The Academy Awards: Who will win? Who should win?

Robert Taylor

Munich. The film is nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Courtesy of Universal Studios”>

A meeting of Israeli officials in a scene from Munich. The film is nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Courtesy of Universal Studios

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain

Capote

Crash

Good Night, and Good Luck

Munich

Should Win: Brokeback Mountain. It’s not a masterpiece because of its touchy subject matter, nor because all the critics say it is. You don’t have to be gay, a cowboy, married or have children to identify with the main characters. The other films are all excellent (with the exception of Capote), but Brokeback is one of the best love stories of all time.

Will Win: Brokeback Mountain proved that “serious gay movies” can be so much more than just political statements, hit home with critics and audiences, had breakthrough performances from all its stars . need I continue? The only possible upset is Crash.

Best Actor

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote

Terrence Howard – Hustle and Flow

Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain

Joaquin Phoenix – Walk The Line

David Strathairn – Good Night, and Good Luck

Should Win: Is it harder to recreate a famous living person or create a new character from scratch? Phoenix and Hoffman failed to convince me that they were the characters they were portraying and not just actors doing an impression. Howard was nominated for the weaker of his two Oscar-worthy performances this year (were he nominated for Crash, he would be considered a lock in that category), so I’m throwing my support toward Ledger, who created a fully formed character without much dialogue or big emotional scenes.

Will Win: The oft-praised Hoffman seems to have the buzz going for him, though an upset by Ledger or Howard is not out of the picture.

Best Actress

Judi Dench – Mrs. Henderson Presents

Felicity Huffman – Trans america

Keira Knightly – Pride and Prejudice

Charlize Theron – North Country

Reese Witherspoon – Walk The Line

Should Win: Knightly was the biggest surprise this year. Everyone knew she was gorgeous, but did anyone know she could act so well and carry an epic?

Will Win: Witherspoon, for being the emotional center of the subpar Walk The Line.

Best Supporting Actor

George Clooney – Syriana

Matt Dillon – Crash

Paul Giamatti – Cinderella Man

Jake Gyllenhaal – Brokeback Mountain

William Hurt – A History of Violence

Should Win: Clooney, Giamatti and Gyllenhaal were better in other recent films, so they are out. Hurt’s ten minutes in A History of Violence weren’t enough make me forget Dillon’s amazing multi-layered portrayal of a corrupt cop in Crash, so the award should go to Dillon.

Will Win: Clooney or Giamatti. This is ironic because Clooney won’t win for Syriana, he’ll win for his work on Good Night, and Good Luck, and Giamatti won’t win for Cinderella Man, he’ll win for Sideways. This isn’t right, but it’s the way the Academy works.

Best Director

George Clooney – Good Night, and Good Luck

Paul Haggis – Crash

Ang Lee – Brokeback Mountain

Bennett Miller – Capote

Steven Spielberg – Munich

Should Win: Lee, for balancing the epic with the intimate perfectly in Brokeback. The other nominees didn’t even come close to matching his work. I’ll always remember certain images from the film, certain moments and that’s because of Lee.

Will Win: Lee will score a well-deserved win here.

Contact ALL reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected]