Well it’s Oscar time again. While as time goes on, you learn to put less and less stock in the views of Academy members due to their choices in awards. Still, it’s still fun to place bets on who will win these coveted awards.

Here’s my take.

Best Picture – Brokeback Mountain
This is a tough category this year, and thankfully there’s actually a wide array of choices to go with (as opposed to last year’s Oscars). But Brokeback Mountain is an extraordinary film in every way, from the lush cinematography to the near-flawless performances of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. I think Good Night, and Good Luck is amazing, as well as Munich, but they don’t have the cultural transcendence that Brokeback does. It’s a very bold move if Brokeback wins in America’s culture wars, which could prompt the conservative values of the Academy to vote against it and choose something safer like Capote or Good Night, And Good Luck.

Best Director – Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Ang Lee is one of Hollywood’s best directors (minus The Hulk) and he’s got a knack for telling amazing stories in a unique, original way. He did a fabulous job with Brokeback and deserves this award completely. Spielberg won’t win this one because he’s now a two-time Best Director winner, George Clooney won’t because he’ll probably win Best Supporting Actor.

Best Actor – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Hoffman is one of the best actors in America, and his performance as Capote is nothing short of near-perfection. This is a really tough category this year; Heath Ledger makes a good case for this award too, as does Terrence Howard for Hustle & Flow.

Best Actress – Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line

Reese gives an almost-perfect performance as June Carter in Walk The Line. It will be a major surprise if she loses this category. Charlize won’t win this one because of her win in Monster, Keira Knightly won’t and Judi Dench, while apparently incredible in Mrs. Henderson Presents, just won’t either. The only possible competitor in this category is Felicity Huffman for Transamerica.

Best Supporting Actor – George Clooney, Syriana
While Syriana was fantastic (if not a dense piece of subject matter), the best part was Clooney, who really pushed his abilities to the limit with this film. Jake Gyllenhaal is a strong competitor in this category too, but the dark horse has to be William Hurt for A History of Violence. It was a very small role he had, but he was amazing as a mobster – maybe the best performance in the film.

Best Supporting Actress – Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener

I still think it’s a damn shame The Constant Gardener didn’t get nominated for Best Picture (I liked Crash, but it’s not Best Picture material, not by a long shot), but hopefully the Academy will recognize Rachel Weisz’s extraordinary work in it. Michelle Williams has a good shot here too with Brokeback Mountain.

More to come…


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