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The Oscar Eye with Erik Childress (2006) (Updated 1/17 - FINAL PREDICTIONS)

by Erik Childress

Welcome to the return of The Oscar Eye for 2006. Not to toot the Eye’s horn, but it was the most successful surveyor of the top eight categories in 2005. 37 of the 40 nominations were called right here. With due respect to, it’s also one of the few places that examines ALL of the Oscar categories from Cinematography and Visual FX to Costumes and Sound Effects Editing. The feature also doesn’t subscribe to making guesstimates based on industry buzz or any other “expert” opinion. Until my eyes have seen any of the qualifying films in question, they will remain on the bubble. (Unless we’re talking Emilio Estevez’s Bobby.) But other than that, David Poland’s Gurus of Gold and Tom O’Neil’s Envelope can speculate all they want, fueling the buzz on films that haven’t been screened in their entirety for anyone and adding fuel to the great axiom about assuming. With that being said, let’s get to the assumptions as MY FINAL PREDICTIONS ARE IN!

To check out who is getting the brunt of the awards and nominations on the path to this year’s Oscar race – take a look at The Oscar Eye (Awards Tally).

*************************BEST PICTURE*************************
(*Producers Guild Nominee)

1. Dreamgirls* *People have been calling it a lock since it got greenlit. Why let a little thing like quality stop the voters?
2. The Departed* If Dreamgirls beats this, I’m going to beat someone.
3. Babel* * Leads the Golden Globes with 7 nominations.
4. The Queen* It will continue to draw praise beyond Mirren’s lock of a performance.
5. Little Miss Sunshine* A true indie darling that’s become a hit with audiences and critics alike..
6. Letters from Iwo Jima8 of the last 10 National Board of Review winners have received a nomination.
7. United 937 of NY Critics’ last 10 picks got nominated.
8. Children of MenMoved from September to December. Someone thinks it’s worthy – and it IS!
9. Little ChildrenProbably destined for acting and writing nods.
10. The Good ShepherdDeNiro’s sprawling birth of the CIA could have been this year’s Syriana. Instead it’s this year’s Godfather.

**********************OFF THE TOP TEN FOR NOW **********************
ApocalyptoCritics are trying to make it the buzz film to watch.
Blood DiamondEdward Zwick hasn’t directed a Best Picture nominee yet. The streak will continue.
Flags of Our FathersAs the love for Iwo Jima trickles in, chapter one finally looks like a dead issue.
The Good GermanA beautiful looking but flawed film that probably won’t inspire enough passion for a top nomination.
The Pursuit of HappynessMore Emmy-worthy than Oscar-worthy. Wink.
VolverLook for the Foreign Film nomination. Not here.
World Trade CenterIf the Academy goes soft again, but a split with United 93 will likely keep it out of the running.

Catch a Fire, Fast Food Nation, The Last King of Scotland, The Nativity Story, Notes on a Scandal, The Painted Veil, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Prestige, Venus

Art School Confidential, Borat, Brick, Clerks II, Harsh Times, Inside Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, A Scanner Darkly, V For Vendetta

*************************BEST DIRECTOR*************************
(*Director’s Guild Nominee)

1. Martin Scorsese* (The Departed) – Hopefully the NBR didn’t curse him again. 6 of their last 10 choices haven’t even been nominated.
2. Stephen Frears* (The Queen) – Nominated only once before. 1990. The Grifters. Could sixteen years be as sweet as they say?
3. Alejandro González Iñárritu* (Babel) – A third highly respected film in a row (and arguably his best) will be hard to ignore this year even as the buzz is seaping away.
4. Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima) – Peter Jackson made three back-to-back and got the Oscar. Two should be enough for a nomination.
5. Paul Greengrass (United 93) – Since 1990, the L.A. Crix choice has been nominated.
6. Bill Condon* (Dreamgirls) – It’s not like it’s Adam Shankman directing a musical adaptation of a stage play. Although it may as well have been.
7. Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) – The sheer choreography of this movie deserves a nomination.
8. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris* (Little Miss Sunshine) – The DGA broke their own rules to nominate them.
9. Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) – Could be this year’s surprise nominee, but he’d still have to knock out Eastwood or Greengrass.
10. Todd Field (Little Children) – The Oscars were all over his debut, In The Bedroom.

