Oscar Predictions 2004 — Final

As I usually do with my Oscar predictions, here are my revisions to my earlier predictions on Oscars, which I made just after the nominations came out. This year, I’m doing almost no revising — but I also note that several categories are much closer than I suspected they would be.

As background, read my original predictions for Oscar winners this year here.

Best Picture
I had predicted:
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
I am now predicting: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Why: Because none of the other nominees have mounted any serious opposition. King has been crushing through the preliminary awards, which has led some to think there may simply be voter fatigue (thus opening the door, most likely, for Mystic River), but I don’t really buy this argument. Others have noted that none of the actors are nominated, but neither are actors nominated for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World or Seabiscuit, two other Best Picture nominees, so I don’t see this as a serious impediment. Also, as previously noted, it’s not just King that voters will be awarding — this is an achievement award for the whole Rings trilogy, which aside from becoming an instant classic in film has also raked in close to $3 billion in the movie theaters. When craft and commerce merge like this, it’s hard to see the Academy voting against it.

Best Director
I had predicted:
Peter Jackson
I am now predicting: Peter Jackson
Why: Well, see above. The man who rode herd on arguably the single most ambitious movie shoot in the history of film (remember that all three films were shot in one go) deserves recognition for pulling it off. Even people who dislike the Rings films should be able to acknowledge the logistical masterwork Jackson achieved. Some time ago I had said that I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Academy gave Jackson a special Oscar, simply to acknowledge that he pulled off something no other director had to this point (as they had done, for example, in giving Walt Disney a special Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). I don’t think this will happen — but only because Jackson’s a shoo-in for the Director award.

Best Actor
I had said:
Bill Murray
I am now saying: Bill Murray
Why: Because I think people want to. One gets the vibe that Academy voters know they should vote for Sean Penn, being he’s a great actor and all, but they’re not enthusiastic — this most tellingly revealed by Johnny Depp’s surprise SAG award for Best Actor. Meanwhile Bill Murray has been making all the right moves to get the award. Now, you may ask — does Depp’s SAG award mean he has an actual chance at the Best Actor Oscar? Yes, I think it does; at least he has a far better chance that I would have expected (comedic roles are generally not serious Oscar contenders). But I suspect they may think there more there there with Murray’s performance.

Best Actress
I had said:
Charlize Theron
I am now saying: Charlize Theron
Why: Because Diane Keaton, her only serious competition, hasn’t caught fire so far as I can tell. And it’s hard for the Academy to ignore a performance where an attractive star so obviously negates her ownself for the role.

Best Supporting ActorI had said: Tim Robbins
I am now saying: Tim Robbins
Why: I think the Academy does want to give an award to Mystic River, and this will suffice. I still think Baldwin can come from behind, but I also suspect the Academy members suspect Baldwin will pop up again in one of the two male acting categories, so they might not feel a mad rush. Possible come from behind: Djimon Hounsou. It could happen!

Best Supporting Actress
I had said: Rene Zellweger
I am now saying: Rene Zellweger, BUT….
Why: I do think Zellweger can pull this through by sheer force of will (and Miramax), BUT I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Shohreh Aghdashloo comes from behind and nabs it. I think Zellweger may have been too openly covetous of the award, and anyway, supporting categories are always twitchy. You never know what way they are going to go. If I were to put it into percentages, I’d say I’m 51% sure Zellweger will get it — and 48% suspecting Aghdashloo will come from behind (the other 1%? Patricia Clarkson).

There you have it. Let’s see on Monday how I did.

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