OTB Oscar Predictions

Because I have several deadlines to meet early this week, I’m unable to post my customarily detailed predictions for the Academy Awards. But here are a few thoughts:

Best Picture

For two months, I felt certain that Million Dollar Baby was the most accomplished film of 2004. Last night, though, I saw Hotel Rwanda and was simply moved. Movies of that kind can easily turn ultra-violent or melodramatic, but it handled its subject adeptly and struck the right tone. So now I’m torn.

Within the Academy, it seems to be down to Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese. The former has a great deal of momentum going into tonight’s ceremony, but the controversy surrounding his film is bound to diminish the odds of a sweep. The latter is due for Best Director honors, so his “lifetime achievement award” may finally come.

Prediction: Million Dollar Baby
Preference: Million Dollar Baby or Hotel Rwanda, with a special nod to Before Sunset, a wonderfully crafted romance.

Best Director

See above.

Prediction: Martin Scorsese
Preference: Clint Eastwood

Best Actor

Jamie Foxx is an absolute lock, in my view. If you get a hold of the DVD and see how he masters the piano performances and assumes his character’s idiosyncrasies, I’m sure you’ll agree. The Academy might think that his two acting nominations are enough and hence rob him of a trophy. But I suspect he’ll overcome this obstacle.

In any other year, we’d be talking about Don Cheadle’s brilliance in Hotel Rwanda. But it’s the Year of the Foxx.

Prediction: Jamie Foxx
Preference: Jamie Foxx

Best Actress

In one critical scene in Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank basically gives Eastwood an ultimatum: train me or leave me alone. You expect such a confrontation to arise at some point and, in the hands of an unskilled actress, it would have been forgettable, if not distracting. But she executes perfectly. So even if cynics disparage the film’s supposed predictability, I think they still need to grapple with her arresting performance.

Prediction: Hilary Swank
Preference: Hilary Swank, with a special nod to Kate Winslet, whose Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind deserves a hell of a lot more praise than the Academy gives it.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

No supporting performance comes to mind at this point, but you can do much worse than Morgan Freeman among the gentlemen. As for the ladies, I figure the Academy will single out Cate Blanchett for portraying a Hollywood legend.

Prediction: Morgan Freeman and Cate Blanchett
Preference: (I need to think about it, and unfortunately, time does not permit.)

Overall, I’m moved to draw people’s attention to Before Sunset. I fear that it’ll be lost in the dark corner of the video store, even though it really deserves better than that. Enough people will check out Hotel Rwanda because of the story, and Jim Carrey’s popularity will pull in marginal audiences for Eternal Sunshine. But Before Sunset is hard to categorize and market. Ethan Hawke’s presence probably disqualifies it from being an independent film, and its simple story won’t draw a cult following, like Sideways has. So I just hope that people somehow stumble upon it and give it a chance.

Update (James Joyner, 2300): The actual winners can be found at IMDB. Amazingly, the “big” trophies have yet to be handed out. Being a heterosexual male, of course, I have not watched the program. The Girlfriend just had the site up, however, and it lists the recepients, apparently updated rather quickly.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. liberty says:

    I adore Before Sunset.

    I was counting down the days until it was released in the theaters because the first movie Before Sunrise is easily one of my top ten favorite movies ever.

    I was a bit concerned about how they would [ick up the story – but this was a case of a sequel done right.

    I think that like Before Sunrise, this movie will gain a small but devoted following….

  2. Jeff Harrell says:

    I agree that “Million Dollar Baby” will win the top nod. I liked it very much, but I enjoyed “Finding Neverland” even more. I doubt that it’ll get the love it deserves from the Academy, but it’ll go down as my favorite movie of the year.

  3. Jack Tanner says:

    Jamie Foxx should have won for the classic ‘Booty Call’