"Excuse me, sir. Did you just win an Academy Award, or are you just glad to see me?"
Favorites Brokeback Mountain and Crash upset by dark horse Munich for Best Picture!
Best Actress winner Judi Dench expresses surprise: “I thought Charlize Theron had it in the bag!”
Ledger, Howard, Phoenix and Hoffman splinter ballot into unrecognizable shards, paving way for Strathairn sneak attack; Best Actor winner rumored to be winner with lowest vote total ever!
Sorry. I’m still riding the high of bowling an upset victory (score: 140) in game #3 and sipping rather generously mixed white Russians with old buddies and new acquaintances at the Lebowski Fest. I just got back home, and I guess I was feeling giddy, so when I realized I wanted to post some last-minute Oscar predictions, I just let my unlikely bowling win inform my thinking as I tumbled around some pretty unlikely scenarios in my head. More on the Lebowski Fest in a post or two. The hour, she is late, and I need to pack my arm in some ice and go to bed. But before I do, let’s get to my real predictions for how Oscar 2005 is going to turn out just about 15 hours from now, with pithy analysis when I feel like it.
This is a two-picture race between Brokeback Mountain and Crash. Since seeing Crash (and pretty much loathing it), I got this creeping feeling that, due to its availability on DVD and its growing popularity, particularly among Los Angelenos with access to Oscar ballots, that this position paper disguised as a drama might take advantage of a minor Brokeback backlash and provide the first real Best Picture upset since Shakespeare In Love kicked Saving Private Ryan’s ass to the curb in 1998. I still think it might happen, and if it does I’ll have to do some research to find out whether Crash would be, as would be my guess, the worst Best Picture winner since Around the World in 80 Days. Deep down, I hope Brokeback Mountain, or Good Night, and Good Luck could somehow reign supreme, but I’m not going to predict any of them. Winner: Crash
Winner: Reese Witherspoon
Philip Seymour Hoffman has seemed like such a sure thing for so long that I think his will be the biggest applecart to be tipped over tonight. The winning applecart tipper: Heath Ledger.
Best Supporting Actress
I’d like to think Michelle Williams could walk away with the award here, and the supporting categories are the ones that often feature unlikely winners (think Marcia Gay Harden or poor, beleaguered Marisa Tomei). But if an upset occurs and front-runner Rachel Weisz loses, it’s gonna be somebody else who does the dirty work of stepping up to the podium in her stead. Winner: Amy Adams
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: George Clooney
No one has the gravitas with voters to steal it away from the Director’s Guild of America’s choice. Winner: Ang Lee
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Brokeback Mountain
Best Original Screenplay
Best Animated Feature
Winner: Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-rabbit
Best Art Direction
Winner: Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Film Editing
The winner of this award usually wins Best Picture. Hey, of the Best Picture nominees, only Crash and Munich are represented here. Winner: Crash
Although I’d hope the voters would have eyes to see, I don’t imagine the awards being divvied out to the degree they’d have to be in order for The New World to win here. Winner: Brokeback Mountain
Best Original Score
Best Original Song
For the first time in memory, there weren’t even five songs bad enough to be nominated for this award. Do anyone other than the nominees care who wins this award? Winner: Crash
Best Costume Design
Winner: Memoirs of a Geisha
Winner: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Best Sound Editing
Winner: Walk the Line
Best Sound Mixing
Winner: King Kong
Best Visual Effects
Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital company will set an Academy Award record for most wins in a row for this category (four) when it takes it again tonight. Winner: King Kong
Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: Paradise Now
Best Documentary Feature
The penguins have had their day, and it was at the box office. It’s someone else’s turn. Winner: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Best Documentary Short Subject
Winner: The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang-Bang Club
Best Animated Short Film
Best Live-Action Short Film
Winner: Six Shooter
Okay, nobody do anything foolish now. If you haven’t filled out your office pool ballot yet, for God’s sake, don’t use this as a template. It’s not even necessarily how I’m going to vote in my office pool, and I refuse to take responsibility for screwing up anybody’s chances at winning other than my own. I went out on a few limbs here just so I’ll look like some sort of prescient genius, an Oscar prognosticator extraordinaire, if something weird happens and I actually get a few of these picks right. My real ballot is likely to be much more conservative than these choices, and both here and in my private predictions there are instances in almost every category where I hope against hope that I'm wrong. The only sure thing is that Robert Altman will receive his honorary Oscar tonight. It’s very near a sure thing that the attendant tribute and his acceptance of the award will be the moments most worth seeing during the 60-hour telecast. What is most uncertain is whether next year’s nominees will comprise a more inspiring crop than the ones that will trot down the red carpet this afternoon. Because I can’t quit you, Oscar, no matter how dumb or wrongheaded or irrelevant you become, and, damn it, you know it. (Although if you give Crash your top award, I might find a way to go cold turkey after all.) The show starts at 5:00 p.m. on ABC-TV. I’m going to bed now and dream a dream in which Maria Bello wins for Best Supporting Actress and Terence Malick fights it out with Wong Kar-wai for front-runner status in the Best Director race.