And The Winner Is …

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Editor’s Note: This post has nothing to do with Johns Hopkins University nor the Admissions process. Your normal Hopkins Insider Admissions_Daniel has been trapped in a mirror by his non-Admissions persona, Daniel Creasy (Heroes fans will get that reference.) Daniel has hijacked the blog to post an entry about one of his true passions. Enjoy, and Admissions_Daniel will return next week.

This Sunday (Feb. 25) evening is my favorite night of the year. Nope it’s not my birthday. Nope it’s not a night when all my favorite TV shows all have new episodes on the same night. And no it has nothing to do with the end of application reading season.

IT IS OSCAR NIGHT!!!

Going back as long as I can remember I have been an avid movie fan and the Oscar broadcast is one of those few dates I circle on my calendars at the start of each year. For the past ten years, my addiction to the Oscars has grown exponentially manifesting now in numerous entries into Oscar pools, compilations of trivia questions, and a goal to see all the nominated films before the big night. And since now I have an audience who reads my ramblings I thought it was time to take the next step and blog about my addiction.

"Hello, my name is Daniel and I am an Academy Awards junkie!!!"

This year’s broadcast, 8pm ET on ABC, is shaping up to be an amazing night for one main reason: first-time host Ellen Degeneres. The combination of Ellen and the Oscars in my humble opinion is as good as the combination of chocolate and peanut butter or a new episode of LOST that actual moves the story forward (unlike last night). If you’ve never watched the Academy Awards, I strongly suggest tuning in on Sunday night to witness the glitz, the glamour, and the all the gaudiness that goes along with an awards show in Hollywood where little golden men are awarded.

The other reason I am excited about the Oscars broadcast is because I felt that 2006 was a very good year for films.

  • The Departed was a Scorsese masterpiece. How wicked that a New Yawker could paint an amazing portrait of Boston.
  • Helen Mirren (The Queen), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal), Peter O’Toole (Venus), and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) proved that for actors their greatest roles can come late in their careers.
  • Jennifer Hudson proved that American Idols can also cross-over to films with her stunning debut in Dreamgirls. [After that From Justin to Kelly I never thought film and American Idol would ever be combined.]
  • Pan’s Labyrinth proved that when you challenge the traditions of a fantasy film you can achieve great success.
  • "Dirty Harry", Clint Eastwood staked a claim as the best director working today and showed that an American can create a classic film from the point-of-view of foreigners in the amazing Letters from Iwo Jima.
  • Al Gore showed that a horror film could become a Best Documentary nominee. If you have yet to see An Inconvenient Truth you have missed the scariest movie of the past year.
  • And Paul Greengrass displayed to all that the film industry could tell a story about September 11 and that it was not too soon. If you have yet to see United 93 you are missing out on the best film of last year, hands down.

Each year on my own personal road to Oscar Night I save one film until the end. Usually I select the film creating the most buzz, and this year my selection was Little Miss Sunshine. I just finished screening the film and I must say I am glad this was my selection. What a masterpiece. Though I still feel United 93 is the best film of the year, and I also feel The Departed deserves all of its accolades, Little Miss Sunshine for me is the stand-out film of the year. I love a movie that is unpredictable and that at the same time you are laughing out loud and shedding tears, you are also moved by the overall message of the film.

OK, enough of this long prelude. On to the main reason I write to you all today — WHO IS GOING TO WIN??? Well, let me tell you…

In fact, below you will find not only my predictions, but also Soze’s predictions. See every year Soze and I sit down and complete two Oscar ballots. My Oscar ballot is completed as if I was actually voting — I select my favorites and who I think most deserves the "golden statue." Soze on the other hand selects based on who will most likely win. Yes he does watch a lot of the nominated films with me, but he is more about surfing the Internet, reading Entertainment Weekly, and tracking the Vegas odds. See Soze is not only a talented dog but he is competitive and really, really, really wants to win those Oscar pools.

