Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Mind Wanders. When Will It Be Tuesday?

Tomorrow morning we'll have SAG predictions. Until then a wandering mind has settled in. I'm second guessing my predictions. If you play along at home you're probably second guessing yours. You start imagining ever more complicated Oscar scenarios emerging. One reader --we'll call him Vincent since that is, in fact, his name-- told me that my speculation that the lack of passion for the Best Actress frontrunners this year could result in 2003 style surprises made him think of 1994. He writes:

"there were really no stand-out and/or commerically & critically successful (read: obvious choices) Best Actress possibilities, so they ended up filling the category with actresses who had all been nominated (and/or won) at least once before. The winner ended up being Jessica Lange for a little seen film that had been on the shelf for a few years (Like with Susan Sarandon's win, it struck me as an ad hoc "Lifetime Achievement Award," even though Lange already had a supporting.). That further made me think of (your favorite) Michelle Pfeiffer's nomination in 1992 for a "Love Field," which had been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years before it got released. Does this in any way, shape or form affect Paltrow's chances, sans SAG nom (having had her film shelved too)? The connection is tenuous, but it just got me thinking.

Lots of things get me to thinking the week before Oscar nominations are announced. But I try NOT to think about 1994. It was one of those years (read: every single year that the best actress race is considered "weak") wherein Oscar voters just weren't trying hard enough to find the worthy women. They were out there. They just weren't in the typical Oscar bait roles. But back to Vincent's Gwynnie fantasy --she's certainly worthier than Ziyi or Theron. So why not root for her or other unlikelies?

Any thoughts as weird as Paltrow emerging like a phoenix from the ashes running through your head as we close in on Oscar nomination morning? Dazzle us with your complicated mental gymnastics readers. Wake us up from our pre-nomination malaise.

13 comments:

John T. said...

Three thoughts:

First: Best Supporting Actor (circa 1998)

In 1998, Duvall, Harris, Thornton, and Rush were all locks for nods, but none was really emerging as a winner (sure, people will half-heartedly endorsing Harris who had never won before or Duvall, who was snubbed the year before, much like Clooney and Giamatti, but it still seemed lackluster). The fifth slot, however, was for James Coburn, who was indeed the fifth slot (few people predicted him). And yet, Oscar, in their love of the aging thespians, went all out for him and gave him the trophy. I'm wondering if Donald Sutherland or especially Frank Langella may have more of a shot at an eventual trophy if they can just sneak in (plus, it'd be nice to see Oscar honor a "fifth slot" contender again).

Best Actor
I'm starting to feel a little giddy here, but I keep feeling heat rising off of my Ralph Fiennes, and I can't help but feel excited-I'm sure it won't happen, but every once and a while Oscar throws me a bone.

Best Actress
There's gotta be something big coming here (though I'm filled with a little dread that it will equal last year's easy to predict five). I'd love to see the incredibly deserving Naomi Watts sneak in, but I'm getting the feeling that it might in fact be Nathaniel's beloved one Joan Allen. I've been leery to jump on that bandwagon (seems to good to be true since she'd be replacing Charlize or Zhang), but Oscar hardly ever nominates this many first time nominees-Joan's already been in Oscar's arena before...

Fred said...

Is there any, any way that Judi Dench won't get nominated? All season long she's appeared to be a solid bet for a nomination, but I still wouldn't feel comfortable calling her a "lock." No one seems to feel any great love for her film, or even for her performance. It would, in a way, seem kinder to disregard the movie/role altogether than, yet again, to nominate her when she has absolutely no chance of winning. In all likelihood, her name will be on the short-list, but at the same time I wouldn't be overly shocked if she were excluded. I'm just not feeling the intense love.

I do see this as another potential 2003. One thing worth remembering, though, is how totally random that year was. It wouldn't have been that surprising, for example, if Jennifer Connelly or Uma Thurman had taken the spots that we assumed would go to Evan Rachel Wood, Scarlet Johannson, or Nicole Kidman. But Keshia Castle-Hughes (SAG supporting nod notwithstanding) and especially Samantha Morton came from virtually nowhere. My point; I do not anticipate that this year's lineup will be the expected Witherspoon, Huffman, Zhang, Theron, Dench. I'm thinking, however, that the replacements will not be Joan Allen (as much as she deserves this) or Keira Knightly. Instead, I'm counting on a totally random addition. Claire Danes? Julianne Moore? Rosario Dawson??? OK, maybe not as random as these three, but random.

damian b. said...

like maybe a little Toni Collette...Naomi Watts...or Laura Linney. I'd love it!

