And All That Shite... Oscar Predictions


WILL WIN: Chicago. At this point, is there any doubt? Too many people hate The Hours and Gangs of New York, not enough have seen The Pianist, and the final installment of The Lord of the Rings will have a better chance (and better reason) to win next year.

SHOULD WIN: Chicago. It’s not as deep as The Pianist or as “tailored made for prestigious awards” as The Hours. But it’s certainly a hell of a lot more fun, and a much better, if less visionary work than Moulin Rouge. Don’t let the hype distract you; it’s worthy.


WILL WIN: Rob Marshall. All he has against him is inexperience, although that wasn’t a problem three years ago for Sam Mendes. Directing a musical ain’t easy, so expect Marshall to get the award because he made it look so effortless and seamless. I’ll be shocked if they give the award to Scorsese for such a mediocre effort as Gangs of New York, sympathy be damned.

SHOULD WIN: Pedro Almodovar. He made Talk To Her also seem so breathtaking by carefully handling the shifting tones and outlandish plot twists so that they did not seem jarring or ridiculous at all.


WILL WIN: Daniel Day-Lewis. The academy sure loves its scene shredders (see Denzel, Russell, Roberto, Jack)… the only truly honorable winner of this award in the past five years was Kevin Spacey for American Beauty, and even that performance had its share of bravura and showiness.

SHOULD WIN: Jack Nicholson. I’ve been going back and forth between him and Michael Caine, and as much as I admire the latter’s stunning presence in The Quiet American, I can’t overlook the astonishing final scene from About Schmidt. Nicholson has rarely shown more nuance or complexity, and that’s remarkable for Mr. You-Can’t-Handle-The-Truth.


WILL WIN: Nicole Kidman. There’s nothing the Academy likes more than dramatic physical transformations (Hillary Swank), and though her Virginia Woolf isn’t nearly as intriguing as Swank’s Brandon Teena, she’s fine, and too many people thinks she deserves this award after not getting it for Moulin Rouge. Zwelleger or Moore could upset, but Chicago’s already going to get a buttload of awards, and not enough people have seen Far From Heaven.

SHOULD WIN: Julianne Moore. Without a doubt, she gave the year’s best, riskiest performance in a film that should have received more nominations. Just compare her awesome work here to her middling turn in The Hours and that should be reason enough to give her the award.


WILL WIN: Chris Cooper. Christopher Walken could easily upset, and sure, Adaptation’s audience is miniscule compared to Catch Me If You Can’s, but can anyone who has seen the former deny Cooper the award? Without trying to sound hyperbolic, he’s brilliant and the reason for seeing the film (more so than Cage or Streep.) SAG aside, everyone seems to agree.

SHOULD WIN: Chris Cooper. See above. Of the other nominated performances, I’ve only seen John C. Reilly (nearly as brilliant, but the role is way too small and I’d like to see him win for something meatier) and Ed Harris (barf--the year’s most dubious nod).


WILL WIN: Catherine Zeta-Jones. If any of Chicago’s acting nominations are going to win, it’ll be her. On her side, she has that electrifying opener, and she never lets you forget who’s the more talented performer in her scenes with Zwelleger. Latifah’s role is too small, and Bates was great but all she has going for her with the Academy is the audacity to appear nude in a hot tub. Streep could sneak in, but I think Cooper will get the kudos for that film instead.

SHOULD WIN: Kathy Bates. So what if she’s already won an Oscar for an arguably better role (Misery)? She leaves a most indelible impression in About Schmidt, as likable and funny as she is oddly unsettling. And you cannot possibly underrate that brave and crazy hot tub scene.


WILL WIN: The Hours. Face it; this was a difficult one to adapt. It didn’t capture every nuance of the book as one would hope, but at least it’s true to Cunningham’s story and far from embarrassing. It also helps that while the book isn’t the most middle of the road choice out there, the screenplay undoubtedly is.

SHOULD WIN: Adaptation. This is a tough one. About Schmidt was criminally snubbed in this category (among others), and I have reservations about all five screenplays. However, even though Charlie (and let’s not forget Donald) Kaufman’s adaptation bears little resemblance to the book and those last fifteen minutes are pretty debatable, the sheer ingenuity of what proceeds them is staggering.


WILL WIN: Far From Heaven, to atone for the many nominations it should’ve received. I do have this nagging fear that it could just as well go to My Big Fat Greek Abomination, but I have to believe, humongous box office aside, the academy will award style and substance over a film devoid of both.

SHOULD WIN: Y Tu Mama Tambien. Talk To Her and Far From Heaven are nearly as worthy, but this is really the year’s best film.