March of the Oscars

Boulder Weekly | March 1, 2006
March of the Oscars

by Thomas Delapa

Come Sunday, the stars will line-up in Hollywood for the annual Oscar bash, which is shaping up as a head-on collision between Brokeback Mountain, with eight nominations, and the dark-horse Crash, with six. The favorite is Brokeback, the gay- themed western that most reckon will go riding off into the sunset with a saddlebag of awards, including best picture. As always, the omissions were glaring. Thumbs down to the voters for ignoring Joan Allen’s superb turn in The Upside of Anger. Russell Crowe’s telephone-throwing tantrum may have knocked him out of the ring for Cinderella Man. This year, the Academy put out a call for message pictures, including Crash, writer/director Paul Haggis’ broadside L.A. civics lesson.

From bottom to top, here’s my annual handicapped list in the biggies:


William Hurt, A History of Violence -- Nearly a cameo role as a Philadelphia mobster. Fuhgetaboudit.

Matt Dillon, Crash -- Strong as racist cop, but pinned at bottom of acting pile-up.

George Clooney, Syriana -- Gained 50 pounds as undercover CIA agent. Will not be outed as winner, despite leaks from the Scooter Libby’s office.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain -- Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

* Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man -- Sucker punched in 2004 for Sideways, but Sunday should provide a fairy-tale ending.


Amy Adams, Junebug -- The bug stops here.

Francis McDormand, North Country -- Her accent wasn’t far from Fargo, but Minnesota will not give her an Oscar twin.

Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain -- Rising Dawson’s Creek star in over her head in these waters.

Catherine Keener, Capote -- Essayed keen foil role as novelist Harper Lee off Hoffman’s Faustian Capote.

* Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener -- Not a bad harvest for an actress whose career might have been mummified by The Mummy.


Terrence Howard, Hustle and Flow -- Sundance audiences did the Hustle, but rapper-as-martyr pic did not stick with mid-America.

David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck -- Good, not great, as legendary TV newsman Edward R. Murrow. An early sign-off.

Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line -- Cashed in on his Johnny Cash biopic with a nomination, but will go down in a burning ring of fire.

Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain -- The Aussie actor finally broke through to the heights after years of hand-me-down hunk roles.

* Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote -- Sunday should be the Truman show, as least as far as Hoffman’s chilling impersonation of the In Cold Blood author.


Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents -- Dame Judi playing an imperious British matron. As much of a stretch as The Rock playing, well, a rock.

Felicity Huffman, Transamerica -- Played a desperate transsexual housewife who drags her son on a cross-country road trip.

Charlize Theron, North Country -- Don’t bet on the Monster winner to dig up another Oscar as Erin Brockovich in a miner’s helmet.

Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice -- Knightley wasn’t too proud to play to modern prejudices with a spunky heroine closer to Lara Croft than Jane Austen.

*Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line -- As June Carter in what should have been a supporting role, Witherspoon ran away with the spotlight and left Phoenix in ashes.


Bennett Miller, Capote --Breakfast at Denny’s, not Tiffany’s.

George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck -- Say good night, George.

Paul Haggis, Crash -- Should be ticketed for directing under the influence of overwrought metaphor.

Steven Spielberg, Munich -- Deserves a medal for his post-Olympics political thriller, if only for bravery.

*Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain -- OK, no more jokes about the two lonely cowpokes and a flock of sheep.


Capote -- Both Tru and false.

Good Night, and Good Luck -- Prime-time cancellation.

Munich -- Would take an Olympian feat to break Brokeback.

Crash -- Buckle up for Crash landing.

* Brokeback Mountain -- A gay-themed breakthrough with a Wyoming backdrop. Just don’t ask--or tell--Dick Cheney.

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