I really liked it. The ending is a little bland for my taste so if that’s adapted then I think I might pass.

The Departed – Well done…well done indeed.

Little Children – Don’t know.

Notes on a Scandal – Don’t know.

The Oscar Goes To…The Departed because I’d read what it was adapted from.

Judge’s Take:
Going with Children of Men on this one. Great concept and way too plausible for modern times.

Screenplay – Original

Babel – I might have thought it was a tad boring but as an original work I think it’s simply amazing and well done. I just could never sit through it all again…ever.

Letters from Iwo Jima – I’m going to guess it’s well done because, again, Flags of Our Fathers is well done.

Little Miss Sunshine – I so love this movie. Comedies tend to have such a difficult time in the Oscars. I want it to win something….*sigh* pushing the van…classic greatness.

Pan’s Labyrinth – Not one of my favorite movies or one I’d buy but oh how creative it is. So creative and well done from start to finish, this makes it difficult to just ignore.

The Queen – It’s a story that needed to be told and I think it was told as greatly as it could ever be told.

The Oscar Goes To…I don’t know. It’s a hard choice. They are all good and I would love for them all to win. But I have to pick one so I’m going to do it by process of elimination. I am going to pick the two most creative of all of them and then decide between those two. The two I go with are Little Miss Sunshine and Pan’s Labyrinth. I love Little Miss Sunshine but the better screenplay has to go to Pan’s Labyrinth.

Judge’s Take:
My vote is for Letters. Eastwood has been getting better and better with his stuff and this one – although a bit too much flag-waving for my taste (quite literally, actually)- will hit hard with the Academy members.

And there you have it. We'll provide a detailed report of the winners after the broadcast.


Anonymous said...

We're not reading your predictions for you to be smug, undecided and uninformed.

The Judge said...

Pity, because you just described EVERY film critic I've ever met.

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