**********************OFF THE TOP TEN FOR NOW **********************
Robert Altman (A Prairie Home Companion) – Because you can never count out an ensemble piece from him.
Robert DeNiro (The Good Shepherd) – What if HE were to beat Scorsese for Director this year?
Mel Gibson (Apocalypto) – It could be the greatest film ever made and he’d still have to apologize his way to a nomination.
Christopher Nolan (The Prestige) – The reviews were good. The box office decent. But people just aren’t talking about it in terms of awards the way they should be.
Steven Soderbergh (The Good German) – On the Oscar sideline since his dual directing nomination in 2000.
Oliver Stone (World Trade Center) – Will they reward him as a thank you for going soft on the 9/11 film?

Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain), David Ayer (Harsh Times), Sofia Coppola (Marie Antoinette), Allen Coulter (Hollywoodland), Michel Gondry (The Science of Sleep), Mary Harron (The Notorious Bettie Page), John Hillcoat (The Proposition), Spike Lee (Inside Man), Richard Linklater (A Scanner Darkly), Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland), Roger Michell (Venus), Anthony Minghella (Breaking and Entering), John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus), Chris Noonan (Miss Potter), Zhang Yimou (Curse of the Golden Flower), Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond)

Larry Charles (Borat), Rian Johnson (Brick), Neil Marshall (The Descent), James McTeigue (V For Vendetta), Pierre Morel (District B13), Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor (Crank), David Slade (Hard Candy), Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), Terry Zwigoff (Art School Confidential)

*************************BEST ACTOR*************************
(*Screen Actors Guild Nominee)

1. Forest Whitaker* * (The Last King of Scotland) – Nominated or won every major award so far.
2. Peter O'Toole* (Venus) – He plays a great, dying actor with a taste for drink and women. Unfortunately, this may be the last chance to honor him.
3. Will Smith* (The Pursuit of Happyness) – He gets to cry twice, never says “aw, hell no”, runs more than Lola and will have Oprah firmly in his corner.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio* (The Departed) – The performance that puts him in Brando territory. (Nominated for Blood Diamond instead.)
5. Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) – This really should be wishful thinking at this point, but how ‘bout giving a comedic actor his due for once?
6. Ryan Gosling* (Half Nelson) – He’s going to be pushed as this year’s Terrence Howard
7. Matt Damon (The Good Shepherd or The Departed) – The Good Shepherd is ALL him. Universal should campaign accordingly and WB should back off.
8. Ken Watanabe (Letters from Iwo Jima) – Entering the race late with a vengeance. He was good enough for a Last Samurai nomination but he may have actually had more screen time in that film.
9. Christian Bale (Harsh Times or The Prestige) – Only two tremendous performances to choose from now that Rescue Dawn has exited. Choose him already.
10. Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls) – He just won two years ago and this movie seems to be all about the ladies and the other singing actor offering support.

**********************OFF THE TOP TEN FOR NOW **********************
Nicolas Cage (World Trade Center) – He does little but lay around and yet in The Wicker Man gets to scream “OWWWW, MY LEGS!!!”
George Clooney (The Good German) – He just won last year and this role doesn’t have the necessary fire to inspire awards.
Clive Owen (Children of Men) – He’s great as always – just not the type of role that gets awards.

