If I were going to handicap the Oscars, there are three awards I would be pretty confident in — Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor, Danny Boyle for Best Director, and Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture. I wouldn’t have a clue who to pick for Best Actor or Best Actress, or Best Supporting Actress. Even those guesses would be conditional, seeing as despite how much I love the movies. I’ve not seen very many of the movies that have the major nominations.
Of the various movies in question, here’s my track record this year.
|Changeling||Haven’t seen it but want to|
|The Curious Case of Benjamin Button||Looked like a rental|
|The Dark Knight||Saw it, really liked it|
|Frost/Nixon||Haven’t seen it but want to|
|Frozen River||Not interested|
|Rachel Getting Married||Not on your life|
|The Reader||Not interested|
|Slumdog Millionaire||Saw it, loved it|
|Tropic Thunder||Looked like a rental; this really got a nomination?|
|Vicky Christina Barcelona||Looked like a rental|
|The Visitor||Saw part of it on a plane, liked it|
|The Wrestler||Looked like a rental|
Abyssmal, I know. Two and a half of the fifteen movies deemed most worthy of notice this year by People Who Really Care About Such Things. But there you have it; I’ve actually not been out to the movies all that much this past year.
Fortunately, one of the guys who was behind FiveThirtyEight.com has turned his statistician’s eye to the Oscars and he agrees with all three of my predictions. He’s also handicapping Kate Winslet for Best Actress for her role in The Reader, Mickey Rourke for his role in The Wrestler, and Taraji P. Henson for her role in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
I guess Mickey Rourke is a logical choice. But it’s sort of a shame to see Richard Jenkins get such short shrift. The Visitor was a perfectly charming film, and Jenkins is a cool actor. I really liked him playing the Late Nate on Six Feet Under and he brings this empathetic quirkiness to everything he does. But I’ve not seen Mickey Rourke’s performance in The Wrestler, and maybe he was just really, really good. The preview sure made it look like it was specially-written for Oscar appeal.