Sunday, February 27, 2005

TIME TO REVIVE A HUMILIATING TRADITION. Since childhood I have been an Oscar fan. I actually have a book of past winners and nominees, and find the artistic and political calculi by which they are presumed to have been determined more interesting than the equivalent readings of political apointments. I was fascinated to learn, for example, that some dark-horse results of Academy voting in the late 30s and early 40s are attributed by some to the voting strength of the Screen Extras Guild, who were then empowered to cast ballots. (The affected outcomes include former stuntman Walter Brennan's three Oscars, and the triumph of "Sweet Leilani" over "They Can't Take That Away From Me" in the 1937 Best Song competition.)

It is a silly thing, but mine own and, I judge, a harmless late-winter indulgence. Many find the ceremonies an incredibly lurid waste of time, money, and attention, but so is my job; the Oscars are more fun, and certainly less aggravating than politics. I once received a very nice note from John Podhoretz, whose beliefs emanate from a different solar system than mine but to whose authority on the Awards I bow, correcting me on the number of Oscars won by Katharine Hepburn.

One of the appurtances of my insignificent obsession is a tendency to make predictions on the Awards even when I have seen but very few of the nominated films. These are based on gut feelings and usually incredibly wrong, but no one has been able to stop me from making them, and I am unable to stop myself from publishing them:
Best Picture: The Aviator
Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray
Best Actress: Annette Bening, Being Julia
Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Blanchett, The Aviator
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator
Best Original Screenplay: Keir Pearson and Terry George, Hotel Rwanda
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways
Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson, The Aviator
Best Score: Jan Kaczmarek, Finding Neverland
Best Song: "Accidentally in Love," Shrek 2
Best Film Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker, The Aviator
Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell, The Aviator
Best Art Direction: Rick Heinrichs (Art Direction) and Cheryl A. Carasik (Set Decoration), Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Best Makeup: Keith Vanderlaan and Christien Tinsley, The Passion of the Christ
Best Sound Editing: Paul N. J. Ottosson, Spider-Man 2
Best Sound Mixing: Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis Sands, and William B. Kaplan, The Polar Express
Best Visual Effects: John Nelson, Andrew R. Jones, Erik Nash, and Joe Letteri, I, Robot
Best Documentary Feature:Born Into Brothels
Best Animated Feature:The Incredibles
I am on record. Tomorrow I shall take my lumps like a man.

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