Oscar noms are out. Make your predictions here.

Well, the nominations are out with some noms going as expected and a couple of surprises. I’ll break down the categories and then ask for people to say who think think should win and who they think will win.

Best Picture

And the nominees are:

The Aviator
Million Dollar Baby
Finding Neverland

(Notable omission: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Should win: The Aviator
Will win: The Aviator.

This is a rare year where I’ve actually seen all of the nominated films. Million Dollar Baby, IMO, is overrated, sentimental claptrap. It’s well-acted, well-directed claptrap, but at bottom it’s a manipulative, movie of the week style tear-jerker.

The Aviator is a tremendously accomplished piece of filmmaking by one our greatest directors. It’s Scorcese’s best film since Goodfellas, it’s filled with stunning action scenes, taught dramatic sequences, funny scenes, great acting, a complex portrait of a fascinating American, a crowd pleasing climax and a genuinely inspiring comment on the ability of human beings to conquer their own demons and acheive their goals…at least temporarily.

Best Actor

And the nominees are:

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (surprise)
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Jamie Foxx, Ray
Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda

(Notable omission: Paul Giamatti, Sideways)

Should win: Jamie Foxx
Will win: Jamie Foxx

Ray was a flawed movie but Foxx gives a showy, bravura performance. Johnny Depp will win something eventually but this isn’t his year.
Best Actress

And the nominees are:

Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
Annette Bening, Being Julia
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
Kate Winslett, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Should win: Kate Winslett
Will win: Hillary Swank

Kate Winslett’s performance in Eternal Sunshine was a knockout. She created an indelible, three dimensional character who made the audience completely understand why Jim Carrey could simultaneously love her and be driven crazy by her. Almost everybody I’ve talked to about this move says that they know (or are) Clementine. That’s a credit to Winslett’s performance. She created a character that people recognized from life. She was that real.

Swank will win because it’s such an Oscar bait role.

Best Supporting Actress

And the nominees are:

Cate Blanchette, The Aviator
Laura Linney, Kinsey
Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman, Closer (it should have been for Garden State)

Will win: Cate Blanchette
Should win: Cate Blanchette.

Blanchette gave the perfect Oscar bait performance as Katherine Hepburn but this still a little hard to call because I think Madsen may get it as the token award for Sideways.

Portman was good in Closer but better in Garden State. When she was crying in that phone booth at the end I just wanted to hug her and comfort her and then take her home and have sex with her. Such a gamut of emotions.
Best Supporting Actor

And the nominees are:

Jamie Foxx, Collateral
Thomas Hayden Church, Sideways
Alan Alda, The Aviator
Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Clive Owen, Closer

Should win: Clive Owen
Will win: Morgan Freeman.

Clive Owen gave a sneakily creepy performance in Close and of this group of nominees I think he gave the best performance,

Morgan Freeman will win because he gives the quintessential Morgan Freeman performance, the quiet, craggy sage, dispensing angelic wisdom. People love Morgan Freeman and they’ll give him the award he probably deserved for Shawshank Redemption.

Best Director

And the nominees are:

Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Martin Scorcese, The Aviator
Taylor Hackford, Ray
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake
Alexander Payne, Sideways

Should win: Martin Scorcese
Will win: Martin Scorcese
This is easy to predict. Marty is due and this is his year.

I pick:

Best Picture: “The Aviator”

Classic example of an Oscar winner; it’s historical, based on a true story, epic, and has the added bonus of being about Hollywood itself to some extent. Absolutely prototypical Best Picture example.
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “The Aviator”

Best Picture and Director usually match, and Scorsese will benefit from the perception that he’s due.
Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, “Ray.”

Benefits from being a biographical portrayal. Huge hype, and actors portraying characters with handicaps are well favored. None of the other candidates seem like good bets.
Best Actress: Annette Bening, “Being Julia.”

Swank will lose just enough votes for being a previous winner to give it to Bening. Kate Winslet (one T) is the greatest living actor in the world and deserves an Oscar but the movie was too early in the year. She could pull off an upset, though, as she is much younger than Bening, and they favour young actresses for this award.
Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman, “Million Dollar Baby.”

Absolutely prototypical winner, a previously nominated old guy.
Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman, “Closer.”

A Hollywood darling and, of course, the youngest choice. Always bet old with actors, young with actresses.

I agree with Dio on should wins, will wins, and notable omissions right up to the last category. I think Thomas Hayden Church will win best supporting actor.

I think the best adapted screenplay will go to Sideways, and best original screenplay will go to Eternal Sunshine.

I think the other obvious winners are Supersize Me for feature length doc and The Incredibles for animated feature.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Church win. Who knew that guy could act?

No way Swank’s winning this year - especially because she was up against Benning earlier when she won for Boys Don’t Cry. Since she’s already got one, I doubt they’ll give her another.

I hope Winslet wins, but I doubt it - they’ll probably give it to Benning this year. Who I like as an actress, but the Julia movie just doesn’t interest me in any way, so I won’t be seeing it.

I’d love to have Johnny win, but doubt that he will.