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Chicagoist Oscar Predictions

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 23, 2007 3:00PM

2007_2oscarposter_domestic.jpgIn two short days the 79th Academy Awards will be presented, and this will cause two things to happen. First, people will immediately start whining about what won and what didn't win. Second, our list of Oscar predictions will probably look ridiculous. Since hindsight is always 20/20, undoubtedly we have made some stupendous blunders. (Where's Karnak when you need him?) But it's all in good fun. Unlike predicting the Super Bowl or election results, our only hangover the next day will be from the champagne punch at our Oscar party and not from the painful outcome.

As we've said before, we think that the awards are going to be widely distributed among the films nominated, with no single "big winner." For each nomination we've chosen a "will win" and a "should win." As tempting as it was, for the "should win" pick we decided not to insert films that were not even nominated. After all, we're already second-guessing the minds of the Oscar voters as it is. And to slim things down, we haven't listed all the nominees (the full list can be seen here), and we've chosen to skip the Short Subject categories, because honestly, we haven't seen any of them. The rest is after the cut.

Should win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Will win: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Notes: Labyrinth looked gorgeous, but Pirates had huge box-office numbers and more closely resembles Lord of the Rings, which Oscar loved.

Should win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Will win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Notes: The other noms are all great, but Labyrinth looks truly awesome.

Should win: Marie Antoinette
Will win: Dreamgirls
Notes: Sofia Coppola's movie had ravishing eye-candy when it came to the outfits. This is a case however when the Academy will reward a more old-fashioned choice.

Should win: Monster House
Will win: Cars
Notes: Can anything stop the Pixar steamroller? Not this year.

Should win: Iraq in Fragments
Will win: An Inconvenient Truth
Notes: A tough call. The former is the more gripping and "cinematic" nom, but H'wood just loves Al Gore.

Should win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Will win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Notes: Not much of a contest here. More voters will have seen this nom, and once you've seen it you don't forget it.

Should win: Babel, Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise
Will win: United 93, Clare Douglas, Christopher Rouse and Richard Pearson
Notes: A long-shot prediction. But we feel that the voters will want to reward United 93 somehow; its breathless, supremely well-crafted construction might just be the perfect category for recognition.

Should win: Apocalypto, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
Will win: Pan’s Labyrinth, David Martí and Montse Ribé
Notes: Mel's film has lots of vivid, almost frightening make-up effects, but he won't get the Academy's love. Labyrinth is set up for a win.

Should win: The Good German, Thomas Newman
Will win: The Queen, Alexandre Desplat
Notes: Newman has been nominated eight times already, and here he's created a gorgeous, 1940's-style score that people rave about. Those who've heard it, that is. The Good German wasn't widely watched, and so we think Desplat's shrewd and evocative score will win.

Should win: “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth, Melissa Etheridge
Will win: “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth, Melissa Etheridge
Notes: Dreamgirls' three noms in this category will cancel each other out, and Randy Newman won too recently. That leaves Ms. Etheridge.

Should win: Letters from Iwo Jima, Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Will win: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Christopher Boyes and George Watters II
Notes: The former has an intense sound design which makes the story that much more harrowing, but once again a big-budget blockbuster will walk away with the award 'cause it has so many cool-sounding explosions.

Should win: Apocalypto, Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Fernando Cámara
Will win: Dreamgirls, Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer and Willie Burton
Notes: The sentimental, old-fashioned choice will win over the voters. The fact that it's a musical is its ace in the hole.

Should win: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Will win: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Notes: Duh.

Should win: The Departed, Screenplay by William Monahan
Will win: The Departed, Screenplay by William Monahan
Notes: Many strong contenders here, but let's face it: this was a script with tons of zingy dialog. And we think it'll be the prelude for some Scorsese ovations....

Should win: The Queen, written by Peter Morgan
Will win: The Queen, written by Peter Morgan
Notes: A beautifully written character study that's deceptively simple, this is a screenplay that richly deserves its award.

Should win: The Last King of Scotland, Forest Whitaker
Will win: The Last King of Scotland, Forest Whitaker
Notes: In many other years, Peter O'Toole could have been a contender. Wistfully speaking, though, Whitaker is just too astonishing to refuse him the award.

Should win: Little Miss Sunshine, Alan Arkin
Will win: Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy
Notes: The voters will continue giving out consolation prizes for having shut out Dreamgirls from Best Picture consideration. But Eddie Murphy?! Give us a break. Arkin deserves it as one of the best actors in the biz and it's shameful he hasn't ever won (this is his third nom).

Should win: The Queen, Helen Mirren
Will win: The Queen, Helen Mirren
Notes: Easily the evening's safest bet. Even the bookies have stopped taking money.

Should win: Notes on a Scandal, Cate Blanchett
Will win: Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson
Notes: Lots of great ladies in this category, but the Dreamgirls love-in continues.

Should win: The Departed, Martin Scorsese
Will win: The Departed, Martin Scorsese
Notes: By this point the Academy is (and should be) properly embarrassed that Marty has never won, and they finally get a good clean chance to rectify this oversight. Amen.

Should win: The Departed
Will win: The Departed
Notes: Babel is too similar (in the voter's minds) to last year's Crash, Clint Eastwood's films have already won a gazillion times recently, and comedies are always a doubtful choice for Best Picture. The Anglocentricity of The Queen could weaken its chances. The Departed is a superbly crafted genre picture in the mold of a former Best Picture such as The Silence of Lambs, and so we think it has the edge. Viva Scorsese!

So there you have it. By our fantasy world reckoning, with four wins Dreamgirls will come out with the most while The Queen, Pirates, Labyrinth and The Departed will all get three.

Now it's your turn. Where do you agree/disagree with our list? What movies do you think will triumph, and who was shut out of the nominations this year?