Note: Yahoo is not running the Oscar pool this year, because they suck. I'm having to code a poll-style one myself, but it'll be up soon. (Damn, there are a lot of categories.) If you're interested, friend dailydigest, the official Digest account, where it'll be announced when ready.
If you have predictions, let me know, and I'll link them here. I know that jedi_funk put his up a good while back.
Best Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Because it’s time.
Best Director: Peter Jackson. I hear that the LAPD has ordered fresh riot gear on the off chance that Jackson doesn’t win.
Best Actor: A month ago, I would have said “Sean Penn” without hesitation. But for some reason, Bill Murray has surged forward. Well—no guts, no glory. It’s a 51-vs-49 percent shot, but I’m going with Murray. (Watch Sean Penn win now.) That said: if Johnny Depp somehow wins, there will be vast intergenerational jubilation in the House of Digest.
Best Actress: Charlize Theron.
OW: Keisha Castle-Hughes. No guts, no glory.
Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins.
Best Supporting Actress: People keep talking about Shohreh Aghdashloo as the spoiler—and I agree, if it’s anyone, it’ll be her—but I really think that Renée Zellweger will take it. She took the Globe, she took the SAG; it’s a way to toss Cold Mountain a bone; she’s been nominated twice previously; industry people seem to like her. If it weren’t for those two previous nominations, I think Aghdashloo would have a better chance, but there’s a sense that it’s time for Zellweger.
Adapted Screenplay: I agree with Sasha (OW)—this is one of the most wide-open categories. We could see American Splendor get its due; we could see ROTK pick it up in a sweep. In fact, this is one award I could actually see Seabiscuit winning (it tied Mystic River at the Writers Guild), and then there’s City of God. I’m hearing Mystic River a lot, though; it did tie the WGA, after all, and it’s a way to throw a bone to the movie for not winning director or picture.
Ebert: Mystic River.
EW: Mystic River.
Original Screenplay: Over and over again, I’m hearing Lost in Translation (although In America is a strong spoiler). People who love this movie really, really love this movie, and I think it’s also a way to honor Sofia Coppola without giving her director.
Ebert: Lost in Translation.
EW: Lost in Translation.
OW: Lost in Translation.
Foreign Language: The Barbarian Invasions is the one I hear come up time and time again. That’s all I know.
Ebert: The Barbarian Invasions.
EW: The Barbarian Invasions, with Evil (Sweden) as a long shot.
OW: The Barbarian Invasions.
Documentary: It’s a dead heat between Capturing the Friedmans and The Fog of War, from what I can tell. I’d like to see Friedmans win, but everything I’m hearing indicates Fog of War.
Ebert: The Fog of War.
EW: The Fog of War.
OW: The Fog of War.
Documentary Short Subject: I’ll go with EW’s prediction, Chernobyl Heart.
EW: Chernobyl Heart.
Live Action Short: Two Soldiers is what I’m hearing.
EW: Two Soldiers.
OW: Two Soldiers.
Animated Short: Destino, the Disney-Dali collaboration.
Animated Film: Finding Nemo. Outside shot: The Triplets of Belleville. But before Return of the King came out, Finding Nemo was the top grosser of the year, not to mention critically adored. How many Academy voters do you think have seen Belleville?
Ebert: Finding Nemo.
EW: Finding Nemo.
OW: Finding Nemo.
Editing: Return of the King in a sweep. However, EW points out that Editing hasn’t matched Picture in four of the last five years. I agree that Master and Commander could be a spoiler here.
OW: City of God.
Cinematography: Master and Commander. No, ROTK is not nominated.
EW: Master and Commander.
OW: Seabiscuit—noting that it’s between Seabiscuit, M&C, and City of God.
Original Score: Howard Shore, ROTK. For the 100th time, I’ll say it: the lighting of the beacons is one of the best scenes in the movie, and it’s all the score.
Original Song: “Into the West,” ROTK. When Shore and Fran Walsh accepted the Globe, and Walsh mentioned that the song was inspired by a young filmmaker friend who died an untimely death, I thought to myself, “Congratulations, you just won yourself an Oscar.” How can voters turn that down?
EW: “Into the West.”
OW: “Into the West.”
Best Sound: Return of the King.
Best Sound Editing: Master and Commander. No, ROTK is not nominated.
EW: Master and Commander.
OW: Master and Commander.
Art Direction: I would certainly give it to ROTK if it were up to me, but EW suggests Last Samurai and Girl with a Pearl Earring as potential spoilers. This may be one of those “What’s this for again? Oh, hell, give it to [the front runner].” That’s who I’m predicting, at any rate.
Costume Design: Ngila Dickson. I can predict that with certainty. She will either win for Return of the King or The Last Samurai; at the Costume Designers Guild, she tied herself. Seriously. She seems to have gotten more award attention for Samurai; if she wins for ROTK, it’ll probably be in a “Let’s check off everything that corresponds to the Best Picture” spirit. Give me half a point if ROTK wins; I’m going with Samurai otherwise.
EW: Samurai over ROTK, but definitely Dickson.
EW: ROTK (with POTC as a possible spoiler)
Visual Effects: ROTK, third year in a row.