Oscar Predictions

In loving imitation of Dan Drezner:
Best Picture:
Will Win: Little Miss Sunshine. It doesn’t have pervasive profanity and violence (unlike The Departed) and it isn’t weird and foreign (unlike the other three nominees). It wins by process of elimination – it just isn’t objectionable. Plus, it won both the SAG and Producer’s Guild awards.
Should Win (of the nominees): The Departed. LMS is great, but The Departed is both a great Scorsese movie (i.e. closer to Goodfellas than to The Aviator) and a Scorsese movie. And it just doesn’t count if he wins director and not picture.
Should Win (period): Pan’s Labyrinth. I rewatched it since gushing about it here, and it just got better. A truly magnificent artistic achievement.
Best Director:
Will Win: Martin Scorsese, The Departed. He won the DGA award, which is a near perfect predictor.
Should Win (of the nominees): Martin Scorsese, The Departed. Even if he made the cinematic equivalent of Metal Machine Music, I’d root for him. Instead, he made the cinematic equivalent of Raw Power, which makes the process easier.
Should Win (period): Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth. Even if this is his only great film, he’ll have quite a legacy because of it.
Best Actor:
Will Win: Forrest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland. I mean, duh.
Should Win (of the nominees): Peter O’Toole, Venus. I mean, duh.
Should Win (period): Sergi López, Pan’s Labyrinth. I mean, duh.
Best Actress:
Will Win: Helen Mirren, The Queen. See Forrest Whitaker.
Should Win (of the nominees): Helen Mirren, The Queen. She’s been earning this for decades now. She deserves this the same way Scorsese and O’Toole do.
Should Win (period): Ivana Banquero, Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s incredible that a 12-year-old can pull off something that extraordinary.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls. Damned if I know why. He did the same performance in Bowfinger, and he did it better.
Should Win (of the nominees): Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine. Same career-capping reasons as Mirren, Scorsese, and O’Toole, but he also gave one killer performance.
Should Win (period): Álex Angulo, Pan’s Labyrinth. Are you sensing a pattern here? Anyway, he makes what could have been a hagiographic role complicated and interesting, which leads one to respect his character more than if he were just a Christ figure.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls. Apparently the Oscars have turned into the Grammies. I’m sorry, but she’s clearly nominated for singing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” and the Academy has no business handing out awards for singing.
Should Win (of the nominees): Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine. Just as with Banquero, the ability to do a performance like that at her age is truly remarkable.
Should Win (period): Maribel Verdú, Pan’s Labyrinth. It was a marked departure from her role in Y Tu Mamá También, and she pulled it off. The transformation of her quiet fury at the beginning to her violent passion at the end is intoxicatingly brilliant.
An Inconvenient Truth will win best documentary (deservedly), Pan’s Labyrinth will win best foreign film (even more deservedly), and the ceremony will be far, far too long.

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