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Oscar nominees being announced TOMORROW, Feb. 11 at 8:30am in LA, by Marisa Tomei and being broadcasted live on all 3 networks. The Oscars themselves are on March 23, this year's 75th anniversary show will be hosted by the very funny STEVE MARTIN. (If they couldn't get Billy Crystal, this was a cool option too.)

[EDIT: This year's show may be particularly interesting to watch, given celebrities' tendencies to get political during the Oscars if there is war going on. Watch for people like George Clooney, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey to make some kind of statement...]

I have a SYSTEM for figuring out the Oscar winners, and for the past 4 years, I've been unbeatable in my predictions (between the people I've played with). Unfortunately, I've never won anything cool for my guesses, like in a big contest or anything...but...I can't calculate using my system until I know who is nominated!

Here are some nominations I hope we see tomorrow (not necessarily to be confused with who I actually think will be nominated):

Spider-Man
(Sound, visual effects, editing, screenplay adaptation, score, costumes, art direction, Willem Dafoe for supporting. Tobey won't get it, but wasn't he great!!!)

Lord of the Rings
(Sound, visual effects, editing, screenplay adaptation, costumes, art direction, Peter Jackson for directing, possibly best picture.) I will be HIGHLY surprised if any acting nominations are involved...UNLESS...they decide to nominate Gollum for best support. That would turn the whole awards show on its ear. I'll be very upset if anyone nominated Orlando Bloom.

Harry Potter
(All the technicals mentioned above for the other two...best screenplay adaptation, and I want with all my heart for Richard Harris to GET and WIN best supporting actor. Kenneth Branagh was pretty great too.)

One Hour Photo
(Best support, Robin Williams)

The Hours
(Best original screenplay, best actress Nicole Kidman, best support Meryl Streep, best makeup)

About Schmidt
(Best actor, Jack Nicholson)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding
(Best original screenplay. Best actress Nia Vardulos. Best score. Best picture. Best hunk, John Corbett. Wait. Wrong thread, that one belongs on the Laminated List, not the Oscar nominations.)

Signs.
(Best original screenplay. Best score.)

Gangs of New York.
(Best support, Daniel Day Lewis. Best actor, Leonardo DiCaprio. Best original song, U2.)

Far From Heaven.
(Best actress, Julianne Moore. Best support, Dennis Quaid. Best picture. Best director and best editing.)

Chicago.
(Best song, best score, best picture, best director, best costumes. Best actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, possibly nominated against Renee Zellweger in the same category. Best support Richard Gere. Best support Queen Latifah.)

Anyone else????? Guess we'll see tomorrow, and then, let the games begin!!!!
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I'd like to see The Pianist nominated for best picture, but doubt this will happen since Roman Polanski was involved with it. I would LOVE to see Adrien Brody nominated for his performance in it. He's such a great actor, and I'm glad that he finally got this huge role and so much acclaim for it.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding could get a nomination for best picture, no? And I'll second your nomination for John Corbett as best hunk. Smiler

Far From Heaven should get nominated for best cinematography. Wasn't that movie gorgeous? Julianne Moore was great as well, but I was a little disappointed in Dennis Quaid (possibly because I kept reading that it was "the performance of his career," and I think he's done better).
What a horrible year for the Oscars. Most of these nomiations are for movies all about Gloom and Doom, and I can't help but think of this as an echo of the American climate: "the year of the middle-aged, white conservative voter." Steve Martin will be the only reason to watch the show, and the critics will come down very hard on him because so much of his humor is "too high concept" (not dumbed down enough).

Oscarus Annus Horribilus...Par example:

Best actor: Jack Nicholson, and four middle-aged white guys running against Jack Nicholson. No contest.

Best picture: A violent, testosterone-driven gangster flick. A sexist, violent, testostereone-driven fantasy flick. An overrated movie that glorifies and romanticizes murder and publicity, supplies men with two solid hours of T&A, and annoyingly bursts into song every five minutes (and we have to watch Richard Gere DANCE, for corn's sake...). A movie about the holocaust, directed by a well-publicized child molester. And of course, a movie rafe with female bisexuality, lesbianism and prosthetic noses hedges out an arguably better movie with a closeted gay man and a bi-racial relationship in the plot. And nothing remotely "fun" like Greek Wedding or spiderman. Frowner This is one category where I'm not particularly sure I CARE who wins this year.

