The Oscars are tonight! I wish I cared, but friends, there's history here. The Oscars of 06 were an acid wash. And anyone else remember being run over by the LOTR: ROTK "choo-choo-choose me!" train in 04?
Still, I'll watch. Of course I'll watch. I'm the sort of viewer on whom Oscar depends: skeptical, vaguely irritated in advance, sure that redemption and understanding aren't going to be found at the bottom of this three-hour bottle but ready to drink to the last gulp anyhow. I'll find solace in forming opinions on the dresses and hoping Ellen says something witty, and I'll wish I'd had the stomach to see either of frontrunners Babel or the Departed.
But! One can always prognosticate:
WILL WIN BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Little Miss Sunshine (as a "thanks for playing!")
SHOULD WIN: Little Miss Sunshine (in sincere appreciation for how poignant and hilarious this take on the American family is)
WILL WIN BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Departed
SHOULD WIN: Borat. I am all about the funny and I don't care how much of it was scripted.
WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Eddie Murphy
SHOULD WIN: Jackie Earle Haley, who has never appeared in a fat suit.
WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Hudson. She has the best story and the most momentum. Still, I don't believe in giving Oscars for a person's first good performance. God knows it has done less than nothing for the careers of Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mira Sorvino ... In retrospect, aren't all of those choices ridiculous? What the Academy was actually doing there was rewarding someone pretty for trying, like giving a standing ovation when a dog rears up on its hind legs.
SHOULD WIN: Abigail Breslin, because I've never seen such an impressive, dare-i-say-inspiring? little kid performance; or Cate Blanchett for going toe-to-toe with Dame Judi Dench in a movie where the ferocious DJD sucked all of the oxygen out of the room.
WILL WIN BEST ACTOR: Forest Whitaker
SHOULD WIN: Clive Owen for Children of Men. Ryan Gosling was also good in his quiet, quiet way.
WILL WIN BEST ACTRESS: Helen Mirren
SHOULD WIN: This one's really hard. Kate Winslet put her all into Little Children, and WInslet's all is really something to see. Similarly Meryl Streep made Prada the delightful, shiver-inducing snarkfest that it was. But it really comes down to a contest between the British heavyweights, Dame Judi and Helen Mirren.
Sorry, DJD, but like everyone else, I have to go with Helen Mirren on this one too. Although as I mentioned, you were spellbinding in Notes on a Scandal, the best monster in a monster movie I'd seen in years, and I couldn't take my eyes off you, Mirren made me feel like I understood the Queen of England. That I even sympathized with her as she struggled to realize how she had become disconnected from her time and place, or rather how time and place surged forward without her. It was a strong, silent, bravura performance, full of inner conflict and grace and self-respect without vanity; and DJD, this just isn't your year. I don't blame you for staying home.
WILL WIN BEST DIRECTOR: Scorcese because blah blah legacy-cakes. Give the man an Oscar already so we can stop having this conversation every other year.
SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuaron for the harrowing, soulful Children of Men, especially the battle scenes of the last hour.
WILL WIN BEST PICTURE: Babel, in a repeat of the "See? We're Serious" phenomenon that brought us last year's utterly undeserving winner Crash. Unless voters really just wanted to be entertained and distracted this year, in which case The Departed
SHOULD WIN: I don't really know. Nothing completely thrilled me this year the way Hotel Rwanda, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or Adaptation, recently, did. My top five for this year ended up being: Little Miss Sunshine, the Queen, Notes on a Scandal, Children of Men, and Inside Man. Oh Clive, when will the world love you like I do?
Note: How cute are these skirts? I wish I could buy every last one of them, except they're each so cute, I'd be as upstaged wearing one as I would be walking an adorable golden retriever puppy. Should I really pay $60 for that privilege? Or should I just get a puppy?