Oscar Watch 2005: Predicting the Nominees


By Rex A. Okpodu

Best Actor

Jamie Foxx (Ray)
The current frontrunner as the best performance in any film this year.

Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland)
After last year's surprise nomination for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Depp cements his reputation as one of the most interesting actors of his generation. This could be his year.

Liam Neeson (Kinsey)
A previous nominee for Schindler's List (1992), Neeson plays the title role in the aforementioned biopic about the life of Alfred Kinsey. Hollywood loves this genre. The subject matter courted some initial controversy and liberal-leaning Academy members might use this as payback for the Right's victory in this year's presidential election.

Javier Bardem (Mar Adentro or The Sea Within)
With critical acclaim for his role as a euthanasia crusader, Bardem is likely to find himself in the nominees' circle come January, especially as the film is almost a certain nominee and a likely winner in the foreign film category.

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator)
Critics are saying that this performance as Howard Hughes reestablishes DiCaprio as an actor to be taken seriously.

Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda)
With the current buzz on this film and his performance in particular, Cheadle might well turn out to be this year's Adrien Brody, a surprise winner in 2002.

Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
A well-loved performance in the most critically acclaimed movie of the year.

Best Actress

Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake)
She should be the frontrunner for a nomination by virtue of winning the most critics awards to date but there is a feeling that she might eventually lose out to Annette Bening, who is a Hollywood insider, overdue for notice, and American. Guild support as well as attendance of the various awards ceremonies might raise her profile with Academy voters.

Annette Bening (Being Julia)
Pundits believe this year is finally hers despite the fact that she might be the sole nominee from her film, which received lukewarm reviews. Academy voters respond favorably to older actresses playing 'grand dame roles.'

Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
Critics are favoring a rematch of 1999 when Swank's performance in Boys Don't Cry stole the thunder from Bening's acclaimed role in American Beauty.

Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
She is always a favorite at the Academy Awards, with three nominations before the age of 30.

Emmy Rossum (The Phantom of the Opera)
She might be the sole beneficiary from this film, which failed to live up to critical expectations but is expected to have a better reception at the non-American box office.