OSCAR WATCH: Scorecard Update

With the major guilds announcing their nominees, the 2005 Oscar picture is coming a little closer into focus. Alphabetically, here is where the contenders currently stand in their chances of scoring major nominations.

Equal to BROKEBACK in critical acclaim, but unlike the cowboy drama, there’s a strong group who believe the film is over praised. A Screenplay nomination is a safe bet, but the snub by SAG has made Vigo Mortenson and Maria Bello outside possibilities at best. (In a wide-open Supporting Actor field, William Hurt still has a strong shot.) Cronenberg was snubbed by the DGA, but don’t count him out just yet.

A lock for major prize contention, but will Hollywood break down barriers and show the gay cowboys some real love? Its strongest chances are for Adapted Screenplay and Director. Heath Ledger will be neck in neck with CAPOTE’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman and critics darling for Supporting Actress Michelle Williams now fights a rising tide of support for Rachel Weisz in THE CONSTANT GARDENER.

This used to be all about Hoffman (a lock) and maybe screenplay, but with the Guild nominations CAPOTE has become a major Oscar player and could nab slots for Supporting Actress, Director and Picture. It’ll be a long shot to win any of those three.

In the “global political thriller” arena, this film disappears in the combined shadows of MUNICH and SYRIANA (even though it’s the better film.) It should get a Screenplay nomination (actually the film’s weakest element) and a Supporting Actress nod (its strongest element). Director and Actor possibilities are remote at best.

With 3 Acting nominations from SAG, and noms from the Writers, Diretors and Producers guild, CRASH has officially been bumped up to major Oscar contender. Oh, and Best Screenplay…that’s practically money in the bank. (Of course I thought that about MEMENTO, which lost to GOSFORD PARK.)

Another film whose Oscar prospects improved greatly after being recognized by all four guilds. Could be the one that upsets CRASH for best Screenplay. David Strathairn might nab a Best Actor nod, but he’s just a slot filler. (A commanding performance from an underpraised character actor.)

After being snubbed by the Writers Guild for THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, and missing an acting nomination for Terrence Howard’s “welcome to the big leagues” performance, HUSTLE & FLOW said goodbye to its Oscar hopes. Still, there’s always best song.

Hollywood loves epic filmmaking, but Peter Jackson’s epic qualities seemed to work against his film this time. Plus, didn’t we just give him a bunch of trophies? SAG chose five other women in this lean year, so Naomi Watts’ will have to accept a simple “thank you” for her work.

It’s selling point is that it’s like no Woody Allen movie you’ve ever seen, but beyond a Best Screenplay nomination, people aren’t really THAT excited about it.

A huge disappointment that’s still sure to get some technical nods, but any major nominations would simply be because the film is so damned pedigreed.

This one’s all about Judi Dench. Bob Hoskins may sneak into the Supporting Actor category, but Dench is the only one garnering major consideration.

It’s snub from the Writers and Producers guild is a surprising mystery, but this film is not out of the race until the official nominations come out. Best Picture is far from out of the question, and Speilberg is certain to be mentioned.

There’s little enthusiasm for Terrance Malick’s art piece. It’s best chance (beyond technical nods) is for the girl with the unpronounceable name who plays Pocahontas.

Once destined to be an Oscar front runner is now only being mentioned because it’ll probably get nominations for Lead and Supporting Actress. (Richard Jenkins, you got screwed.)

It’s barely keeping the fire burning for Lead Actress Kiera Knightly, let alone spreading some heat to other categories.

The overpraise for SYRIANA might extend all the way to Best Picture, and I’m curious to see if the confusing and emotionally lacking screenplay gets an undeserved nod. (Some critics call the film brilliant for the very same reasons why I bashed it.) One thing that does seem certain is a Supporting nod to George Clooney, who is looking more and more like Oscar’s poster boy this year.

With a lot of outside possibilities, this is the little movie that could…unless CAPOTE gets there first (which it looks like it will.) Still, count this one in for a Best Screenplay nomination.

A longtime, strong possibility for Joan Allen (who was sensational). But all of her support seems to have drifted to Felicity Huffman.

The film is still largely unseen beyond the critics, but Huffman's performance is votable just from the part (a pre-op male to female transsexual) and the way she looks and sounds in the trailer. Beyond her sure-bet nomination…bupkiss.

A mainstream choice that went from being a lock for the two leads, to a contender in all major categories, back to being just the two leads. Fighting to become a major player again.


…better luck next time.


Blogger Zennie Abraham said...

Hello. Check out my info on Peter Jackson and the Directors guild at Peter Jackson Snubbed by DGA

6:06 PM  

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