Dominic Cooper (The History Boys), Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond), Matt Dillon (Factotum), Robert Downey Jr. (Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus), Aaron Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking), Laurence Fishburne (Akeelah and the Bee), Morgan Freeman (10 Items or Less), Ed Harris (Copying Beethoven), Hugh Jackman (The Fountain), Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine), Jude Law (Breaking and Entering), Derek Luke (Catch a Fire), Guy Pierce (The Proposition), Denzel Washington (Inside Man), Patrick Wilson (Little Children or Hard Candy)

Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Gridiron Gang), Michael Keaton (Game 6), William H. Macy (Edmond), Hugo Weaving (V For Vendetta)

*************************BEST ACTRESS*************************
(*Screen Actors Guild Nominee)

1. Helen Mirren* * (The Queen) – Nominated or won every award so far.
2. Judi Dench* (Notes on a Scandal) – How do you class up the story of an obsessive lesbian ratting out the woman having an affair with a 15 year-old she wants for herself?
3. Kate Winslet* (Little Children) – A film that’s going to be recognized, first and foremost, for its performances.
4. Meryl Streep* * (The Devil Wears Prada) – Cause the voters just can’t help it.
5. Penelope Cruz* (Volver) – I get Telemundo. I don’t get the praise surrounding this soap opera or this performance.
6. Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherrybaby) – With Gosling looking better and better, she could be the Sundance underdog of the year.
7. Cate Blanchett (The Good German) – Clooney says she’s going to win the Oscar. But she’ll be nominated for Notes on a Scandal in another category.
8. Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee) – If the film was a bigger hit, she’d have a better shot at being this year’s Keisha Castle-Hughes.
9. Naomi Watts (The Painted Veil) – A period piece as the disgruntled wife will always get a mention even if she was better in King Kong.
10. Annette Bening (Running With Scissors) – The film is set for a savaging, but no awards discussion is over until her name is mentioned.

**********************OFF THE TOP TEN FOR NOW **********************
Beyonce Knowles (Dreamgirls) – Could this really happen? Don’t think so.
Sienna Miller (Factory Girl) – The new “It” girl who is going to get the ol’ Weinstein push come Oscar.
Gretchen Mol (The Notorious Bettie Page) – The “It” girl of ’98 finally delivered an “It”-worthy performance that’s likely to be forgotten.
Ellen Page (Hard Candy) – Look for a lot of “breakthrough performance” honors.
Paz Vega (10 Items or Less) – A far spunkier performance than Cruz’s that deserves more mentions.

Juliette Binoche (Breaking and Entering), Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette), Nicole Kidman (Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus), Diane Lane (Hollywoodland), Emily Rios (Quinceañera), Kyra Sedgwick (Loverboy), Renee Zellweger (Miss Potter)

Natalie Portman (V For Vendetta)

*************************BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR*************************
(*Screen Actors Guild Nominee)

1. Eddie Murphy* * (Dreamgirls) – More or less doing his James Brown and Sexual Chocolate, but all of a sudden he’s Oscar-worthy. Where were the voters after Bowfinger or The Nutty Professor?
2. Jackie Earle Haley* (Little Children) – Kelly Leak, the Oscar nominee, is looking good.
3. Djimon Hounsou* (Blood Diamond) – Getting a leg up with NBR’s 80% track record in this category.
4. Alan Arkin* (Little Miss Sunshine) – Indie Spirit the first of many nominations?
5. Jack Nicholson (The Departed) – One of the great performances of modern villainy and the most frightening of his career.
6. Michael Sheen (The Queen) – L.A. Crix choice gives him a 60% chance to break-in.
7. Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) – Look for him to slowly become a contender for a nomination.
8. Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland) – The move to the supporting category is going to give him a leg up.
9. Brad Pitt (Babel) – Placing him in the supporting race (where he should be) is going to help in a weaker than usual race.
10. Adam Beach (Flags of our Fathers) – The film’s only true shot for an acting nomination has the standout Oscar clip, but not much of a performance.