Best support. I don't care that they dissed Richard Gere...but dissing Richard Harris and Dennis Quaid reaches a level of WRONG I haven't seen in awhile. That said, John C. Reilly was the best thing about Chicago, and he totally deserves this award but will lose it to someone named Chris. (Walken or Cooper...either one.)

In two major cases, they nominated something completely deserving and then set it up to lose...

Best supporting actress. Queen Latifah, who channelled the spirit of Billie Holliday...it was INCREDIBLY validating to see the movie industry nominate a role where an overweight woman was given a sensual role full of zest and life (rather than the typical "psycho," "matron," or "laughingstock" typically assigned to plus-sized women). Queen Latifah was beautiful, sexy, WONDERFUL. And they set her (the only person of color nominated for acting, by the way) up to lose by putting her against Meryl Streep and T&A girl, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Very upsetting.

Original Screenplay. Nia got her nomination for Greek Wedding, and I cheered out loud. But this is a year where most of the "best screenplay" types were original, not adaptation. So she's gonna get rooked, too. (Speaking of adaptation: um, SPIDERMAN? um, HARRY POTTER? um, LORD OF THE RINGS???? What the....)

Best actress. I cannot STAND Renee Zellweger...but oddly, her annoying qualities worked completely in her favor in "Chicago." I think the one to beat though is Nicole Kidman, and I hope she wins it for a variety of reasons. Would have been very nice to see Nia in there, even if she wouldn't have won.

As great as "Ice Age" was, and as much of a shoe-in as that is, what a slap to the people at Disney, and for the second year in a row. There wouldn't even BE an "animated full-length feature" category without Walt Disney, yet Disney will lose the statue for the first two years (having had Monsters, Inc. lose to Shrek last year).

I'm going to shock my husband now. I hope Eminem wins best song this year, because he's the only one nominated without any political-type thing going on. Paul Simon could get the hippie vote. Bono could get the humanitarian vote. But Eminem did something raw, something real, something about both himself and the movie that speaks to both the frustrated youth situation and the frustrated American situation, no holds barred. And a win for Eminem in this regard would certainly go with the themes that seem to be dominating the award nominations.

Best score...no Elfman, not anywhere. And the fact that the score for "Signs" didn't make it, is sad. Frowner John Williams and a bunch of other people including Philip Glass.

NO LOTR nomination for costumes? For makeup? Directing? They must really be expecting Episode 3 to clean up next year. And what a loss for George Lucas, in the technical area, to have Star Wars NOWHERE. They also dissed Spielberg this year, who actually invented a new type of camera shot in "Minority Report."

One thing I was VERY glad to see: they weren't tasteless enough to nominate Sum of All Fears for anything, even technical.

I have to run this SORRY LIST through my "system" before I can make my official predictions. And you know what, I'm tempted to share my system with you guys because there are a few too many wildcards that could throw it this year for me, anyway. And that way, you'd all win your office pools...what do you guys think? Share my system?
I'm kinda interested in knowing the system, Heidi, and not to win any office pools - I don't work - but more for my own curiosity...

And Kill Eye, I think you and Heidi are right. (And Heidi, my own husband would never let me hear the end of it, if he knew.) Best Original Song should go to Eminem - I mean, am I the only one who cannot get that track out of her head? (And I am SO not an Eminem fan...) Big Grin
K. I'm setting myself up for a failure of spectacular proportions here (because Murphy's Law dictates that this will be the one year my "system" won't work...). But here it is (and may God, man, and Steven Spielberg have mercy on my soul). I guess it's *sorta* scientific, but can vary based on a couple of the factors, which is why we could use the same system and come up with different picks. No guarantees...here it goes.

My Oscar System has five main factors, three of which are fixed and two of which are variable, and could change even during the course of the Oscars broadcast. Each of these factors is weighed equally (20%), with veto rights given to factors #4 during the Broadcast on March 23, and #5 on March 23 prior to the start of, OR during the Broadcast.

1. SAG, Golden Globes, Sundance.

The SAG is a peer-conferred award...the Golden Globes are a popular-masses-conferred award...the Sundance awards are conferred by the snooty, hoity-toidy "film enthusiast" types. Figure out who won those three awards in all categories. Watch for the names and the movies that pop up in all three places. This increases the likelihood of winning an Oscar, in my opinion.

