Oscar Guesses: Let the Darts Fly
BY DENNIS KING
Having earned a living for a couple of decades by babbling on about movies, it is perhaps impolitic to admit that I’m not very good at guessing Oscar winners. The average popcorn Joe predicting in the average Oscar office pool probably has as good a track record at picking winners as me.
It’s not a function of movie knowledge or keen insight or anything like that. It’s just that quirky tastes in movies often lead to quirky predictions when it comes Oscar time (I’d much rather vote the low-budget underdog than the fabulous front-runner). That, and the fact that reading the tea leaves on how 6,000 or so official Oscar voters will vote (they are indeed a fractious bunch) is sheer folly.
My favorite axiom on Oscar expertise is drawn from that grand screenwriter and two-time Oscar-winner William Goldman, who famously wrote, “In Hollywood, nobody knows anything.”
Early on in my tenure as a professional “film cricket” (Homer Simpson’s term), I concocted an admittedly goofy experiment in which I tacked lists of Oscar nominees on a dart board and let fly a dart at each of the Big Six categories (supporting actor, supporting actress, actor, actress, director and best movie). Then I compared my own furrow-browed prognostications with the whims of the dart.
And the dart’s random picks were more successful than mine. D’oh!
So anyway, after that long-winded prelude, here are my best guesses at statuette winners of the 82nd Academy Awards to be presented Sunday evening in an overstuffed ceremony airing on ABC from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.
Best actress in a supporting role: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart.” (The Academy’s actors’ branch is the largest and most politically fragmented voting body, and it’s often in supporting categories that upsets and surprises occur. But Gyllenhaal, so good in this gritty, naturalistic serio-comedy, is a popular candidate who’s compiled an impressive body of work. So it just feels like her time.)
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