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Oscar outcomes: staff members predict winners in six major categories

The 78th Academy Awards promises to be quite a show. Host Jon Stewart seems more than qualified for the job given the political nature of many of the nominees. Ranging from issues such as civil liberties in Good Night, and Good Luck to affairs in the Middle East with Syriana and Munich, this year’s Oscars will be honoring films with important messages.

Also, this year’s awards feature a lot of new faces that are getting recognized for their hard work with 14 of the 20 nominated actors and actresses being first- time nominees, indicating Hollywood’s desire for fresh blood.

The Oscars will be televised by ABC on March 5 at 8 p.m ET.

Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain

Caleb: When the awards are handed out this year, do not be surprised if we see complete and utter domination by Brokeback Mountain. The film’s unconventional tragic love story has a depth and appeal that will catapult it into cinema history. Besides being a lot more complex than simply a “gay cowboy movie,” Brokeback is one of the best all around films I have seen in a while and will rule the night.

Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Tim: The best director category will be close with all of the nominees having taken up difficult and controversial subjects to put on film, but I predict Ang Lee will come out with the statue for his work in Brokeback Mountain. Lee tackled the topic of homosexual love, arguably the hottest issue in America today, with the respect the topic needs. He tells the story while being neither flippant nor preachy, and the result is simply beautiful.

Best Actor: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

Caleb: In one of the toughest best actor races in years, Capote’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Brokeback’s Heath Ledger are clearly the favorites. Hoffman’s phenomenal performance as the brilliant author Truman Capote will garner his first ever Oscar statue. An intensely real portrayal of the author of In Cold Blood, Hoffman plays the ubiquitous character with ease and a style all his own.

Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Tim: Those who think Walk the Line is that movie about Johnny Cash are only half correct. The movie is about Johnny Cash and June Carter. While Cash is the central character of the film, Carter (Reese Witherspoon) is the catalyst for change in Cash. The title of the movie comes from Cash’s song about that very attribute of Carter. Witherspoon gives Carter’s stage persona a delightful Southern cuteness, but she plays Carter’s more complicated off-stage life with remarkable realism.

Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Tim: The supporting performances in Brokeback Mountain are a large part of what make Brokeback so great. Michelle Williams is most notable as Alma, the tortured wife of the closet homosexual Ennis Del Mar. When she discovers the truth, she reacts the way one would expect her to react, and the viewer’s heart breaks for her. Her character’s trials would have merited a movie of their own.

Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney, Syriana

Caleb: Filled with great performances and stiff competition, this race is also very heated. George Clooney’s cunning role as a CIA operative in Syriana may be his finest hour and will most likely land him Oscar gold. Definitely the edgiest character Clooney has ever played, he infiltrates the screen with a suave style that captures the essence of the turmoil in the Middle East.

[Note: The predictions expressed here do not necessarily represent the opinions of both Caleb and Tim.]

Academy Awards Nominees Shortlist

Best Picture:

Brokeback Mountain

Capote

Crash

Good Night, and Good Luck

Munich

Best Director:

George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Bennett Miller, Capote

Paul Haggis, Crash

Steven Spielberg, Munich

Best Actor:

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow

Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line

David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck

Best Actress:

Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents

Felicity Huffman, Transamerica

Keira Knightly, Pride & Prejudice

Charlize Theron, North Country

Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, Junebug

Catherine Keener, Capote

Frances McDormand, North Country

Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener

Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Best Supporting Actor:

George Clooney, Syriana

Matt Dillon, Crash

Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man

Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain

William Hurt, A History of Violence

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