With the recent possible leak of the alleged Oscar winners list, and every blog in the webosphere taking to predictions, I thought it best to get slightly more personal. So rather than spouting off my 110 percent accurate predictions, because I am the ultimate Hollywood expert after all, I will submit for your consideration my list of deserving winners. Those thesps, creative types and flicks that SHOULD win tonight.
Lest we forget how unfair that fickle Oscar can be. In 2006 Ang Lee’s homo-erotic masterpiece, “Brokeback Mountain”, was slammed out of the winner’s circle by the hit-and-miss “Crash”. Sure, Paul Haggis wove an entertaining yarn about a handful of Angelinos dealing with racial issues. But, being a Los Angeles native myself, seeing a bunch of yuppie types crash into the reality of racism is nothing new. Gay cowboys, however, were ripe for the picking. Unless you considered John Wayne a little light on his feet in “Stagecoach”.
And don’t get me started on Sylvester Stallone‘s “Rocky” delivering a knockout punch to Robert De Niro‘s “Taxi Driver” in 1977 for Best Picture. I don’t think this argument even warrants any supporting commentary. “Rocky”… seriously?
While I don’t predict many upsets this year, there are a handful of tossups. So will the real Oscar winner please stand up…
Best Picture (“Milk”)
Having already taken nearly every awards ceremony by storm, “Slumdog Millionaire” is a sure bet tonight. This makes the most sense, as “Curious Case of Benjamin Button” was perhaps the most dreary epic I’ve sat through since “Heaven’s Gate”. I freely admit that tears are known to strike me should a sentimental heart string be plucked in the theater. No such luck with Brad Pitt’s snore fest. My pick tonight, however, is “Milk”. A fine piece of filmmaking, this movie might not wow the masses, but I was never one for caring about the masses. Didn’t they vote for George W. twice? Following the horrifying vote in favor of Prop. 8 in California last November, the Academy should send a clear message to all of those fly-over territory folks that gay rights are worth fighting for. Plus, a win for “Milk” would make up for the blatant snubbing of “Brokeback Mountain.”
Best Actor (Sean Penn)
After watching Mickey Rourke‘s appearance on “Charlie Rose” last week, I found myself hating this degenerate more than ever. I will admit, he turned quite a remarkable performance in 1986’s “Nine 1/2 Weeks” along with an inspired turn in “Rumble Fish”. But his face alone should discredit him from getting up on stage tonight to accept top honors. Frankly, I just don’t feel like regurgitating my Oscar night pizza by looking at his melted plastic punim. No, tonight’s acting statuette MUST go to Sean Penn for “Milk.” Yes, I realize he just won a few years ago for “Mystic River”, but let’s face it, Penn is one hell of an actor. I recently watched the documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk”, which was mined for archival footage by Gus Van Sant, and Penn couldn’t have captured Harvey any more authentically.
Best Actress (Kate Winslet)
I tend to agree with odds makers on this one. Kate Winslet is a lock for “The Reader” as she should be. Supposedly she is a bit miffed at Harvey Weinstein for not holding off releasing this film until after “Revolutionary Road” made the rounds. But the latter role was so one-note, fantastic or not, that only her turn as an illiterate Nazi could guarantee her a win. Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway both deserve credit for heavy-hitting acting, but it’s Kate’s year.
Best Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger)
On this front I am a bit conflicted. Heath Ledger was riveting in his attempt to one-up Jack Nicholson as the Joker in “The Dark Knight”. On the other hand, Michael Shannon was just down right brilliant in “Revolutionary Road.” Perhaps the best part of the film. Consider my vote split, but as of now I’m leaning towards Ledger… just to see how his family goes all Jerry Springer trying to decide who keeps the award.
Best Supporting Actress (Penelope Cruz)
Sex wins here, hands down. Penelope Cruz was one sultry mamma in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, and the fact that she worked with Woody Allen is reason enough for me to give support. Two inspired talents combining to make a warmly neurotic escapade through Spain.
So tune in to ABC tonight at 5PT/8ET to see if Hollywood keeps it real. And make sure to check back here to read my live blogging throughout the telecast.