Essays · Movies

Oscar Predictions: The Performers

By  · Published on February 24th, 2007

As they say, the most surprising moments on Oscar night lie within the Acting categories. I don’t really know who they are, but they must not have said that after seeing this year’s nominations. All throughout the Awards season, we have been treated to a cavalcade of Forest Whitaker, Helen Mirren, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson taking home hardware. This would lead most to believe that these will be the four men and women on stage Sunday night who will be making copious acceptance speeches, thanking everyone in sight — and God. But one key thing to remember is that most of the major awards given up to now have been voted on by critics, not members of the Academy. And I know you are saying “but what about the SAG Awards?” Nevermind those little guys, this is the big show and the Academy loves to throw us for a loop every now and again.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Who should win: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)

The whole of Hollywood and the rest of the world knew who was going to win in this category back in December when the buzz around Dreamgirls was red hot. They weren’t talking about Beyonce finally failing to ruin a film or about the best musical since Chicago, they were talking about the rags-to-riches sensation Jennifer Hudson. In one of the weaker categories in the entire show, Hudson is the standout by a long shot. The only other performance that could be looked at was Rinko Kikuchi in Babel, but Hudson was electric and there is no denying that, even with the infinite snubbing wisdom of the Academy.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Who should win: Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)

Go ahead and call the upset now — Eddie Murphy, in all of the buzz and hype around Dreamgirls, was truly overshadowed by the afore mentioned Ms. Hudson. Alan Arkin, on the other hand, was one of the most memorable characters in a film that just won’t give up on its journey to Oscar glory, Little Miss Sunshine. Arkin was crass, belligerent and ultimately charming which leads me to believe that not only can he win over the hearts of audiences, but that he will win the praise of the Academy as well.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Who will win: Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Who should win: Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)

This is where the upset won’t happen. This is also where the nominees are the strongest. Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Dame Judi Dench, all of these leading ladies gave powerhouse performances that would easily in had they not been pitted against Helen Mirren. While some of us snored through The Queen and were illuminated by The Devil Wears Prada, it seems that everyone else (including the Academy) was falling for that dry British charm. Oh well, maybe next year for these other ladies.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Who will win: Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
Who should win: Peter O’Toole (Venus)

Yes, the Academy is full of sentimental old buggers. No, that will not help Peter O’Toole finally win an Oscar outright. As much as everyone loves an underdog, this category will fall to the man who is the most lauded actor of the year. The Last King of Scotland, a decent movie in its own right, would have never seen acclaim had it not been for the powerful and commanding performance of its leading man, and that is what this award is all about — go ahead, Academy, give the guy his just deserts.

Just two more categories left to predict, Best Director and Best Picture. All of this speculation is making me a bit hungry. Let’s do lunch and meet back here for the big moment a little later.

Do you have some Oscar Predictions? Feel free to lay them down in the comments section below.

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)