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Brokeback Academy: Oscars 2006

No surprises in 2005, really. I’m expecting our predictions to be much more accurate than our usual disastrous attempts at forecasting the winners. This time you can put money down on our picks, we swear!

As in years past, this page will be updated in real time during the Oscar broadcast: Our picks are in bold under our respective names, and the actual winners will be noted in bold in the category listings on Oscar night (and updated in real time). Christopher Null and Jeremiah Kipp

Null: 15/24
Kipp: 14/24

Wow — if my math is right, I beat ya in a squeaker, Kipp. Respectable picks, though we were both dumb not to pick Crash for screenplay. And who’d a seen that Best Picture win? Ah well, see ya in 2007.


Best Animated Film
Corpse Bride
Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoko shiro)
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Christopher Null: Miyazaki already won and Corpse Bride was not that great. Gromit wins handily, finally giving Nick Park a (real) Oscar — just what he needs after his studio burned down a few months ago.
Jeremiah Kipp: The Academy’s heart is coddled by Wallace & Gromit.

Best Art Direction
Good Night, and Good Luck
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice

JK: The movie may have been as authentic as Disneyland, but as they say, ‘To be a Geisha is to be judged as a moving work of art.’
CN: If ever a token Oscar was given it out, it will be to Geisha for art direction.

Best Cinematography
Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World

JK: The New World was pure cinema, as visually expressive as a Walt Whitman poem, which is why the award will go to Good Night, and Good Luck-whose crisp black and white cinematography represents a bunch of guys sitting around, smoking cigarettes, in compartmentalized little rooms.
CN: This is a tough category — and I’m also swayed toward The New World, but my gut says Brokeback Mountain will actually take it away in part of a mini-rout for Ang Lee’s flick.

Best Costume Design
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
Walk the Line

JK: Here’s a recipe for Oscar: just throw a kimono on some Geisha.
CN: I’m gonna go crazy and pick Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You can’t say Johnny Depp didn’t have interesting eyewear.

Best Documentary Feature
Darwin’s Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
March of the Penguins
Murderball
Street Fight

JK: March of the Penguins is the sentimental favorite.
CN: Yep, Penguins it is.

Best Documentary Short Subject
The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club
God Sleeps in Rwanda
The Mushroom Club
A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin

JK: Tug on your liberal heart-strings with God Sleeps in Rwanda.
CN: Rwanda is the only one with any kind of cachet aside from a minor interest in old timey broadcaster Norman Corwin. (So Rwanda it is.)
[Missed it by that much! -Ed.]

Best Editing
Cinderella Man
The Constant Gardener
Crash
Munich
Walk the Line

JK: Munich is too big a hot-bed of controversy to win Best Picture or Best Director, but Steven Spielberg and his team’s mastery of the craft can’t go completely ignored. The editing of a murderer drawing his gun was edited into a chilling moment of shaky doubt – and Spielberg didn’t cop out at the ending. Each assassination set-piece in Munich felt strong, because they were filled with imperfections that made the killers and their victims seem all too human. Can you tell I was stunned by Munich and feel outraged it won’t win any other category?
CN: Yes, we can tell. But the bigger issue with Munich is that Spielberg is sort of an Oscar hog lately, and the perception will be that he’s mined the Jewish guilt well once too often. Munich should also be outclassed here by Crash, a film which weaves among its many stories quite well thanks to some good chopwork.

Best Foreign Language Film
Don’t Tell
Joyeux Noel
Paradise Now
Sophie Scholl-The Final Days
Tsotsi

JK: Munich, 1943 + a resistance group against the Nazi regime = victory for Sophie Scholl.
CN: I’ll up that ante and give you World War I + a bigger name cast + a cry for peace = victory for Joyeux Noel.

Best Makeup
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Cinderella Man
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

JK: And the award goes to Lord of the Rings Part 4: The Chronicles of Narnia.
CN: The only makeup anyone will remember this year will be Tilda Swinton’s in Narnia.

Best Score
Brokeback Mountain, Gustavo Santaolalla
The Constant Gardner, Alberto Iglesias
Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams
Munich, John Williams
Pride and Prejudice, Dario Marianelli

JK: John Williams wins for Memoirs of a Geisha, and Mikado creators Gilbert & Sullivan are applauding in their graves.
CN: Williams hasn’t won since 1994’s Schindler’s List, and wouldn’t it be funny if he won for Munich? I don’t think he will. I’m betting on Brokeback Mountain to take it.

Best Original Song
‘In the Deep’ from Crash, by Michael Becker and Kathleen York
‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp’ from Hustle & Flow, by Jorge Drexler
‘Travelin Thru’ from Transamerica, by Dolly Parton

JK: God, it feels good to be a gangsta-but it’s hard out here for a pimp, so the award goes to ‘In the Deep,’ whose lyrics and melody I have already forgotten entirely!
CN: Yeah, Oscar hates pimps. ‘In the Deep’ wins.

