2007 Academy Award Analysis
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Acting Film Type Audio Visual Other
Leading Actor x Picture x Sound x Cinematography x Direction x
Leading Actress x Foreign Film Sound Editing Art Direction x Original Screenplay
Supporting Actor Animated Feature Song Visual Effects x Adapted Screenplay x
Supporting Actress Short, Animation Score Costume Design Editing
Feature Documentary x Makeup x
Short, Documentary
Short, Live Action
  • i went 11 of 24 (correct answers are marked by an "x" in the table above) which is pretty pathetic. i overthought some of the categories and was overly pessimistic at times.




  • my pick
  • my prediction
  • if i've seen it, film titles will link to my review of that film.



    Best Motion Picture of the Year Nominees:
    Babel (2006): Alejandro González Iñárritu, Steve Golin, Jon Kilik
    The Departed (2006): Graham King
    Letters from Iwo Jima (2006): Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Robert Lorenz
    Little Miss Sunshine (2006): David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub
    The Queen (2006): Andy Harries, Christine Langan, Tracey Seaward

  • first, some stats: in other words, the film that wins has nominations in the following categories (in order of importance): director, screenplay, acting, editing, and cinematography. incidentally, when i looked at these categories relative to best picture winners from 1970-present, the trends were even more pronounced.

  • percentage of time that best picture winners have nominations in the following categories, 1927/28-Present:
    direction 96.2%
    screenplay 91.0%
    acting 87.2%
    editing 80.8%
    cinematography 62.8%

    Letters From Iwo Jima
    Little Miss Sunshine
  • none of the films were nominated for cinematography, which is odd, but makes things a bit easier. keeping these numbers in mind it becomes clear that two films have the odds against them: letters from iwo jima has no acting nominations and no editing nomination. little miss sunshine has no editing nomination and no directing nomination. so, i will assume that it is between the remaining three.
  • lately the academy has tended to be topical. they seem to want to be on the cutting edge. the most topical films of the year are babel and letters from iwo jima, which i thought to be inferior films. babel is like crash (last year's winner) in that it's an ensemble piece and tackles a heavy subject. in recent history the academy tends towards the epic films. the departed and babel both have this going for them. to me, queen just didn't get the hype and is generally seen as more of a helen mirren film than anything else. though the subject of princess diana may inspire some in the academy. that said, my personal pick would be the departed and then little miss sunshine. and my prediction is the departed because it has all the requisite nominations and people will want to reward scorsese before its too late. i also think that it had a less divided response than babel.

  • Best Achievement in Directing Nominees:
    Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
    Stephen Frears for The Queen (2006)
    Paul Greengrass for United 93 (2006)
    Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel (2006)
    Martin Scorsese for The Departed (2006)

    percentage of time that direction winners have nominations in the following categories, 1927/28-Present:
    picture 98.7%
    acting 89.7%
    editing 75.6%

    1 lead
    2 supporting
    1 supporting

  • looking at the numbers it appears as though greengrass doesn't have much chance since the winner of best director didn't have his film nominated only once in the history of the academy (and it happened very early, though i forget the name of the film). united 93 also didn't have any acting nominations so it's going to be doubly difficult for greengrass. that said, this is a post-9/11 world so, i'm told, everything's different. whatever. this isn't shown above, but it's important to note that there was a significant percentage boost for the director who directed a leading actor vs. a supporting actor. this year, only frears holds the distinction of directing an actor who was nominated for a leading performance.
  • the stats seem to indicate a race between inarritu and scorsese, with frears being an outside possibility. to me, the choice would be obvious. i definitely think inarritu has a chance here and while generally the best picture winner (which i projected to go to the departed) also has the best director winner, that rule has been broken more frequently lately. that said, there's going to be a lot of sentiment to give it to scorsese since many consider him the greatest living american film director (especially with the passing of the overrated robert altman). i think this is scorsese's year because the departed is great and it got a lot of people talking and people (including myself) want to give it to scorsese. in my end of year awards i picked greengrass just above scorsese because his direction was superb in a difficult to manage film. further, i think that scorsese has made better films and the aviator may have been an even better directed film. that said, i enjoyed the departed more.

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Nominees:
    Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond (2006)
    Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson (2006)
    Peter O'Toole for Venus (2006)
    Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
    Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland (2006)

  • the academy got it half right when they nominated dicaprio, they just chose the wrong performance. smith and whitaker were good, but not great. dicaprio was good in blood diamond, but was better in the departed. of these five, my choice would be gosling in half nelson, but i think the academy will go with whitaker. he's getting the most buzz, he won the SAG and, quite frankly, i think that the academy feels the need to continue in the "progressive" tradition after clooney's speech last year.