JavierAG said...

It's Q'Orianka Kilcher, fred. That's Q'Orianka Kilcher right there.

And wouldn't it be sweet to see the Academy bow down to "A History of Violence"? Really, sometimes they go all smart on us like with "The Thin Red Line". It can happen. And that fifth spot could go to Mortensen, for the most monstrously underrated performance of the year (it would be Ledger vs. Mortensen in a perfect world).

adam k. said...

This does seem suspicously like 2003. Huffman and Witherspoon are the Theron and Keaton of their years (globe winners/locks), and Dench appears to be the Naomi Watts (likely to be nominated but not to win) slot. But I am just not feeling like Zhang and Theron will make it this year. Who loves these performances? Whose ballots will they be #1 on? Really, whose (other than their costars/directors)? Zhang's nom would at least be unique, which is some incentive, but I don't think Theron will be on enough #1 ballots at all.

I think the most likely to benefit are:
Joan Allen (though she has a lot against her)
Paltrow
Watts
Kilcher (wouldn't it be amazing if the New World WAS shut out all except for Kilcher, thus continuing the "unknown young non-white, non-black actress getting the only nom for her film" streak?)

I think category confusion will make things very difficult for Linney and Collete, though.

I am also feeling Langella for that 5th slot now, though (and a possible win). Though I think everyone's underestimating Jake... he may in fact be the one who ends up winning.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I've got the intense love for Dench in Henderson. I think it's her best work on screen since Shakespeare, and superior to her nominated work in Chocolat and Iris.

But much as I pray she's in there, I fear that Fred may have a point. She's sitting in that uncomfortable "third place" slot; not quite the lock that Witherspoon and Huffman have become, yet not seemingly on the shaky ground which Theron and Zhang are sitting.

Which makes me worry.

Beyond Dench, though, by this point I just want anyone other than Theron or Zhang to fill those 4th and 5th slots, just to wake me up. And although I've not thought much about it before, I really think the ballot-ordering factor will come into play here. I can't see many putting Theron or Zhang top, but I CAN see people putting Allen top. And I think Paltrow and Knightley will both place higher on ballots than Theron or Zhang too...

Rob

Anonymous said...

And I worry for Jake too. I think he may turn up on a few Lead Actor ballots for Brokeback (in addition to a few citations for Jarhead), which may leave him with nothing a la Scarlett 2003.

Rob

NATHANIEL R said...

john ---a sutherland or langella win would be heaven. don't get me too excited. this category is so boring without a 5th slot surprise. actor -i am seriously tempted to put Fiennes in in place of Howard (no really) and move Howard to supporting.

fred & damian --someone random would be cool but the only "random" i could actually see happening with no precursor support to speak of is Toni Collette. Because the people who would put that performance on their ballot would put it at #1. Joan Allen has at least the BFCA to work with. The other random not unprecedented thing would be to see Maria Bello take the Theron or Zhang spot.

rob --i thought Dench was super fun in Mrs Henderson myself. I'm just sad that when they deign to lower themselves to comedy it has to be in the guise of British comedy... why not Joan Allen!?

Marcelo said...

True story:

I paid the gym today and the secretary gave me a 2003 receipt. Spooky!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it would be a lovely surprise with Paltrow and Watts, MacLaine and Li, and Michael Haneke for Caché. But I have this strange feeling about Cillian Murphy. I could see Crowe/Daniels/Fiennes/Howard all 'dividing' the votes for the fifth slot and Murphy squeaking into the lineup. It's where my mind's been wandering.

- Robbie K.

Kamikaze Camel said...

In my predictions a couple of weeks ago I actually predicted Toni Collette! But I have since gone off that. I just don't think it can happen for Shoes, however I completely think Gwynnie is indeed a major threat for the final two. Plus, she's preggers now!

Other random thoughts I had:

Wong Kar-Wai or Michael Henake for Best Director.

Constant Gardener for Best Picture (I am actually predicting this)

Munich - completely. shut. out.

And I really wanna say... Paul Giamatti snubbed again. But I think even I have to put that one away - I haven't predicted him yet btw.

Jose said...

Go Gwyneth!
I know it's a shallow comment but she is so underrated nowadays!
Maybe theyre not used to beautiful women playing complex characters while remaining beautiful.

NATHANIEL R said...

jose --they definitely aren't. beauty is not "in" with the ACADEMY these days.