So without further adieu, enjoy Daniel and Soze’s selection for the 79th Annual Academy Awards — and stay tuned to the end of the entry for some interesting Oscar facts:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Daniel’s Pick
: Little Miss Sunshine (though United 93 should have been nominated)
Soze’s Pick: The Departed (tough call)

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel’s Pick: Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland (though I do feel Ryan Gosling for Half Neslon could have won in any other year)
Soze’s Pick: Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland (clear front-runner)

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Daniel’s Pick: Helen Mirren for The Queen (though it is sad that Kate Winslet, the most talented actress of the current generation, still has not yet won)
Soze’s Pick: Helen Mirren for The Queen (clear front-runner again)

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Daniel’s Pick: Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine (though I would have picked Mark Wahlberg but he just needed a bit more screen time in The Departed)
Soze’s Pick: Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls (clear front-runner once again)

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Daniel’s Pick
: Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (though how cool would it be for Abigail Breslin to win and maybe do a little dance for us)
Soze’s Pick: Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (these acting categories are easy to pick)

Achievement in Directing
Daniel’s Pick
: Paul Greengrass for United 93 (only because this is the only category where the Academy can recognize this ground-breaking film)
Soze’s Pick: Martin Scorsese for The Departed (the greatest director of the last 30 years is finally recognized by the Academy)

Adapted Screenplay
Daniel’s Pick
: William Monahan for The Departed (though it would be fun for Sacha Cohen to win for Borat)
Soze’s Pick: William Monahan for The Departed (there are usually surprise winners here but not this year — I think … woof woof)

Original Screenplay
Daniel’s Pick
: Michael Arndt for Little Miss Sunshine (has to win!)
Soze’s Pick: Michael Arndt for Little Miss Sunshine (toss-up as this might be the only time the Academy can reward Babel)

Achievement in Film Editing
Daniel’s Pick
: United 93 (the editing was a major part of what worked in this film)
Soze’s Pick: Babel (complete guess)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Daniel’s Pick
: Happy Feet (I love penguins!)
Soze’s Pick: Cars (since that is what the magazines are saying)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Daniel’s Pick
: Pan’s Labyrinth (an amazing fantasy with stunning visuals)
Soze’s Pick: Pan’s Labyrinth (the industry hype will push this to victory)

Achievement in Art Direction
Daniel’s Pick
: Pan’s Labyrinth (as I just said, visually stunning)
Soze’s Pick: Dreamgirls (the 60s were re-made perfectly)

Achievement in Cinematography
Daniel’s Pick
: Children of Men (I agree with the critics, this movie did have some amazing filming)
Soze’s Pick: Children of Men (what my owner said…woof woof)

Achievement in Costume Design
Daniel’s Pick
: Dreamgirls (I never get this category right, but Beyonce and the rest of the cast looked great)
Soze’s Pick: Marie Antoinette (always go with the nominee nominated the most times – Milena Canonero is an 8-time nominee and has won twice already)

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Daniel’s Pick
: Dreamgirls (always go with the musicals in sound categories)
Soze’s Pick: Dreamgirls (always go with the nominee nominated the most times — oops not this time – sorry for Apocalypto’s Kevin O’Connell a 19-time nominee who has lost the previous 18 times)

Achievement in Sound Editing
Daniel’s Pick
: Letters from Iwo Jima (what is the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing???)
Soze’s Pick: Pirates of the Caribbean (what EW says will win)

Achievement in Visual Effects
Daniel’s Pick
: Pirates of the Caribbean (did you see the film – it was cool visually)
Soze’s Pick: Pirates of the Caribbean (front-runner)

Achievement in Makeup
Daniel’s Pick
: Pan’s Labyrinth (how sad that Click was nominated)
Soze’s Pick: Pan’s Labyrinth (because the Academy doesn’t want to reward Mel Gibson or Adam Sandler)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Picture (Original Score)
Daniel’s Pick
: Notes on a Scandal (I think the music definitely helped the story)
Soze’s Pick: The Queen (once again I go with the EW experts)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Picture (Original Song)
Daniel’s Pick
: "Patience" from Dreamgirls (my favorite of the 3 Dreamgirls songs nominated)
Soze’s Pick: "Listen" from Dreamgirls (it is the key song of the film)

Best Animated Short Film
Daniel’s Pick
: Maestro (my personal fave)
Soze’s Pick: The Little Matchgirl (Disney machine behind it)

Best Live Action Short Film
Daniel’s Pick
: Eramos Pocos (didn’t have a real favorite so I go with the front-runner)
Soze’s Pick: Eramos Pocos (One Too Many) (who knows?)