**********************OFF THE TOP TEN FOR NOW **********************
Michael Caine (The Prestige or Children of Men) – He’s Michael Caine and he’s great in both films.
Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine) – Arkin’s kudos may make him more of a longshot.
Robert Downey Jr. (A Scanner Darkly) – A beautifully-rendered manic performance that made the film worth seeing all by itself.
Michael Gambon (The Good Shepherd) – Will probably be this year’s Michael Lonsdale.
Kevin Kline (A Prairie Home Companion) – It’s an atypical comic performance by Kline, but no less enjoyable.
Tobey Maguire (The Good German) – The most miscast role of the film.
Michael Pena (World Trade Center) – If they really want to make something of this film he’s got a shot even though Stephen Dorff’s 8 minutes are far more powerful.
Ben Sliney (United 93) – An even longer shot playing himself, but didn’t R. Lee Ermey once have a shot playing a drill sergeant?
Eli Wallach (The Holiday) – What could have been a lock for a career vote is completely botched by hack Nancy Meyers.

Alec Baldwin (The Departed), Brian Cox (Running With Scissors), James Cromwell (The Queen), Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), Stephen Dorff (World Trade Center), Richard Griffiths (The History Boys), Woody Harrelson (A Prairie Home Companion or A Scanner Darkly), Anthony Hopkins (All the King's Men), Danny Huston (The Proposition), Sergi Lopez (Pan's Labyrinth), John Malkovich (Art School Confidential), Chazz Palminteri (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), Ryan Phillippe (Flags of Our Fathers), John C. Reilly (A Prairie Home Companion), Tim Robbins (Catch a Fire), Martin Sheen (The Departed), Stellan Skarsgård (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns), Ray Winstone (The Proposition)

Sacha Baron Cohen (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby)
Gregg Henry (Slither), Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest)

************************BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS************************
(*Screen Actors Guild Nominee)

1. Jennifer Hudson* (Dreamgirls) – Because she’s really the lead and gets to belt out the showstopper mid-film, voters will be drawn to her mistaking “performance” with performance.
2. Cate Blanchett* (Notes on a Scandal) – The most embarrassing moment of her career seems to be going over well with voters.
3. Rinko Kikuchi* (Babel) – Deaf and damaged, it’s the standout amongst the ensemble and the most notable in a category with few standouts in 2006.
4. Adriana Barraza* (Babel) – Maybe the most heartbreaking story in a film full of it.
5. Abigail Breslin* (Little Miss Sunshine) – The fall-in-love-with performance of the year with the kicker finale.
6. Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) – The best comic performance in a film that appears to be all about Streep.
7. Catherine O’Hara (For Your Consideration) – NBR is only a 50% forecaster in this category, but BFCA just anointed her too.
8. Emma Thompson (Stranger Than Fiction) – She hams it up as the Sylvia Plath-type author but no one is talking.
9. Vera Farmiga (The Departed) – As the only woman in a man’s movie, is it meaty enough to warrant a nomination?
10. Phyllis Somerville (Little Children) – There’s going to be a lot of support for her as the mother of a sex offender.

**********************OFF THE TOP TEN FOR NOW **********************
Maria Bello (World Trade Center) – They keep overlooking and overlooking her. Will they be able to see beyond those contacts though?
Lola Dueñas (Volver) – A lot of women holding this film up besides Penelope Cruz’s bra.
Angelina Jolie (The Good Shepherd) – Probably not big enough to warrant attention.

Sandra Bullock (Infamous), Jessica Biel (The Illusionist), Toni Collette (The Night Listener), Jennifer Connelly (Little Children), Joan Cusack (Friends with Money), Blythe Danner (The Last Kiss), Shareeka Epps (Half Nelson), Jodie Foster (Inside Man), Maggie Gyllenhaal (World Trade Center), Catherine Keener (Friends with Money), Carmen Maura (Volver), Helen McCrory (The Queen), Frances McDormand (Friends with Money), Vanessa Redgrave (Venus), Winona Ryder (A Scanner Darkly), Julia Stiles (Edmond), Hilary Swank (The Black Dahlia), Meryl Streep (A Prairie Home Companion), Lily Tomlin (A Prairie Home Companion)