2. The Ebert Test.

Some people wear WWJD bracelets, but when it comes to movies, I ask, "What Did Roger Ebert Say?" I agree with Ebert in roughly 90% of his reviews, but of the cases where he and I disagree, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences tends to fall on the side of Ebert. (Case in point, Spider-Man. I LOVED Spider-Man, but Ebert had issues with it...now look at how many nominations it didn't get.) Ebert raves about actor, mentions the word Oscar, or gives movie three stars or higher, and you're looking at a serious contender.

3. Oscar Legacy.

For every nominee, look up: How many times has this person been nominated, and how many times have they won? Chances are, if this particular person is older, actually dead, or has been passed over several times...look out.

Take Randy Newman...passed over 14 times until he took Best Song last year. (In that particular case, though, it was a Factor Five Veto that caused me to guess correctly...read further for explanation.) John Williams, who has won 22 Oscars for Best Score, has a lesser likelihood this time unless it's one of those ones like "Indiana Jones" that sticks in your head for years. (Not so, this time.)

FACTOR FOUR...variable during Oscar broadcast.

"The Common Thread Theory"

There are usually one or two common threads in the movies that win Oscars any given year, I've noticed. For instance, you have "the year of the mentally challenged" where all the actors who win do so through having to play a mentally ill character. Or, you'll have "the year of the historical drama," "the year of the epic," "the year of the woman," "the year of the Jew," "the year of gay pride," etc.

Base? I agree it certainly sounds that way...but...check it out by looking at the Legacy section of Oscar.com. I think there's something to this. Last year was "year of escapism" coupled with "year of the African-American." This year could go "year of the gangster" or "year of the sexist" very easily, but we won't be able to tell until during the show, when the first four awards are over. It always follows a theme, you just have to find it in the first 45 minutes of the show. Know the theme, and you know where the voters' heads were.

FACTOR FIVE...more predictable at the time of, or even during, Oscar broadcast.

"Personal and Political Factors."

The voters are human. It would be nice to think that they base their votes solely on a performance alone, but because you can find common themes, we know that it's also subjective. Therefore, pay attention to tabloid headlines, and gossip rags like People and PageSix.

To further explain my Factor Five veto that caused me to change my vote to Randy Newman, and get it right: the Oscars initiated a new category last year for Full-length Animated feature. By all rights Walt Disney's advancements made this category possible...yet "Shrek" (a movie that parodized Disney CEO Michael Eisner at several points) managed to beat out Disney's "Monsters, Inc." A major slap in the face to Disney, there was one other category where "Monsters, Inc." was nominated: Randy Newman for Best Original Song. The win was not SOLELY because Randy Newman had been passed over 14 times, but it was also a guilt award to pacify Disney. (Gossip headlines shortly before the broadcast about Michael Eisner's contract, and before that, about the whole Shrek-parody-nastiness.)

One example this year is...Nicole Kidman. While her performance may or may not be the best of the year, she was very publicly dumped a year ago by Tom Cruise, and has had tons of painful publicity and public sympathy from that. If she won now, she would be "single mom puts her life back together and triumphs despite sadness," in a role that helped her work through the despondency, and the public would LOVE to see her win for that reason.

Now, there are ALWAYS two or three awards that are total wild-card upsets (cough...Jim Broadbent...cough), but it hasn't generally affected my ability to win the pool. I have an uncanny ability that infuriates my husband to no end, with unexplainably correct guesses on things like Foreign Film, Documentary, and Animated Short. Wink

SO....LET'S PLAY...Who's in? (Gets out abacus and starts calculating...)
Heidi, why aren't we reading you in national newspapers and magazines?!?!
The station I listen to in the mornings features appearances by Mike Rich who was a dj there for ages before he wrote the screenplays for "Finding Forrester" and "The Rookie". He was on today talking about the nominations and he was gushing on and on ad nauseum about "Chicago". I'd much rather read your opinions than listen to his fatuous blathering.
sacrednavel, I would love nothing more than to be a professional entertainment critic, because that way I could combine my love of writing with my love of music and movies without ever having to leave the sanctity of my computer. Wink Not sure how to even go about that, but I did cover those topics for both school and college papers. I would SO DIG being able to do that, only with the sarcasm of a Dennis Miller or a Joe Queenan!

[RE: Chicago. Don't get me wrong, there were a LOT of things to love about that movie...the editing between the "fantasy vaudeville" and "reality" sequences was FLAWLESS, the costumes were great, the choreography was stunning and often very clever. Catherine Zeta-Jones has me re-considering a Cleopatra haircut, she was simply fabulous, and I can't pay enough compliments to Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly.