Best Documentary Feature
Daniel’s Pick
: An Inconvenient Truth (it was scary and instructive)
Soze’s Pick: An Inconvenient Truth (the liberal Academy will help Al Gore win something)

Best Documentary Short Subject
Daniel’s Pick
: Recycled Life (compelling)
Soze’s Pick: Two Hands (Piano films will win)

So who will win, Soze or I … check back Monday for the results. And also, feel free to post your favorites in the Comment section.

Enjoy these fun Oscar Facts:

Did you know?: This the first year when the film with the most nominations (8 nominations for Dreamgirls) did not receive a nod for Best Picture. In 1969, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They received 9 nominations with out a Best Picture nod (a record), but Anne of Thousand Days led the way that year with 10 nominations including Best Picture.

Did you know?: Just a few years ago there was much discussion about how the Academy had been failing in nominated minority actors. Well that has clearly changed as 8 of the 20 acting nominees this year are minorities (five blacks, two Latinas, and one Asian).

Did you know?: With her 14th acting nomination for The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep extended her own record of most nominations by an actress. (She passed second place Katharine Hepburn (12 nominations) in 2003.) Expected to receive a nomination this year for The Departed but was shut-out, Jack Nicholson holds the record of most nominations for an actor with 12.

Did you know?: Speaking of most nominations, how would you like to be Sound Mixer Kevin O’Connell? This year Kevin received his 19th nomination for his work on Apocalypto. That is a great feat, except Kevin HAS NEVER WON. Maybe this will be his year … or probably not.

Did you know?: Of this year’s 10 leading acting nominees, Helen Mirren, for he work on The Queen, is the only one nominated from one of the contending Best Picture films. The last time that happened was 1932!

Did you know?: Ellen Degeneres will host the Oscars this year, yet she is not the first woman to act as host. A number of women have been co-hosts in the past, but the first woman to ever host solo was Whoopi Goldberg, who actually has been a solo host four times.

Did you know?: Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin receives a nod this year as just a 10-year old. However, she is not the youngest ever recognized by the Academy. Justin Henry remains that youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar at the age of 8 for his work with Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer. In 1934, Shirley Temple actually received an Oscar at age 5 but hers was an honorary award.

Did you know?: On the other side of the age line, Best Actress front-runner Helen Mirren with a win at age 61 will NOT become the oldest actress to ever win. That position is held by the late Jessica Tandy who won for Driving Miss Daisy in 1990 at the ripe ago of 80 years old.

Did you know?: If Helen Mirren does win, she will break a 10-year streak where the Academy Award for Best Actress has gone to an actress under the age of 39.

Did you know?: If Paul Greengress for his remarkable work on United 93 happens to upset Martin Scorsese in the Best Director category race this year, he will become the first Best Director winner whose film was not nominated for Best Picture.

Did you know?: Speaking of the Directing category, many journalists have discussed how it is shocking that Martin Scorsese has never won before and that the Academy will most likely correct that this year with a victory for The Departed. But right now Scorsese shares company with another great Director to have never won an Oscar — yes, Alfred Hitchcock though nominated five times never won an Oscar. (He did ultimately receive an honorary award.)

Did you know?: Finally, this year there are two acting nominees who were famous before as child actors. First there is Best Supporting Actor nominee for Little Children, Jackie Earle Haley whose as a child was a star in The Bad News Bears (check it out on IMDB). Also, Best actor nominee Ryan Gosling, for Half Nelson, starred as a child on the Mickey Mouse Club at the same time as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera.

1 Comment

  • By Lester Kao, February 24, 2007 @ 7:43 PM

    Little Miss Sunshine was an excellent movie! But personally I’m rooting for Letters From Iwo Jima. That movie was particularly touching to me. Same with its counterpart, Flag of Our Fathers!
    Can’t wait until tomorrow night though either!

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