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Nominees:
    Penélope Cruz for Volver (2006)
    Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal (2006)
    Helen Mirren for The Queen (2006)
    Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
    Kate Winslet for Little Children (2006)

  • streep always has oscar buzz and she got it plenty early this year. films released early in the year have the dvd advantage these days, but they also fade in the memory. the devil wears prada wasn't as good a movie as some of the others and streep has plenty of wins already, so i don't see her winning it with this performance. she actually has fewer wins than katharine hepburn, but more acting nominations than anyone in history. winslet did a good job and has been nominated before. cruz did a decent job, but the film is less known and the performance really wasn't that dynamic. dench would be my pick, but the academy is going to go with mirren. it's topical and a big character. kind of cheating though, since she played queen elizabeth I in the elizabeth miniseries. working slightly against her is the fact that she called the academy awards the "creme de la creme of bullshit."

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees:
    Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
    Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children (2006)
    Djimon Hounsou for Blood Diamond (2006)
    Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls (2006)
    Mark Wahlberg for The Departed (2006)

  • alan arkin and jackie earle haley have got to be the dark horses here. arkin is great and provides a lot of the comic oomph early in the film. i'm not sure if he's won before (he has been nominated), but he's had a good career so this might be a makeup call (think pacino in scent of a woman) if he wins here. the academy likes to reward rising talent so it could go for a half makeup call (since he didn't win for his great performance in "in america") and a half legitimate choice of djimon hounsou. murphy is the talk of the town and the academy does like to see once in a lifetime type performances, maybe this is it for murphy. wahlberg was my choice because he brought a comic intensity to the film. i'm leaning towards the award going to murphy, though, because i'm a pessimist and because his performance will be seen as more dynamic by the same fools who thought dreamgirls was a good movie.

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees:
    Adriana Barraza for Babel (2006)
    Cate Blanchett for Notes on a Scandal (2006)
    Abigail Breslin for Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
    Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006)
    Rinko Kikuchi for Babel (2006)

  • they didn't nominate vera farmiga here and that's a shame. she was better than everyone on this list, with the possible exception of abigail breslin. the reason i didn't give breslin the nod in my end of year awards is because she was part of such a solid cast that singling her out felt wrong. blanchett has a good performance, but she already won for the aviator and this performance isn't great. hudson is getting a lot of talk and she sings so that tends to help. i would think that the babel performances would negate each other, but there have been instances in the past when two actors in the same film have been nominated and one still ended up winning. the smart money is on hudson, but i'll go with breslin because, unlike in the last paragraph, now i'm an optimist.

  • Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Nominees:
    Babel (2006): Guillermo Arriaga
    Letters from Iwo Jima (2006): Iris Yamashita, Paul Haggis
    Little Miss Sunshine (2006): Michael Arndt
    Laberinto del Fauno, El (2006): Guillermo del Toro
    The Queen (2006): Peter Morgan

  • this category might be the easiest of the lot for my own personal pick. little miss sunshine was barely only the second best film of the year, and clearly the #1 original film of the year. the rest of the films in this category are merely mediocre by comparison and will quickly be forgotten (though pan's labyrinth will probably produce a cult following). babel will probably pick up the win here because the story is more complex and the writing more involved than the meditative letters from iwo jima or the queen, which was based upon real events so it shouldn't even be here. babel was also nominated for best picture, director, and editing.

  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Nominees:
    Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006): Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer, Todd Phillips
    Children of Men (2006): Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
    The Departed (2006): William Monahan
    Little Children (2006): Todd Field, Tom Perrotta
    Notes on a Scandal (2006): Patrick Marber

  • if anyone actually watches the film (infernal affairs) that the departed was based upon they might give the award on the spot. the hong kong film (infernal affairs) upon which it was based was pretty dreadful at times, though it did have many of the key elements of the final american version, which might turn off some voters. to me, it only solidified my feelings for scorsese because i saw what was done with the same idea and how he was able to make it into something so much better.
  • notes on a scandal has a literary quality to it that should definitely help its case. little children has a good, smart and well-balanced script so it should receive high consideration as well. borat is a great film, but not enough of it was actually written. as an aside, i think that cohen did himself a disservice by showing up to his interviews to plug the film as borat. he would have been much wiser to go as himself. seeing him out of character would have made people realize how good an actor he really is. as most people in the academy probably haven't seen da ali g show or seen him as himself, they probably didn't know what to make of him as an actor. oh well.
  • i'm going to stick with my theme that this is scorsese's year and predict the departed to win.

