I know you're all just dying to know who I'm picking for winners in tonight's Oscar race, right? Okay, maybe not. But still, I usually finish first or second in our annual picks contest that's been going on for 10+ years now, so even though I haven't seen most of the nominated movies (Oscar and I disagree on what makes for an essential theater-going flick), if you have a contest of your own to participate in, I offer these up as choices:
Brokeback Mountain, because nothing can stop the momentum of the only one of the nominees this year that has entered popular consciousness (even if few people actually saw it).
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain. See above.
A rather weak slate this year, so I'll go with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote.
Everyone says it's going to be Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line, and who am I to argue?
George Clooney in Syriana, because they'll want to reward him for something.
Conventional wisdom says that this is Rachel Weisz's, but this is the one category that typically goes against expectations, so I'm picking Amy Adams in Junebug.
King Kong. It has a giant monkey fighting dinosaurs, and how can anyone resist that?
Aka the consolation prize, so it'll go to Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco for Crash.
Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana for Brokeback Mountain, because you can't stop the momentum.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, mainly because Cinderella Man and Stars Wars Episode III are fit for an Oscar snub this year.
John Myhre & Gretchen Rau for Memoirs of a Geisha, because it's the kind of movie that usally wins this category.
A tough one, actually, so I'll go with the mo' and pick Gustavo Santaolalla for Brokeback Mountain; even though he only wrote about 13 minutes of score music for the movie, it's the only one of the nominated scores where when you hear a few bars you instantly know what movie it's from. Plus the voters will want to reward Santaolalla for having been robbed of a best song nod due to an unfair rules ruling. Plus, the Academy has been snubbing John Williams for many years now.
"Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica, because the voters like Dolly Parton.
Live Action Short Film
I meant to watch a few of these through iTunes, but never got around to it this week. So I'll pick Ausreisser (The Runaway), for no good reason other than it's a gut pick.
Pixar's One Man Band, because they're Pixar.
Actually three strong nominees this year, but I'll go with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
King Kong. Because if there's one thing this movie had, it was sound, and lots of it.
Walk the Line, because this category usually goes to musical bio-pics.
A tough one, but Crash, with it's interlocking stories, seems the correct pick.
I'm going for the dark horse pick here: Emmanuel Lubezki for The New World.
Foreign Language Film
Tsotsi from South Africa has gotten the most ink, so since hardly anyone actually goes to see these it'll probably take the statue.
Conventional wisdom is to not go with any film that anyone has actually heard of in this category, but I think the trend will be bucked this year and March of the Penguins with waddle away with the golden statue.
God Sleeps in Rwanda sounds like the title of a film that typically wins this category.
Jacqueline Durran for Pride & Prejudice, because period pieces nearly always win this category.
So those are my picks. We'll know in 11 hours or so how good they are...