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Oscar Predictions

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

helen-mirren-blog.jpg
Helen Mirren (as Queen Elizabeth II) in The Queen

Christie Lemire and David Germain, film writers for the Associated Press predict the Oscar winners. See if you agree. Read on:

With the Academy Awards best-picture category a wide-open affair, Associated Press film writers Christy Lemire and David Germain at least have one thing to disagree about.

For best director and the four acting categories, Lemire and Germain are in complete agreement on who’ll win. Here are their picks (Lemire writes their joint opinion for director and actor, Germain for actress and the supporting categories, while they duke it out over best picture):

BEST PICTURE

Nominees: Babel, The Departed, Letters From Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen.

GERMAIN: I would make a lousy academy member, not only because I lack all applicable talents to become an academy member, but also because I would perpetually vote for losers in the best-picture category.

My favourite films among the five nominees almost never win, and this year, my top three – The Queen, Little Miss Sunshine and Letters From Iwo Jima – are the ones I think are least likely to come away with the prize.

The Queen deserves to win because it’s a masterpiece of economical filmmaking. It packs a lifetime of high drama for Elizabeth II into the single toughest week of her 50-year-plus reign, the span when public opinion turned sharply against her over the royal family’s aloofness after Princess Diana’s death.

Little Miss Sunshine merits second place because it’s an extreme version of all our messed-up kin, presenting an endearing portrait of blood ties strained and regained that, like many stories of family bonds, would be tragic if it wasn’t so funny.

Letters From Iwo Jima should come in third because it’s a grand, gut-wrenching examination of fatal devotion to a lost cause, a compassionate rendering of an enemy Hollywood historically has reviled as Japanese troops fight and die defending the Pacific island.

I would rank the mob tale The Departed next and the ensemble drama Babel last, yet I suspect the best-picture winner will be one of the two.

The Departed is hardly Martin Scorsese’s best work, though the first two-thirds come close before the film concludes with a repetitive bloodbath. Still, it’s enormously entertaining, a breathlessly paced crime epic that’s a reminder of Scorsese’s finer films – making it also a reminder that the academy never has honoured him with the best-picture prize.

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