********************BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY********************
(*Writer’s Guild Nominee)

1. The Queen*8 of NY’s last 10 winners got nominated.
2. Babel* They haven’t honored Guillermo Arriaga yet. It’s time.
3. Little Miss Sunshine* The one place it will be impossible to overlook it.
4. Pan’s Labyrinth – If original means stealing from Beetlejuice and Narnia, then this should be #1.
5. United 93* – The 9/11 script to remember.
6. Stranger Than Fiction* – NBR was fooled by it. How many others will?
7. Letters from Iwo Jima – The more concise and moving of the two screenplays.
8. Volver – Only one writing nomination to Almodovar’s credit.
9. Half Nelson – If they ignore Gosling and want to nominate two Sundancers.
10. The Good Shepherd – Written by Eric Roth, nominated for The Insider and Munich and winner for Forrest Gump, and the script is immaculate.

10 Items or Less, Akeelah and the Bee, Apocalypto, Blood Diamond, Breaking and Entering, Cars, Catch a Fire, Copying Beethoven, Déjà Vu, Factory Girl, Flannel Pajamas, Flushed Away, For Your Consideration, The Fountain, Friends with Money, Harsh Times, The Holiday, Hollywoodland, Inside Man, Lady Vengeance, Look Both Ways, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, Miss Potter, Monster House, The Nativity Story, The Notorious Bettie Page, Over the Hedge, Pan's Labyrinth, The Proposition, The Pursuit of Happyness, Quinceañera, The Science of Sleep, Seraphim Falls, Shortbus, Venus, We Are Marshall

Brick, Game 6, Hard Candy, Idiocracy

************************BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY************************
(*Writer’s Guild Nominee)

1. The Departed* – An improvement upon the original and one of the best crime scripts in years. [/color]
2. Little Children*Acting and writing is where this is at.
3. Thank You for Smoking* – NBR’s last two choices have got in.
4. Notes on a Scandal – Affairs and the writer of Closer doesn’t add up to much.
5. Children of Men – V for Vendetta may be better remembered for its script while this one will be for its action.
6. The Devil Wears Prada* – A USC Scripter nomination actually puts it into the percentages.
7. Dreamgirls – Nowhere close to Chicago’s wit. A spinoff category called “Best Adapted Cliches” would be a lock.
8. Borat* If it’s mostly improvised, where’s the script?
9. The Last King of Scotland – A bad film with a bad script and it came from this book. And yet people seem to like it.
10. The Illusionist – It’s not in the same league, class or ballpark as The Prestige.

*************************OFF THE TOP TEN FOR NOW *************************
Fast Food Nation – Enough respect for the non-fiction into narrative account could make it an outside candidate.
Flags of Our Fathers – The screenplay that can’t decide between three timelines and two narrators is going to have some problems.
The Good German – Old school storytelling that probably doesn’t have enough “new” to make the cut.
Perfume The Story of a Murderer – Sounds like an Oscar film, don’t it? It likely isn’t.
A Prairie Home Companion – Altman’s last adaptation won this Oscar.
The Prestige – The richest piece of writing in 2006.
A Scanner Darkly – Blade Runner and Minority Report were both ignored.
V For Vendetta – A brilliantly crafted work from a graphic novel. Which means it will be ignored.

All the King's Men, Arthur and the Invisibles, The Black Dahlia, Borat, , Candy, Casino Royale, Charlotte's Web, Curse of the Golden Flower, The Da Vinci Code, Edmond, Eragon, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, A Good Year, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, The History Boys, Infamous, The Lake House, The Last Kiss, Loverboy, Marie Antoinette, Miami Vice, The Night Listener, The Painted Veil, Rocky Balboa, Running With Scissors, Superman Returns, Tideland, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

Art School Confidential, Clerks II, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest


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originally posted: 10/13/06 02:19:07
last updated: 01/29/07 03:35:02
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