ALL weighs in on the Oscars

Best Picture

Andrew Gaug:

Should Win: Little Miss Sunshine. Although I liked all the movies in the Best Picture category, this is the only one I enjoyed for its entirety. It doesn’t compare to precious winners like Braveheart and A Beautiful Mind, but neither did Shakespeare in Love.

Will Win: The Departed. Let’s not fool ourselves. It’s Scorsese all the way. Babel would be like rewarding Crash a second time, Iwo Jima would be rewarding Eastwood a third time and The Queen plays more like a well-made BBC special than a Best Picture movie. Plus The Departed had great writing and a top-notch cast.

Bob Taylor:

Should Win: All the films nominated for Best Picture fall short of achieving their mostly epic goals except one: Little Miss Sunshine. Nothing about it screams that it should even be nominated, but here is a film that knows exactly what it is supposed to be and knows exactly what it needs to accomplish, and it does. Perfectly.

Will Win: Probably The Departed, though Babel, sadly, could upset.

Adam Griffiths:

Should win: Babel. It may be the most clich‚ nominee while being one of the most breathtaking. Despite receiving the most nominations (seven) and its unique locale-hopping approach, the film is wrought with predictability, often with no dramatic effect.

Will win: The Departed. Martin Scorsese’s latest won with audiences, grossed the most among the other nominees and combined the varied talents of actors across the age gamut. Its twisty script and intense imagery left an impression on viewers’ minds in calculated and classic Scorsese fashion.

Best Actor

Andrew Gaug:

Should win: Ryan Gosling. He could easily cash in on his good looks and play dumbed-down Freddie Prinze Jr. roles. Instead, he gives a powerhouse performance in Half Nelson as a grizzly drug addict.

Will Win: Forest Whitaker. I haven’t seen Last King of Scotland and I can still safely say it’s Whitaker’s turn for a gold man all the way.

Bob Taylor:

Should Win: Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) pulled off the hat trick of making me forget he was even an actor: He became a drug-addicted teacher from the first frame to the last. No other actor nominated in any category can claim to do the same; they are all simply inhabiting their characters without becoming them.

Will Win: Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland), for the movie nobody has ever seen and will be forgotten in less than a year.

Adam Griffiths:

Should win: Forest Whitaker. None of the other performances in this category can compete. Venus was a critically divided release, Leonardo DiCaprio was much better in The Departed and Will Smith’s feel good The Pursuit of Happyness performance grossed the most in this category, but wasn’t his best work.

Will win: Forest Whitaker. He fit his role as ruthless totalitarian Idi Amin so well it was frightening. The twisting of the character’s flaws and weaknesses into a passionate performance earned him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, and he’ll go home with another statue to add to his collection.

Best Actress

Bob Taylor:

Should Win: Kate Winslet’s role isn’t the devil in good clothing or the queen of England or a lesbian schoolteacher with a fixation on Cate Blanchett. She’s just playing a mother going through the hardest time in her life, and selling every emotion and moment. I’m not a mother. I’m not having an affair with a prom king. But still, I sympathize with her more than any other nominee.

Will Win: Helen Mirren, hands down. I don’t get the appeal of playing a boring queen doing nothing for five days, but maybe that’s just me.

Adam Griffiths:

Should win: Meryl Streep. If Helen Mirren weren’t a contender, Streep would have it for her performance in The Devil Wears Prada. Comedy roles rarely clench Oscars, but her 14th nomination for the articulate boss-devil Miranda Priestly proves that she is one of the most versatile actresses on screen day. She deserves recognition.

Will win: Helen Mirren. This two-time past nominee just got it in The Queen. She looked the part. She spoke the part. She looked right at home in stuffy Buckingham Palace as her people mauled her name for her handling of Diana’s death. Plus, she, as well as the film, has already won a slew of other awards.

Best Supporting Actress

Andrew Gaug:

Should Win: Adriana Barraza. Her performance was one of the few stunning things about Babel. She put everything on the line and came up with gold. It won’t be enough to beat Hudson, but it should be noted.

Will Win: Jennifer Hudson. To get more buzz about the advertised main star, Beyonce alone deserves some sort of award.

Bob Taylor:

Should and Will Win: This is, by far, the toughest category to choose from, since Blanchett and Barraza were stunning in their respective roles, but Hudson just blew me and every other member of the audience away. There is a reason the audience stands up and cheers during Dreamgirls, and she is it.

Adam Griffiths:

Should win: Adriana Barraza. The only nominee who put her life in danger for a stellar performance, her portrayal of the desperate nanny in Babel was the most irresistible and emotional role in the film. If Babel were to get the award, it’d probably go to Rinko Kikucki’s for her deaf teenager role, but Barraza drove a rather predictable character straight home.

Will win: Jennifer Hudson. The Academy has to do something to honor Dreamgirls, and Hudson’s diva debut will probably be just the role to do it. While some may question her integrity coming in with “American Idol” roots, every scene she does is hard to resist and show-stopping.

Best Supporting Actor

Andrew Gaug:

Should Win: Alan Arkin. Of all the categories, this is one of the tougher ones to choose. Djimon Hounsou was excellent in Blood Diamond, but his role might be looked over as it is close to his other roles in Amistad and Gladiator. Wahlberg and Arkin both shined within their ensemble of bigger-named stars and only added to how great their respective films were, but Arkin seems to have the upper hand because he’s a seasoned actor and the Academy may not be able to give the Oscar to the person responsible for “Good Vibrations.”

Will Win: Eddie Murphy. After being looked over by the Academy in pitch-perfect performances in The Nutty Professors and Bowfinger, Murphy deserves something for nailing a role where he reached deep and showed his flaws and nuances in Dreamgirls.

Bob Taylor:

Should Win: James Earle Haley manages to be supremely menacing and yet sympathetic in every scene he has in Little Children. It’s difficult to toe that line and still have the viewer care about the character, but that is what Haley does, and he does it amazingly well.

Will Win: Eddie Murphy will win, and I have to give him credit: For the first time in his career, he has made a film that didn’t make me want to stab my eyes with Twizzlers and stuff Milk Duds into my ears.

Adam Griffiths:

Should win: Alan Arkin. He starred in this year’s breakout contender, Little Miss Sunshine, as the coke-snorting and offensive grandfather. His bittersweet exit will probably kill his chances in this category, but his performance otherwise was flawless, full of dead-on humor and dry wit.

Will win: Eddie Murphy. Murphy moved audiences in their seats and in their hearts in Dreamgirls. If the Academy can forget an often-turbulent comedy background and focus on this role alone, he’ll win it for his expressive performance as a drug-addicted lounge singer.

Contact ALL assistant editor Andrew Gaug at [email protected]. Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected]. Contact ALL correspondent Adam Griffiths at [email protected].