  • Best Achievement in Cinematography Nominees:
    The Black Dahlia (2006): Vilmos Zsigmond
    Children of Men (2006): Emmanuel Lubezki
    The Illusionist (2006): Dick Pope
    Laberinto del Fauno, El (2006): Guillermo Navarro
    The Prestige (2006): Wally Pfister

  • i've yet to see the illusionist, but i've seen all the others. black dahlia has zsigmond (deer hunter) behind the camera and he does a good job overall, but i didn't find the camerawork to be all that great. these new age noirs tend not to be all that visually interesting to me. they look too good, even when they're in black and white (which this one is not). my own personal tastes have this as a two movie race - pan's labyrinth and children of men. my guess is that pan's labyrinth will win because 1) it's deserving and 2) it's one of only two films (the other being the prestige) that was nominated for art direction as well. my personal pick would be for children of men because of its handheld work and the dark, oppressive look of the picture.

  • Best Achievement in Editing Nominees:
    Babel (2006): Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
    Blood Diamond (2006): Steven Rosenblum
    Children of Men (2006): Alfonso Cuarón, Alex Rodríguez
    The Departed (2006): Thelma Schoonmaker
    United 93 (2006): Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson, Christopher Rouse

  • children of men and blood diamond are the odd ones here because they have neither direction nor best picture nominations. both were good films and children of men was edited impressively, but i don't think they have much of a chance from a statistical or artistic point of view.
  • departed uses editing well to compact an epic story into a film less that 150 minutes long. scorsese has worked with the same woman as his editor on most of his films and, if memory serves, she won it for the aviator the last time she was nominated. as i've already picked the departed to win best picture and direction, casting a prediction in any other direction would be a gamble. while the departed would be my pick, i could definitely see babel or united 93 coming up and snatching this one. because of the nature of the babel (occurring in different places and on different temporal planes) this one is ripe for an editing nomination and win. united 93 is similar, but is told chronologically, whereas babel played with time a bit. frankly, it's a tough call because all three frontrunners were well edited.  i'll go with babel here.

  • Best Achievement in Art Direction Nominees:
    Dreamgirls (2006): John Myhre, Nancy Haigh
    The Good Shepherd (2006): Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, Gretchen Rau, Leslie E. Rollins
    Laberinto del Fauno, El (2006): Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta
    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006): Rick Heinrichs, Cheryl Carasik
    The Prestige (2006): Nathan Crowley, Julie Ochipinti

  • for the same reason that i pick dreamgirls to win costume design, i predict it to win art direction. that said, i was way more blown away by the art direction in pan's labyrinth and think that it would be the runaway winner. pirates of the caribbean has a good shot as well since people liked that crappy movie for some reason.

  • Best Achievement in Costume Design Nominees:
    Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia (2006): Chung Man Yee
    The Devil Wears Prada (2006): Patricia Field
    Dreamgirls (2006): Sharen Davis
    Marie Antoinette (2006): Milena Canonero
    The Queen (2006): Consolata Boyle

  • 82.7% of the time the film that wins costume design was also nominated for art direction. this year only one film holds a nomination in both categories - dreamgirls. frankly, nothing in the other films leads me to believe that they will outweigh the numbers on this one. while dreamgirls was an awful film, i wouldn't mind it picking up the costume design award.

  • Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score Nominees:
    Babel (2006): Gustavo Santaolalla
    The Good German (2006): Thomas Newman
    Notes on a Scandal (2006): Philip Glass
    Laberinto del Fauno, El (2006): Javier Navarrete
    The Queen (2006): Alexandre Desplat

  • frankly, i remember only two of these scores: philip glass' from notes on a scandal (because it was brilliant and perfectly echoed the tone and themes of the picture) and santaolalla's for babel (because it was awful). i don't have any stats or historical info to back this up, but i'm going to say that philip glass will finally get his oscar.

  • Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song Nominees:
    An Inconvenient Truth (2006): Melissa Etheridge ("I Need To Wake Up")
    Dreamgirls (2006): Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler, Anne Preven ("Listen")
    Dreamgirls (2006): Henry Krieger, Siedah Garrett ("Love You I Do")
    Cars (2006): Randy Newman ("Our Town")
    Dreamgirls (2006): Henry Krieger, Willie Reale ("Patience")

  • this is usually the worst category in the oscars because my taste in music differs so much from that of the academy. that said, last year's winners made it interesting, for once. all these songs are crap so i don't have a personal pick, but my prediction is that one of the dreamgirls songs will win. patience?

  • Best Achievement in Makeup Nominees:
    Apocalypto (2006): Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano
    Click (2006): Kazuhiro Tsuji, Bill Corso
    Laberinto del Fauno, El (2006): David Martí, Montse Ribé

  • while i didn't see apocalypto, i don't think one needed look any further than pan's labyrinth for this category. the makeup here is great and brings back memories of the good ole days when creatures were created with costumes and makeup, rather than cgi effects. it's not that i am completely opposed to cgi effects, but for characters i do prefer models, makeup, costumes, etc. look no further than the most recent incarnation of yoda vs. the original. pan's labyrinth should, and will, win.

