So I leave you with my predictions. They’re influenced both by my own experiences with the films and by what experts and bloggers are saying. Come Oscar night, I’ll probably change a few selections, but as of Friday, this is what I think. I haven’t included the categories for shorts since I haven’t seen them and I haven’t read enough about them.
Feel free to comment! Let me know if you agree/disagree/think I’m completely brilliant. And whatever you do, please watch the Oscars on Sunday on ABC at 8 ET/7 Central. Bill Condon, the director of Dreamgirls, is producing the telecast, so it’s guaranteed to have some pizzazz. And Hugh Jackman is hosting! Jackman is a brilliant Tonys host, so I have every confidence that he will do a spectacular job on Sunday night. Enjoy the awards and make your own predictions below in the comments section!
Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
This is the easiest prediction of the year. Do I really have to go into detail?
Director, Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Hollywood’s love affair with Slumdog will earn Danny Boyle a Best Director win. Best Picture and Best Director winners usually come from the same film, except for the Crash debacle of 2005. I would say, “Poor Ang Lee,” but he still ended up with an Oscar on his mantle.
Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
This race is between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), and it’s honestly a toss-up right now. Experts are giving the edge to Penn, but it could easily go to Rourke, one of the many comeback kids of 2008. On a personal note, I was thrilled about Richard Jenkins’ nomination for The Visitor. He had some early Oscar buzz when the film was released this summer, but the earlier in the year a film is released, the more difficult it is to get nominated. So congrats to Jenkins! He’s my sentimental favorite.
Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
I desperately want this to happen, and it really looks like it will. At age 33, Winslet is the youngest person to receive six Oscar nominations, but she hasn’t won yet. A loss this year would be the most painful and frustrating one yet since she is closer than ever. Her double win at the Golden Globes certainly helped. At the SAG Awards, she took home the trophy for her Oscar-nominated role in The Reader but not for her role in Revolutionary Road, which bodes well for Oscar night. Her biggest competition is Meryl Streep (Doubt), who won best actress at the SAG Awards. Actors make up the largest voting branch of the Academy, so they’ll be split with Winslet and Streep competing in the same category.
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
It looks like my darling Patrick Verona from 10 Things I Hate About You will actually win a posthumous award for his chilling turn as the Joker inThe Dark Knight. Right after Ledger’s death, it seemed unlikely that this win was even possible. After all, Peter Finch (Network) is the only person to ever win a posthumous acting award. But once the world saw The Dark Knight, we knew Ledger would at least garner a nomination. Now he has swept award season, and it is all but guaranteed that we will see his family accepting the Oscar on his behalf at Sunday’s ceremony. It’s a fitting tribute to my teenage crush and a fine actor that we lost too soon.
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt
Most experts are going with Penelope Cruz (Vicky Christina Barcelona) in this category, but I’m going to stick by Viola Davis. She’s Cruz’s fiercest competition, but Davis could suffer from vote splitting since Doubt co-star Amy Adams is also nominated in this category. Davis may only appear in about 10 minutes of Doubt, but hers is the most memorable performance of the film. She actually managed to make me forget that Meryl Streep was in the scene. Cruz has an Oscar coming her way someday, especially after 2006’s Volver, but for now I just can’t shake off Davis’ performance.
Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Potential Upset: Wall-E
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Animated Film: Wall-E
Interestingly enough, Kung Fu Panda beat out Wall-E for Best Animated Feature at the Annie Awards. But even if actual animators prefer Panda, the rest of the Academy is in love with those adorable robots.
Foreign-Language Film: Waltz with Bashir
Potential Upset: The Class
Documentary: Trouble the Water
The favorite in this category is Man on Wire, but Trouble the Water is close behind. I’ll pick the underdog just for the sake of wanting a few upsets at the Oscars.
Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
No stopping the momentum…
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
I’m a sucker for amazing cinematography, and I truly believe this belongs to Slumdog this year. I wasn’t as fascinated by the cinematography as I was with last year’s winner, There Will Be Blood, but still add this category to Slumdog’s Oscar count.
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
From all this talk about Slumdog Millionaire, you wouldn’t know that Benjamin Button actually garnered the most Oscar nods at 13. The slightly overrated but visually stunning film will win in the art categories.
Costume Design: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I’m going to foolishly break tradition and go against the period piece in this category—The Duchess. Button’s 13 nominations could influence voters to choose it in the categories it’s not competing against Slumdog.
Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This film is extremely reliant on the makeup department, and they do a stunning job.
Score: Slumdog Millionaire
I’m starting to get tired of choosing Slumdog…
Song: "Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire
Although I’m completely unsatisfied by this list of only three nominees, I’ll go with “Jai Ho” because it’s fun to dance to, and it’s the signature song from the film. In a perfect world, I would be choosing The Boss, but confusing voting rules that I don’t understand stopped that from happening.
Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Um…did you see Benjamin Button? It’s 11½ hours of visual effects.
Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
This category should be renamed “The Action Movie Award.”
Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight
Since no musical is nominated in this category, the win will certainly go to The Dark Knight. Notably absent is 20-time nominee and 20-time loser Kevin O’Connell. But since his only films in 2008 were The Ruins and Space Chimps, his odds for a nomination weren’t high. Better luck with Public Enemies in 2009, Kevin. I’m sure you also did an admirable job in Hotel for Dogs.