Here is a breakdown of the top honors at the Academy Awards, which will be aired on February 25, 2007, so make sure you mark the date on your calendar.
Will Win: Little Miss Sunshine
With a victory a the Screen Actor’s Guild, The Producer’s Guild and The Writer’s Guild, it not surprising how this sleeper hit creeped past its other contenders. This is a particular hard year to predict because with the exception of a few categories there are no locks to win. But, I honestly believe Little Miss Sunshine has what it takes to pull the upset.
Should Win: Little Miss Sunshine
I lovedThe Departed, but the original foreign version is still better. I thought Letters From Iwo Jima was very interesting, but slightly on the boring side such as a movie one must watch in a High School History class. The Queen was very regal but honestly is a bit out-of-place in this category. And then there’s Babel, sorry but this one was mostly hype. Little Miss Sunshine is a well-written, touching, funny and wonderfully acted family drama which is something that rarely ever comes out … at least done right.
Overlooked: Little Children
Easily the most honest and literally beautiful movie made about adultery.
Children of Men
Interesting concept, stunning execution but a bit too Sci-Fi for Academy voters.
Notes on a Scandal
Should be nominated just for the commanding performances from the film’s leading ladies.
Will Win: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Winning nearly every award this season, Mirren is the only lock in the Academy race this year. Don’t expect an upset.
Should Win: Kate Winslet, Little Children
While Mirren did an impersonation, (Meryl) Streep was good but her character was a bit one-dimensional and Cruz delivered only her second decent performance, it was Winslet who really did something with her character, Sarah. Winslet’s performance was subtle and gradual, but as with the movie itself it stayed with you for days.
Overlooked: Naomi Watts, The Painted Veil
Watts takes a snobby socialite who is forced into a marriage and by the film’s end transforms her into our heroine. Another great and unappreciated performance from Ms. Watts.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby
Daring. The places and things she does as this character are phenomenal, but Sherrybaby flew under the radar only making a few appearances on year-end lists.
Ellen Page, Hard Candy
Horrifying, powerful and haunting are words that can be used to describe her performance in this unique Fatal Attraction-esque thriller.
Will Win: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
As with Mirren, Whitaker got an early start on the Oscar season due to a September release date. But, unlike his female counterpart, Whitaker is not a shoe-in this year.
Should Win: Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
A very memorable performances in a small indie drama.
Overlooked: Edward Norton, The Painted Veil or The Illusionist
This was Norton’s year with three equally noteworthy performances but no acknowledgements.
Patrick Wilson, Little Children
The object of everyone’s affection in Little Children and it was captured perfectly by Wilson.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
It is a shame that the Academy chose DiCaprio’s role in Blood Diamond over his superior work in The Departed.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Former American Idol contender has the entire Hollywood community buzzing with her standout performance in the year’s most hyped film.
Should Win: Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Blanchett does it again with another breathtaking performance, but since she won just last year in the same category it seems highly unlikely that the Academy will acknowledge her for this role.
Overlooked: Frances McDormand, Friends With Money
Delivering the ensemble drama’s most memorable performance deserve some kind of attention.
Jennifer Connelly, Little Children
Poor, Connelly despite appearing in two critical acclaimed films (Little Children, Blood Diamond) she fails to even garner a single nomination.
Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine
The looney road trip’s voice of reason and a stellar turn from Ms. Collette.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Favored to win especially after capturing both the Golden Globe and SAG awards.
Should Win: Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
A haunting performance that is equal parts sickening and beautiful.
Overlooked: Jack Nicholson, The Departed
Mark Wahlberg over Nicholson, you have got to be kidding me. Nicholson was easily the best thing The Departed had going for it.
Bill Nighy, Notes on a Scandal
“Poor, poor Pussy … Now, can I have my wife back,” with a darkly humorous line as Nighy is one of the highlights from this sparkling movie adaption.
Steve Carrell, Little Miss Sunshine
Carrell plays against the grain proving that he is far better than his comedic contemporaries (Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn), but with Arkin, Collette in the cast it is easy to lose sight of this performance.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Little Miss Sunshine
The greatest indicator of this victory was Little Miss Sunshine‘s win at the Writers’ Guild for Best Original Screenplay.
Should Win: Little Miss Sunshine
The script isn’t filled with revolutionary ideas or groundbreaking concepts but neither are those of any of the other nominees. Sunshine’s screenplay is packed to the rim with a delicious mix sexual humor, family moral and sprinkled with warmth.
Overlooked: Friends With Money
Following the independent success of her previous release (Walking and Talking, Lovely & Amazing), Friends With Money is a touching and brutally honest script about four very different women and the lives they chose to lead.
The Science of Sleep
One of the year’s most romantic movies it bravely examines the nature of dreams vs reality.
Stranger Than Fiction
Great concept and a script filled with more witty ideas than the usual run-of-the-mil Hollywood production.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: The Departed
The story behind the movie comes to us from a Hong Kong import by the name of Infernal Affairs and both are very compelling looks into police corruption.
Should Win: Little Children
Not exciting but probing, Little Children deals with topics ranging from wants, desire, unhappiness, acceptance, loss, despair and hatred. While most films have trouble examine even a simple topic, this film cross-examine nearly a dozen in the course of two hours and succeeds.
Overlooked: The Painted Veil
This is a different kind of love story and the film’s screenplay is brilliantly colored with rich textures that underline the journey of a woman trapped in a marriage with someone she doesn’t love.
V for Vendetta
Graphic novels or comic book-based films never get true recognition from Road to Perdition to Ghost World to even Spiderman 2, all had great epic scripts but failed to receive serious attention. Vendetta is a wonderful journey through an Orwellian nightmare filled with censorship and extreme Christian extremist.
Will Win: Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Should Win: Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Overlooked: Alfonso Curson, Children of Men
John Curran, The Painted Veil