You want Oscar Predictions? You got 'em!

With the setting of the Writers’ strike, the Academy Awards suddenly went from being an interesting proposition to being more of the same. While the ceremony itself is going to be boring, debating who should and who will win what is always a fun proposition. IP’s own John Price will be covering the awards live this Sunday, so make sure to tune in for his thoughts as the Oscars go down live.

Best Documentary Feature

The Nominees: Taxi to the Dark Side, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, No End in Sight, Sicko, War/Dance

Predictions:

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz, Popcorn Junkies Editor in Chief: The Academy loves Michael Moore, and after Fahrenheit 9/11 wasn’t nominated I’d expect he’ll get the win as a make-good. I’m shocked King of Kong wasn’t even nominated; it was on nearly everyone’s top 10 list but didn’t even get a nomination in the same manner that Hoop Dreams was denied.

Should Win: No End in Sight
Will Win: Sicko

John Price, Popcorn Junkies Staffer: Obviously, most people have heard only of Michael Moore’s Sicko, and thus expect it to be the heavy favorite. Incidentally, there are two films in this category that are arguably better and more relevant, if you can believe it. Look for No End in Sight, a discussion of the United States’ involvement without a game plan in Iraq, to pick up the gold. But don’t look for The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters which is inexcusably absent from this contest.

Should Win: No End in Sight
Will Win: No End in Sight

Mike Noyes, Popcorn Junkies / DVD Lounge Staffer: Michael Moore really outdid himself with Sicko. He got away from his usually attack the evil ones style and focused on the heartbreaking stories of those who’ve been wronged by American medical insurance. While he’s already won the award once and it’s nice to spread the love around, he really should get it for this film.

Should Win: Sicko
Will Win: Sicko

Best Animated Film

The Nominees: Surf’s Up, Persepolis, Ratatouille

Predictions:

Sawitz: I think I’m the only person on the planet who didn’t think much of Ratatouille. It was an average film that wasn’t even amongst the top five animated films of this year. Neither was Surf’s Up. Persepolis was brilliant and should win, but won’t because for some reason people think a film about rats cooking was masterful. It wasn’t.

Should Win: Persepolis
Will Win: Ratatouille

Price: Pixar is always a favorite in this category, and more so in a year without solid mainstream competition, but Brad Bird and company have had their day. Why not share the limelight with an incredibly clever and unique use of the medium? Persepolis would win if Ratatouille was just typical Pixar fare. Unfortunately for Persepolis, Ratatouille would have been a contender in the Best Picture category had it been nominated.

Should Win: Persepolis
Will Win: Ratatouille

Noyes: Why is it Surf’s Up got a nomination and The Simpsons Movie didn’t? Either way neither would stand a chance against the other nominees. Pixar is usually a sure fire bet for this category and with Ratatouille also getting a screenplay nomination it’s pretty safe to say they’ll win this one. But it’s always nice to see the underdog win especially with a film like Persepolis that is actually deserving of the honor.

Should Win: Ratatouille
Will Win: Persepolis

Achievement in Cinematography

The Nominees: Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men

Predictions: All five of these films were phenomenal in terms of how they looked, Atonement particularly with a beautiful aerial shot, and I think Atonement is going to be in the same tone that Dreamgirls was last year. It’ll win a lot of the technical awards but won’t sniff anything when it comes to the major awards.

Sawitz:

Should Win: No Country for Old Men
Will Win: Atonement

Price: If things go the Coen brothers’ way, voters will likely feel bad leaving There Will Be Blood empty handed. The film will be offered some concessions here since Deakins’ votes will be split between No Country for Old Men and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. To be fair, Elswit’s work is a triumph in its own right.

Should Win: No Country for Old Men
Will Win: There Will Be Blood

Noyes: It’s not often a Cinematographer gets nominated for two films in one year. But Deakins shot both No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood and both are stunning feats of the craft. The only question to really ask here is which film will he win for?

Should Win: There Will Be Blood
Will Win: There Will Be Blood

Best Original Song

The Nominees: “Falling Slowly” from Once, “Raise it Up” from August Rush, “Happy Working Song” from Enchanted, “So Close” from Enchanted, “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted

Predictions:

Sawitz: None of those songs was anything special, but then one from August Rush was quite good. With the success of Once, I think this will be the nod to it.

