I've come to the conclusion that there's not much point me doing Oscar predictions this year. Partly because I haven't been following the ceremony for very long and therefore don't have the valuable knowledge and empiricial sense that is necessary for predictions. Secondly, anything I single out for nomination, whether it be best actor, cinematography or score, will be singularly be filtered through my own personal tastes. I refuse to even consider Ikea Knightly for Best Actress, (I haven't seen Atonement so I can't judge her performance in that) because I find her impossibly wooden and irritating. I acknowledge that she's a likely lock, but screw that. I vote with my heart as much as with my head, and I cannot even reluctantly grant her a placing on my own list. Thirdly, living in Ireland is somewhat a disadvantage as regards getting out to see the films. Not for lack of quality screens and cinemas, but distributors are often months behind the US and it's frustrating reading rave reviews of a film recently opened in the states and knowing you have to wait to get to see it yourself. Release dates can be severely skewed, and so certain performances I loved this year (Maggie G in Sherrybaby,Laura Dern in INLAND EMPIRE) won't be eligible for this year's awards. So, casting all these difficulties aside, I present what I would be overjoyed to see at this year's AMPAS ceremony.
Best Picture: Zodiac
Best Director: Ray Lawrence, Jindabyne
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Chris Cooper, Breach
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Laura Linney, Jindabyne
This is the category that inspires the most torment on my part. Linney's quiet portrayal of a woman struggling against an inpeneratable problem was the first performance that blew me away this year, yet the film itself didn't make a splash. Jindabyne was released in a very Linney-ish year, with The Savages looking to actually garner her a nomination (something I'd be very pleased with, Linney is one of my favourite actors working today and the clip of The Savages I've seen looks great). Yet the field is strong, with Julie Christie's devilish Alzhemier's victim, Marion Cotillard's spirited Edith Piaf and the nobility that Angelina Jolie brought to A Mighty Heart. There were other good female leads this year of course, but these four were my favourite, appealing on different levels. I watched Away From Her last night and so Julie Christie is freshly imprinted on my brain and thus I am inclinced towards giving her my number one spot, but I know Linney will stay with me for longer.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: David Strathairn, The Bourne Ultimatum
Best Supporting Actress: Samantha Morton, Control
I'll eventually get around to looking at the other categories. I have strong favourites for music, cinematography, screenplay etc. I still haven't seen many of the big hitters this year, so in a month or so I'm guessing these picks will look outdated and poorly thought out. But for the moment, I'm sticking by them.