Monday, December 05, 2005

National Board of Review Predictions

Is it already that time of year? That time of year when awards specialists attempt to find some sort of pattern (*cough*) to the bizzare let's-vote-for-anything-because-we-begin-the-trend habits of the National Board of Review, a New-York based group of... well, who knows? But years of controversy about their policies and selections has not lessened their influence on the Oscar race. In fact, the very idea that I'm dedicating an entire post to this awards announcement affirms how much we look to this group for some sort of direction in this chaotic, anything-is-possible atmosphere (The Producers! Narnia! Brokeback! Oscar! Nominate me! Nominate that! ...!!). Personally, I really hope the Board has some balls this year and picks something a little less predictable and not so baity for the #1 spot. I don't think anyone expected the drab, creatively-challenged Finding Neverland to arrive in the Best Picture slot last year. Furthermore, I hope we get some really "out there" (but warranted) selections. Something as unexpected as Campbell Scott deservingly winning Best Actor for Roger Dodger or Gods and Monsters getting Best Picture. Something as delicious as Quills inexplicably getting top honours. Let's see more of that, okay?

Anyways, onto my predictions. It was really difficult this time around. Last year, I scored an amazing 7/10, which is pretty good if I do say so myself (I botched it with #1, thinking they would fall for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and we know what happened there). I don't expect to have the same success this time around at all. There are so many films competing for attention right now, it's hard to narrow it down.

1. Good Night, and Good Luck. (George Clooney)
2. Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall)
3. Munich (Steven Spielberg)
4. Match Point (Woody Allen)
5. Cinderella Man (Ron Howard)
6. Capote (Bennet Miller)
7. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee)
8. Crash (Paul Haggis)
9. The Constant Gardener (Fernando Mereilles)
10. Walk the Line (James Mangold)

[alternates: The New World, Mrs. Henderson Presents, King Kong, The Family Stone and Pride and Prejudice, all of which I feel stupid for leaving out].

Latest word on the Oscar scene is that the Board is ga-ga over GN,AGL and Memoirs. I think the final selection will come down between those two films and Steven Spielberg's mysterious project (which they just screened yesterday). A part of me wants badly to go with Munich, as it will be fresh in their minds and a very bold statement on the race (placing it as the obvious frontrunner). Then again, they may want to go small, like they did with Gods and Monsters in 1998. I would feel a lot better making these judgment calls if I'd seen these films beforehand (I still haven't seen Walk the Line and had to turn down passes to Memoirs of a Geisha today).

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote (The last two years, they've gone with the frontrunner, who went on to win. Why change gears now?) [alt. Ralph Fiennes, The Constant Gardener and The White Countess]

Best Actress: Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger and Yes (perhaps also for Off the Map) [alt. Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents]

Best Supporting Actor: Barry Pepper, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (I don't know, we need a shake-up in this category) [alt. Bob Hoskins, Mrs. Henderson Presents]

Best Supporting Actress: Gong Li, Memoirs of a Geisha [alt. Scarlett Johansson, Match Point]

Best Director: Rob Marshall, Memoirs of a Geisha (The Board is always very wild in this area, but this time I feel they'll be a bit more predictable. I'm also tempted to say Ang Lee, but he won ten years ago for Sense and Sensibility) [alt. Steven Spielberg, Munich]

Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, Match Point (He better get some love considering he's getting "best-of career" citations). [alt. Paul Haggis, Crash]

Best Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Munich [alt. Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain]

And the rest... (I'm not going to do their ridiculous "Freedom of Expression" awards. Yawn.)

Ensemble: Crash (I'll be quite shocked if it's otherwise)
Animated Feature: Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Breakthrough (Male): Terrence Howard, Crash and Hustle and Flow
Breakthrough (Female): Amy Adams, Junebug (EDIT: Since the selections have been moved to Monday, I'm changing this to Rachel McAdams for her three films [Wedding Crashers, Red Eye, The Family Stone] this year. I don't know why, but I have a feeling.)
Directorial Debut: Bennet Miller, Capote
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck.
Production Design: Pride and Prejudice
Musical Score: John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha
Foreign Film: 2046
Documentary: Murderball


Nick M. said...
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Nick M. said...

After reading that article on the NBR, which was linked from Oscarwatch, I do not know if I can take them seriously. Yes, they ARE the group which claimed that Finding Neverland was the best film of last year, but now I have COMPLETELY lost all hope and interest in them.

I am trying not to care, but I cannot help but predict that Pride and Prejudice will make it in. I skimmed over their Best Picture history, and many classic British adaptations have taken top honor. It will not win the top prize (as you said, the buzz is surrounding Good Night and Memoirs), but it will take -- #7 (arbitrary number, of course, since the NBR likes to rank lists like that).

Oh, and I believe you mean Bennet Miller, not Dan Futterman, for Directorial Debut (your Male and Female debut picks are spot-on).

By the way -- Memoirs of a Geisha = this year's The Last Samurai.

Ali said...

Thank god you're around to catch my mistakes. I proof-read this entry several times and still goofed.

I had Pride and Prejudice on my list initially, but I would have had to leave off Walk the Line, which didn't feel right to me. However, you do make a good point - it probably will make the list.

How do you know that about Memoirs? Were you able to see it early?

If I remember correctly, you liked The Last Samurai, didn't you? Nutter.

Nick M. said...

I have not seen Memoirs yet, but I am going on Friday (a local theater is hosting an "event" -- the producer and author will be in attendence).

You are correct, I INITIALLY liked The Last Samurai. Then, uhh, I saw it again. I feel silly.