Should Win: “Raise it Up,” August Rush
Will Win: “Falling Slowly,” Once

Price: In most cases it is unfortunate when one movie has multiple Best Song nominations since it typically indicates that a deserving song will not win. But this year, no song in Enchanted can compare to the beautiful “Falling Slowly” in Once. Just thinking about it brings a tear to my eye. Pining never felt so bittersweet and appropriate.

Should Win: “Falling Slowly,” Once
Will Win: “Falling Slowly,” Once

Best Original Score

The Nominees: Atonement, 3:10 to Yuma, Michael Clayton, The Kite Runner, Ratatouille

Predictions:

Sawitz: 3:10 to Yuma was one of the year’s best films, in part because its score was so well done and used amazingly. In a year with a lot of great scores, I think 3:10 to Yuma should win but Atonement will; it has the Dreamgirls vibe and as such this will be its biggest award.

Should Win: 3:10 to Yuma
Will Win: Atonement

Price: I will let you in on a secret: I have seen three of the films nominated and I can only remember what the score sounds like from Ratatouille. So unless Atonement or The Kite Runner is hiding something, the winner should be obvious to most voters as well.

Should Win: Ratatouille
Will Win: Ratatouille

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There), Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Saorise Ronan (Atonement), Ruby Dee (American Gangster)

Predictions:

Sawitz: Cate Blanchett was terrific as Bob Dylan, and I think the uniqueness of the role wins it outright. This isn’t a loaded category by any means; the competition is between Swinton and Blanchett. Everyone else is window dressing.

Should Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Will Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There

Price: Blanchett’s popularity is inexplicable and it is a shame that she will once again intercept an award that should go to a more-deserving, but lesser-known, actress. Certainly Blanchett’s portrayal of Bob Dylan was original, but many critics have asserted that it wasn’t even the best of the movie. In contrast, Swinton’s performance is a masterfully understated turn in a film otherwise full of bombast and swagger.

Should Win: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Will Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There

Noyes: I’ve only seen one film here but Blanchett maybe the only actress alive who could turn in not only a convincing Dylan performance, but easily the best performance in the film. While I totally think she deserves it, I’m sure the awards will go to one of the others.

Should Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Will Win: (No Choice)

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)

Predictions:

Sawitz: I think this is perhaps the biggest lock of the night. Bardem was incredible in No Country as perhaps the best villain in a movie in years. Wilkinson and P.S Hoffman were both wonderful, but Bardem has two things going for him. He was great in a great movie, which the Academy usually tends to reward, as well as he was passed over for a nomination in Above the Sea when by all rights he had the best performance of the year.

Should Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Price How scary was Bardem’s performance? The actors on set were actually afraid of him between takes. Bardem owns this movie and his portrayal of a psychopath is so frighteningly powerful that you cannot look away, even though you badly want to. Call it.

Should Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Noyes: There’s some pretty stiff competition here, but Bardem’s performance was almost as gripping as Day-Lewis. Chigurh is a psychotic killer who is terrifying every moment he’s on screen. Whether he’s flipping a coin for firing a gun, he’s a shoe-in for this award and God help anyone who gets in his way.

Should Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Best Actress

The Nominees: Ellen Page (Juno), Julie Christie (Away From Her), Maria Cotillard (La Vie En Rose), Cate Blanchett Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Laura Linney (The Savages)

Predictions:

Sawitz: Ellen Page made Juno into a great film; it’s a quirky, career-defining role that’ll probably be imitated by her several times over in the next decade or so. But the mortal lock seems to be Christie as the Alzheimer’s patient; it’s a safe pick and the Academy usually goes safe before quirky.

Should Win: Ellen Page, Juno
Will Win: Julie Christie, Away From Her

Price: That is if the Academy has any balls. This race is actually very close, and I doubt that any but the well-educated critic could know the outcome for sure. With that said, Page single-handedly turned Juno into something special that even the most casual movie-goer has seen, or at least heard of.