But there IS such a thing as too much singing and dancing to disrupt an otherwise entertaining story. I put this into practice today by spontaneously bursting into vaudevillian-style song when I had a conversation with someone or did something ordinary, ("I'm.....picking up the phone, picking up the phone, ha-cha! Picking it up, I'm gonna pick it right up!" Tap, tappa tap, tappa tap, tappa tap... "PICK up-click-THE phone-click-RIGHT Now.....YEAH!") and you know what? Everyone either laughed like crazy or wants to kill me! Ask my husband. I really tried it, it's the truth, and I don't think I'm ever allowed to go to the movies again. Wink

Richard Gere's performance was at best, a parody and at worst, overrated. And, I wondered, other than the fact that it was a theatrical re-hash, was there any real reason why the story needed to take place in Chicago, or during Prohibition, other than for flash potential? Because you could base it in, say, Detroit in say, modern times, and you could call it, say, "8 Mile."]
I'll be posting my picks soon...but this year, I have to be like 10x more careful with them because I have put my money where my mouth is...

I work fulltime as a charity fundraiser and decided to turn my thing for movies into a fun, easy way to get some extra $ for my charity. Smiler People send in their Oscar ballots with a $10 donation. Whoever guesses the most, gets 10% of the take (because I have to expend under 15% of the take to satisfy IRS requirements for charities). If the winner guesses more right than our regional office's official movie buff (er, ME), they get an extra 2%.

sooo...the stakes are up!
Heidi, I'm trying to figure out if you liked Chicago or not. Smiler You wanted it to be nominated, but then called it an "overrated movie that glorifies and romanticizes murder and publicity, supplies men with two solid hours of T&A, and annoyingly bursts into song every five minutes". Damnit, if Chicago wasn't Fun I don't know what is. Not because of the women, but because of the music and the wicked dark humour in showing the media eating up the sensationalism.

I don't see any reason to watch the Oscars anyway. It's an overly long production which hands out awards, as you note, for all sorts of reasons OTHER than who was actually best.
Ok.....so I only watch to see what the stars are wearing. I can be that superficial Wink .

To me there is too much back slapping and back handers at a lot of awards ceremonies (the same goes for a lot of music awards)

Isn't it just horrible how the cameras love doing close ups of the losers? They have to grit their teeth and smile when they probably want to spit.
Good points, Chris..and as far as deciding whether or not I liked Chicago, you're not the only one confused. I'm divided, I agree. I did like it, AND did not like it. I liked it for the reasons I said I liked it, AND did not like it for the reasons you've re-stated.

So I guess overall, that places me squarely in the middle, and it's fair to say the bottom line for me is the themes were so serious that it forced me to take the movie as a whole more seriously than you're technically supposed to take a movie musical.

Does it have categories where it absolutely deserves to be recognized? Yes. Was it the best picture of the year? To my mind, no. (But, that said, it looks like a kids' birthday party compared to the subject matter in a couple of the other movies nominated for best picture...)

I WANTED Chicago nominated for best supporting actor/actress categories based on performances alone (John C. Reilly and Queen Latifah), and not on the overriding themes of the movie. I also think film editing and costumes are deserving categories, based on the merit of the category alone and not allowing the movie's topic or themes to distract my opinion.

Another important distinction to make is that I don't always vote for what I think deserves to win or even who I'd prefer to see win, but what I think WILL win, based on my aforementioned "system." When I listed all the nominations I thought Chicago was likely to get, that was not a list of nominations I wanted to see but a list of what I thought, realistically, the AMPAS might bestow.
the 'main' results of this weeknds BAFTA's, the 'british oscars' were:-

Best film
The Pianist

Best director
Roman Polanski - The Pianist

Best actor in a leading role
Daniel Day-Lewis- Gangs of New York

Best actress in a leading role
Nicole Kidman - The Hours

Best actor in a supporting role
Christopher Walken - Catch Me If You Can

Best actress in a supporting role
Catherine Zeta Jones - Chicago

someone suggested that the 'best film not in the english language' award should go to 'scooby doo'

no sign of polanski at this ceremony either. i think michael caine was expecting best actor for 'the quiet american'. he looked a bit grumpy throughout. what was a bit baffling about our awards is that quite a few of the films nominated aren't on general release yet or have just come out in the past week or so. they move in mysterious ways.

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