Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Prognostications, Predictions and Out-and-Out Guesses

Every year at Pop Culture America, Dave and I predict who will be nominated in the six major Academy Awards categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress). Usually, we see the Oscar chances of the various hopefuls as a wide open field. This year, Dave and I think it's a pretty foregone conclusion in most instances.

That means we're doomed.

For the record, our predictions are as follows:

For Best Picture, Dave and I selected the exact same five films: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire. A few films could sneak in on us, including The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road or Doubt. We'll see.

In the Best Director category, we both chose all the directors of the films mentioned above: Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire, David Fincher of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon, Christopher Nolan of The Dark Knight and Gus Van Sant for Milk. These are the same five who received Director's Guild of America nominations, historically the single most accurate predictor of any Oscar category.

Over in the Best Actor category, Dave and I had our largest differences. We both picked Frank Langella -- Frost/Nixon, Sean Penn -- Milk, and Mickey Rourke -- The Wrestler. Davey filled out the slate with Brad Pitt -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Clint Eastwood -- Gran Torino. I found both of those performances flawed and instead went with Richard Jenkins of The Visitor and Benicio Del Toro in the epic Che.

With Best Actress, Dave and I are in lockstep again, each of us choosing the following list: Anne Hathaway -- Rachel Getting Married, Sally Hawkins -- Happy-Go-Lucky, Angelina Jolie -- Changeling, Meryl Streep -- Doubt, Kate Winslet -- Revolutionary Road. If that is not the exact list announced on Thursday morning, I'll eat my hat. This is a safe boast because I do not own a hat.

Remember when Bill Murray as his schmoozy entertainment reporter character on "SNL" would pick Oscar winners? He'd get to Best Supporting Actor and Actress, pause, then say, "Who really cares?" And he'd derisively wipe all the names off his board.

Well, I care, darn it!

Best Supporting Actor, according to Dave and I, will definitely feature the following four names: Robert Downey, Jr. -- Tropic Thunder, Philip Seymour Hoffman -- Doubt, Heath Ledger -- The Dark Knight, and Dev Patel -- Slumdog Millionaire. I rounded out the nominees with Michael Shannon from Revolutionary Road while Dave picked Eddie Marsan of Happy-Go-Lucky.

And finally for Best Supporting Actress, we agreed on Penelope Cruz -- Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Viola Davis -- Doubt, Marisa Tomei -- The Wrestler, Kate Winslet -- The Reader. Dave went with another castmember from Doubt, the radiant (and criminally overlooked by Oscar last year) Amy Adams. I chose Taraji P. Henson from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

That's a total of only four differences of opinion in thirty predictions. We may be dead on. We may be way off. But one thing's for sure: whichever of us wins this year's Pop Culture America Oscar Prediction sweepstakes, it will be an exceptionally narrow victory.

And you can join in. Post your picks before tomorrow's announcements at 830AM, whoop us, and win a great Pop Culture America prize. Worth at least five dollars! Honest!

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John and Dave talks Oscar nomination predictions