Should Win: Ellen Page, Juno
Will Win: Ellen Page, Juno

Noyes: Having only seen one film in this category I guess my choice is pretty biased, but Page turned the sass and charm up to 11 for this film and created a memorable character that hipsters will be quoting for at least another couple months until the next indie favorite has come along and this film is forgotten like so many others.

Should Win: Ellen Page, Juno
Will Win: Ellen Page, Juno

Best Actor

The Nominees: George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises), Tommy Lee Jones (In The Valley of Elah)

Predictions:

Sawitz: This is ultimately the category where those who should’ve been nominated weren’t, leaving a bit of a void amongst those who were. No Emile Hirsch for Into the Wild? No Denzel in American Gangster? No Christian Bale in Rescue Dawn or 3:10 to Yuma? When the awards were announced this category in particular stood out for me if only because of who wasn’t nominated, not who was. It seemed as if every great performance of the year was shut out besides Clooney and Day-Lewis, as if to set up one of them for the award.

Mortensen, Jones and Depp aren’t competition to the two best performances of the year. Lewis and Clooney are the only two who have a shot at winning; Depp wasn’t that good, Jones is nominated for the wrong film and Mortensen’s willingness to display his junk doesn’t compare to a powerhouse performance by one of film’s great actors (Day-Lewis) and the career peak of a very good actor (Clooney). Clooney should win, but people have been raving about Lewis’s performance as an oil man at the turn of the century for some time. Pencil him in for the win.

Should Win: George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Price: Lewis’ only real competition is Johnny Depp. While Depp is always great, his role as Sweeny Todd is far too daft; plus voters will figure on him getting his someday. Lewis, on the other hand, is comparable to Jesus Christ in the eyes of most insiders.

Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Noyes: Say what you will about Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest opus, There Will Be Blood, but there is no denying that Day-Lewis’s performance is not only the best of the year, but possibly the best of his career. Every minute he is on screen he is utterly mesmerizing and as despicable as his character gets you can’t help but wanting to see what he does next.

Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Best Director

The Nominees: Joel & Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men), Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood), Jason Reitman (Juno), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Predictions:

Sawitz: Whomever wins Best Picture will probably win this. I think P.T gets an Oscar for his epic film about oil; the Coens have a strong case, and if they win No Country will take Best Picture, but ultimately they could split the vote and Reitman or Gilroy could sneak in. I think Best Picture might be an upset, but this won’t be.

Should Win: The Coens, No Country for Old Men
Will Win: P.T Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Price: Since this award does not automatically go to best picture, the competition here will be fierce. The Coen brothers directing together is a major detraction for traditionalists, but most should recognize their undeniable achievement.

Should Win: The Coens, No Country for Old Men
Will Win: The Coens, No Country for Old Men

Noyes: While there are exceptions to the rule, more often than not he who wins best Picture generally wins best Director. And for all the reasons above they deserve to win this award as well.

Should Win: The Coens, No Country for Old Men
Will Win: The Coens, No Country for Old Men

Best Picture

The Nominees: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood

Predictions:

Sawitz: This is quite the strong set of contenders; every film has a legit reason to be an Oscar nominated film. Anyone can win and I think you could justify it. While I think P.T Anderson’s opus will win, if only because it’s the sort of brooding picture the Academy will reward, Juno is easily the best film of the bunch and deserves it. Michael Clayton might sneak in and win if No Country splits the vote with There Will Be Blood.

Should Win: Juno
Will Win: There Will Be Blood

Price: The film is gripping and funny, and a strong reminder of why the Coen brothers are so highly-esteemed. With There Will Be Blood (and Paul Thomas Anderson considered a lock in the future) as the only competition, look for the brothers to finally get theirs.

Should Win: No Country for Old Men
Will Win: No Country for Old Men

Noyes: The Coen brothers have always made great films but they really out did themselves this time. Every level of this film has been consummately executed. I’ve yet to meet a person who’s seen the film and didn’t absolutely love it. And with 8 total nominations it’s a pretty fare guess that they’ll finally win the award they’ve deserved for a long time.

Should Win: No Country for Old Men
Will Win: No Country for Old Men