Best Animated Short Film
Badgered
The Moon and the Son
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
9
One Man Band

JK: One Man Band sounds like the triumph of an underdog.
CN: The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello seems to have some support and a very long title.

Best Live Action Short Film
Ausreißer
Cashback
Síðasti bærinn í dalnum
Our Time Is Up
Six Shooter

JK: Strap on your Six Shooter, hombre.
CN: Our Time Is Up has celebrity cred (Kevin Pollak stars) and is in English.

Best Sound Mixing
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds

JK: King Kong stomps all over the competition.
CN: Wow, lots of movies here that actually had good sound. I’ll go with Walk the Line. Give Johnny Cash a little love, Oscar.

Best Sound Editing
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds

JK: All hail the King!
CN: Kong.

Best Visual Effects
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
King Kong
War of the Worlds

JK: Peter Jackson’s WETA Workshop has taken visual effects into the new millennium, and the emotional impact of King Kong made audiences care about a fake giant ape.
CN: I think War of the Worlds had far better effects, but Kong is fresher in Oscar’s mind.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Brokeback Mountain
Capote
The Constant Gardener
A History of Violence
Munich

JK: The politically correct choice of the year is Brokeback Mountain.
CN: Brokeback can’t lose.

Best Original Screenplay
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck
Match Point
The Squid and the Whale
Syriana

JK: Hollywood wants to acknowledge the efforts of George Clooney to bring back the left-wing finger pointing and hand wringing of the 1970s. But I’ll take Good Night, and Good Luck over the ham-fisted moralizing of Crash any day!
CN: Good Night, and Good Luck: Are you now, or have you ever been, an Oscar winner?

Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney in Syriana
Matt Dillon in Crash
Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt in A History of Violence

JK: Matt Dillon‘s bigoted cop gets to sneer his way through Crash, then in a staggering moral turnaround he saves the day and saves the life of the African-American woman he abused the day before. I’m not sure whether to say, ‘Keep hope alive!’ or ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke!’
CN: It’s hard to vote against Dillon here, but I think George Clooney will win for a) what was a better performance and b) a little bonus love for the director of Good Night, and Good Luck.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams in Junebug
Catherine Keener in Capote
Frances McDormand in North Country
Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain

JK: Where’s Maria Bello for A History of Violence? Anyway, Michelle Williams has been spending years proving to cinema snobs that there’s more to her talent than teeny-bopping on Dawson’s Creek. She earns her recognition in Brokeback Mountain.
CN: Williams’ role was too slight to earn the win this time around. She’ll be due in a few more years. I think Rachel Weisz will win for Gardener, and not just because she appears in it nude and pregnant.

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
Terrence Howard in Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line
David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck

CN: If there are any ‘sure things’ this year, it’s that Philip Seymour Hoffman will win a long overdue Oscar for Capote.
JK: Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s colorful Capote whips lightweight Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line and stodgy David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Snooze.

Best Actress
Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice
Charlize Theron in North Country
Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line

JK: What an embarrassing list of names! There were no good leading roles for women in studio films or high profile independents this year, so we’re stuck with Reese Witherspoon‘s one-note goody girl in Walk the Line.
CN: Well she did learn how to play the autoharp for the role. Witherspoon, by less than a country mile.

Best Director
Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee
Capote, Bennett Miller
Crash, Paul Haggis
Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney
Mu
nich
, Steven Spielberg

JK: In a year where Steven Spielberg actually had the temerity to climax a film with a slap in the face, timid Oscar voters will award the safer, easier choice: Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain.
CN: Never thought we’d see the day when a gay cowboy movie was the ‘safe’ pick, but there we are. I’ll pick Ang Lee, then bow out for Jer to rant a little more about Munich‘s near-certain loss. I hope Spielberg doesn’t get too Ang-ry!

Best Picture
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
Crash
Capote
Munich

JK: Steven Spielberg only wins when it’s noble subjects like World War II and the Holocaust, but when dealing with confrontational subject matter like Munich he stands alone. A few years ago, Oscar showed its love to African-Americans, awarding Denzel Washington’s devil-cop in Training Day and Halle Berry’s hysterical ghetto-girl in Monster’s Ball. Both films, and roles, were horrible. But they were safe picks. The same is true for Brokeback Mountain, which is an arid portrayal of gays who hate themselves. It only shows that’s what Hollywood is comfortable with: caricatures and stereotypes. We have a long way to go. Brokeback Mountain is a win, and I suppose covers the moral terrain for 2005, but mainstream gay cinema has a long way to go before it gets beyond mere posturing.
CN: Brokeback Mountain is a good movie. It’s not great, but it’s very good. And it’s much better than the crap that’s won in recent years. Chicago, Gladiator, these are embarrassing ‘Best Pictures’ of the year. I’d frankly be happy to see any of the five movies nominated win on Oscar night, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. (And given how atrocious the movies were in 2005, how unlikely is it that five good movies made it to the final ballot?) Maybe Oscar’s smartening up? Nah

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