Following a tradition begun by a good man, each year I try to get to every Best Picture nominee before Oscar night. Almost always a good time since, typically, there really aren't any bad movies nominated for Best Picture.
That goal was a lot easier before kids and, this year, I failed again. I made it to four of five - leaving 'Letters from Iwo Jima' at the alter. I had one more movie-going day in the week before I started the new job and two movies to go ... I picked 'Babel.'
Still, the wife and I have begun an annual Oscar pool and I see no reason not to show my cards here so I can be judged and hopefully judge whomever joins (so come on in, popcorn's on me). The bet in our house is choice of restaurant and movie for our next date night.
We take the big six and this year we're doing adapted screenplay as the tie-breaker (mostly since we've seen more of those movies than original screenplay nominees). Last year, she smoked me. I'm not feeling particularly strong this year, especially since she loved 'Dreamgirls' and it will probably do pretty well.
The sad thing is that we almost never know who wins before going to bed anymore. I'm sorry but midnight is just too late to sit up to here Martin Scorsese ramble. As Heidi said, one of the few times I wished I lived in California - the other, of course, being during baseball playoffs and, well, winter.
So here's my picks.
Picture - 'The Departed' should and will win. Sorry but 'Little Miss Sunshine' doesn't belong.
Director - Scorsese will finally pop his cherry (Goodfellas reference, not just being crude). Don't rule out Clint Eastwood, though, but I'm with Martin for good reason.
Actor - Forest Whitaker for Last King of Scotland. Didn't see it, but the Academy always likes to think of itself as worldly. Watch out for Peter O'Toole, though for one last nod from the insiders.
Actress - Going with my heart on this one, Helen Mirren. She was incredible in 'The Queen.'
Supporting Actor - Going with my head on this one - Eddie Murphy. I think Marky Mark was better but Murphy will get the nod for going semi-legit in 'Dreamgirls.'
Supporting Actress - Jennifer Hudson. Period. She was amazing.
And the tie-breaker - Surprise, 'The Departed' for adapted screenplay. Loved 'Children of Men' but as much as I like them, I don't think post-apocolyptic thrillers are the stuff of Academy Awards.
So tune in at 8:30 (of 9 if you're me and watching 'The Amazing Race All-Stars). And good luck staying up through the intolerable speeches from Best Foreign Film winners and lifetime tribute honorees - I'll be snoozing, remembering the best line of 'The Departed' ("I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy") and dreaming of victory in the house pool.