First of all, how cool is it that Jon Stewart is hosting the Oscars? I really hope that they just rotate Jon, Chris Rock and Steve Martin for the next 10 or 15 years.
So I organized an Oscar Pool at work, just to make the show a little more interesting, and maybe give me something to root for in the less-cared-about categories. We decided to get it down to 12 categories that people could vote on who don't have too much knowledge: Picture, director, the acting and writing awards, song, costumes, and foreign and animated features.
I split a bit between selections that I think will win and selections that I'm going to be rooting for anyway. I don't care that much about the money, which won't be much, I'm just trying to enhance my experience. I kinda wish I'd seen more of the movies. I particularly meant to have seen Brokeback Mountain by now, but things have just been so busy. I managed to watch Walk the Line last night, and I'll see Junebug tonight. I haven't watched March of the Penguins, probably because I heard that a baby penguin dies, and I'm not sure I can take it. Anyway, here's who I'm rooting for:
Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain. Barring Return of the King, this is probably the biggest lock in recent years for Best Picture, maybe since Titanic. So I go with the safe bet.
Director: Ang Lee. Speilberg's already got two, so I can't see the Academy feeling any need for a director-picture split. And I thought Ang should've won for Crouching Tiger back whenever.
Actor: This is the toughest one for me. I feel really strongly about both Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Terrence Howard. PSH has basically been my favorite actor for the last 10 years, but I haven't seen Capote, and I feel really excited about Howard's work in Hustle & Flow. I believe Howard has a chance, as does Ledger. I'm placing my money on the safe bet of Hoffman, but I'll be rooting for them both.
Actress: I know Reese Witherspoon is considered the frontrunner here, but after watching Walk the Line last night, I just don't think it's an Oscar-calliber performance. So I'm betting on the underdog, Felicity Huffman. She plays a tranny, and you know how the Oscars go for that type of thing.
Supporting Actor: OK, George Clooney is probably going to win this one. He's by far the most famous nominee, and well-liked in Hollywood, and he's accomplished a lot this year, plus he uglied up for the role, which always impresses people. Then there's Giamatti, who I love to death, and who got kinda snubbed last year, so it could go to him. Or it could go to Gyllenhaal, since people seem to really love Brokeback. I'm placing another underdog bet here: Matt Dillon. He's been around forever without ever really getting his due, and folks love the idea of a not-taken-seriously actor suddenly proving himself. Plus, he plays a racist, which we all know is such a HUGE stretch for any Hollywood actor, so he gets The Brave Choice Award. But I'll be perfectly happy if Giamatti or Donnie Darko win.
Supporting Actress: I figure this is down to Amy Adams (who seems to have impressed the hell out of everyone) vs. Catherine Keener (who's "due"). I put my money on Adams.
Documentary Feature: As usual, none of my favorites nominated. I guess I wouldn't really expect The Aristocrats, but Grizzly Man should certainly have gotten a nomination. Rooting for Enron (which is fantastic) and Murderball, but we all know the Penguins are gonna take it.
Documentary Short: The Mushroom Club, just based on the title.
Live Action Short: Cashback. Again, just a catchy title.
Art Direction: If I had money on this, I might go with Memoirs of a Geisha, but since I don't, I'll be pulling for Harry Potter.
Costume Design: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, even though I'm positive Geisha is going to win.
Animated Feature: Let me just start by saying that this category has me all kinds of happy. No Disney, no shitty CG flicks, 3 perfectly worthy nominees in a year without a Pixar film. I like all three, but Wallace & Gromit is my favorite, and I'm confident that it's a lock.
Animated Short: I really wish there were some easy way to see all these. Why aren't they posted on the internet? I'm just rooting for all of them, because I love this medium.
Sound Mixing/Sound Editing: If I had money on this, I'd pick War of the Worlds, which probably deserves to win, but since I don't, I get to root for King Kong.
Editing: I figure this will go to Crash, because it's the type of movie where you can see how editing works pretty easily. Unless it's Munich, which is the only one I haven't seen.
Makeup: Will probably go to Narnia. I really don't care.
Original Screenplay: I put my money on Crash, which I'm sure is a lock. I'm not nuts about the movie, but I don't hate it either. It's OK.
Adapted Screenplay: If I'd seen more of these, I might have an opinion. The only one I've seen is Constant Gardener, which is a good script, but I just put my money on Brokeback.
Foriegn Language Film: I was gonna go with Tsotsi, just based on Moriarty'
s and Beaks'
praise for it, but I figure nothing's gonna beat a Palestinian film about suicide bombers in this political environment, right? So I'm betting on Paradise Now.
Score: I dunno...
Song: As with the Animated Features, this category is making me pretty happy. These are all real, actual songs, they all seem to have something to do with the movie, and none of them are the tacked-on showtunes from the Broadway adaptations. That one from Crash is a little Enya-y, but I liked it in the film. Hooray for Dolly Parton, but I'm betting on "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." I mean, how could you not?
Oscar Food: "BBQ" from Dante's Chicken and Ribs. I use quotes because it's not really BBQ--not smoked or anything--but it's not untasty. And they have deep fried dill pickles with chipotle mayonaise dipping sauce. Awesome! And a chance to drain down the excess liquor left over from the party two weekends ago.