  • Best Achievement in Sound Nominees:
    Apocalypto (2006): Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Fernando Cámara
    Blood Diamond (2006): Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Ivan Sharrock
    Dreamgirls (2006): Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer, Willie D. Burton
    Flags of Our Fathers (2006): John T. Reitz, David E. Campbell, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006): Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Lee Orloff

  • two of the last four winners in this category were musicals or about the music industry. clearly that puts dreamgirls at the top here. other typical winners here, though, are blockbusters, action, or war films (saving private ryan, king kong, lord of the rings, black hawk down, gladiator, matrix, titanic) so that brings pirates of the caribbean and flags of our fathers into contention. personally, i felt that children of men should have been nominated here, but no one's likely to create a stir over this category. i think that dreamgirls will win, but flags of our fathers would be my pick of the five.

  • Best Achievement in Sound Editing Nominees:
    Apocalypto (2006): Sean McCormack, Kami Asgar
    Blood Diamond (2006): Lon Bender
    Flags of Our Fathers (2006): Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
    Letters from Iwo Jima (2006): Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006): George Watters II, Christopher Boyes

  • it's a bit unfortunate that both eastwood films had to be nominated here. it's not good for them (because the votes are likely to be split) and because it means that another film doesn't get to be included. flags of our fathers should win, and probably still will, but pirates could snatch this one.

  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects Nominees:
    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006): John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall
    Poseidon (2006): Boyd Shermis, Kim Libreri, Chas Jarrett, John Frazier
    Superman Returns (2006): Mark Stetson, Richard R. Hoover, Neil Corbould, Jon Thum

  • this one will go to the people who essentially made pirates of the caribbean.

  • Best Animated Feature Film of the Year Nominees:
    Cars (2006): John Lasseter
    Happy Feet (2006): George Miller
    Monster House (2006): Gil Kenan

  • i only saw one of these so i'm not all that informed, but i'll say that cars should and will win. it should be noted that happy feet was directed by the same guy who did road warrrior.

  • Best Foreign Language Film of the Year Nominees:
    Efter brylluppet (2006)(Denmark)
    Indigènes (2006)(Algeria)
    Laberinto del Fauno, El (2006)(Mexico)
    Leben der Anderen, Das (2006)(Germany)
    Water (2005)(Canada)

  • considering the fact that pan's labyrinth is currently #65 on imdb.com's all-time list, i think it's a safe bet to say it'll win. i haven't seen any of the others so i can't say if it's any more deserving then they are.

  • Best Documentary, Features Nominees:
    Deliver Us from Evil (2006): Amy Berg, Frank Donner
    An Inconvenient Truth (2006): Davis Guggenheim
    Iraq in Fragments (2006): James Longley, Yahya Sinno
    Jesus Camp (2006): Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
    My Country My Country (2006): Laura Poitras, Jocelyn Glatzer

  • great. two documentaries about religion, two about iraq and one about global warming. doesn't get much heavier than that. only one of these films received serious hype on the level of march of penguins or bowling for columbine and that's al gore's an inconvenient truth. it'll likely win, though i think i was more moved by jesus camp. of all the films released this year, though, an inconvenient truth might be the one about the most important subject in human history; verdict isn't in on that one yet.

  • Best Documentary, Short Subjects Nominees:
    The Blood of Yingzhou District (2006): Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon
    Recycled Life (2006): Leslie Iwerks, Mike Glad
    Rehearsing a Dream: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
    Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story (2006): Nathaniel Kahn, Susan Rose Behr

  • recycled life has the most votes, and highest rating on imdb of these five, but that doesn't say all that much because none of them has more than 10 votes. two hands is directed by nathaniel kahn, who did the quality documentary my architect so i know he has some skill as a documentarian and some name recognition with the few people who will vote on this category. i'll guess that two hands: the leon fleisher story will win.

  • Best Short Film, Animated Nominees:
    The Danish Poet (2006): Torill Kove
    Lifted (2006): Gary Rydstrom
    The Little Matchgirl (2006): Roger Allers, Don Hahn
    Maestro (2005): Géza M. Tóth
    No Time for Nuts (2006): Chris Renaud, Mike Thurmeier

  • little matchgirl is based upon a hans christian andersen story and is produced by disney, it'll win.

  • Best Short Film, Live Action Nominees:
    Binta y la gran idea (2004): Javier Fesser, Luis Manso
    Éramos pocos (2005): Borja Cobeaga
    Helmer & Søn (2006): Søren Pilmark, Kim Magnusson
    The Saviour (2005): Peter Templeman, Stuart Parkyn
    West Bank Story (2005): Ari Sandel

  • binta y la gran idea will take home the oscar. wouldn't even be considered in my awards, though, since it was originally released two years ago.