Louis Menand, writing about some guy’s book in The New Yorker a couple months ago:

‘When you have prizes for art, you will always have people complaining that prizes are just politics, or that they reward in-group popularity or commercial success, or that they are pointless and offensive because art is not a competition. English believes that contempt for prizes is not harmful to the prize system; that, on the contrary, contempt for prizes is what the system is all about. ‘The threat of scandal,’ as he puts it, ‘is constitutive of the cultural prize.’ His theory is that when people make these objections to the nature of prizes they are helping to sustain a collective belief that true art has nothing to do with things like politics, money, in-group tastes and beating out the other guy. As long as we want to believe that creative achievement is special, that a work of art is not just one more commodity seeking to aggrandize itself in the marketplace at the expense of other works of art, we need prizes so that we can complain about how stupid they are. In this respect, it is at least as important that the prize go to the wrong person as to the right one, No one thinks that Tolstoy was less than a great writer because he failed to win a Nobel. The failure to win the Nobel has become, in the end, a mark of his greatness.”

And so, my Oscar Picks:

Best Picture

Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: Munich

Best Director

Will Win: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino, Sin City

Best Actor

Will: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Should: Hoffman

Best Actress

Will: Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line
Should: Q’Orianka Kilcher, The New World

Supporting Actor

Will: George Clooney, Syriana
Should: Mickey Rourke, Sin City

Supporting Actress

Will: Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Should: Maria Bello, A History Of Violence

Original Screenplay

Will: Crash
Should: Good Night And Good Luck

Adapted Screeenplay

Will: Brokeback Mountain
Should: Munich

Film Editing

Will: Crash
Should: Sin City


Will: Brokeback Mountain
Should: Sin City

Foreign Language Film

Will: Tsotsi
Should: Caché

Documentary Feature

Will: March Of The Penguins
Should: No Direction Home

Documentary Short

Will: the Rwanda one
Should: NA

Animated Feature

Will: Wallace & Gromit
Should: NA

Animated Short
Will: the long one with “Jasper” in the title
Should: NA

Live Action Short
Will: Six Shooter
Should: NA

Art Direction
Will: Memoirs Of A Geisha
Should: Memoirs Of A Geisha

Will: Chronicles Of Narnia
Should: Sin City

Costume Design
Will: Memoirs Of A Geisha
Should: Memoirs Of A Geisha

Original Score
Will: Brokeback Mountain
Should: Brokeback Mountain

Original Song
Will: Crash
Should: NA

Sound Editing
Will: King Kong
Should: Revenge Of The Sith

Sound Mixing
Will: Walk The Line
Should: Walk The Line

Visual Effects
Will: King Kong
Should: Revenge Of The Sith

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