Heidi Oringer's Oscar Predictions

Zellweger's tappin' and tunin' in Chicago was awesome, but you cannot compare a singing and dancing role to the angst-filled, anguish-ridden performances demonstrated by the actresses in the more dramatic roles in this category. Renee is young and she'll recover from the loss. Lucky 13 for Streep Meryl Streep might have joined those other ladies in the best actress category for The Hours. But she had to settle for a supporting actress nod for her work in Adaptation.. But it was a history-making honor. She passed Katharine Hepburn as the most nominated actress in Oscar history with a whopping 13 nominations, 10 in lead categories and three in supporting. I'm such a fan that if Streep read a soup can label, I'm sure her heartfelt rendering of "monosodium glutamate" would make me shed a tear.

I'll tell you now, she'll walk away with this one and becomes the greatest actress of our time. Why? Because the Academy loves to make or break records.

Regarding the other supporting lasses, Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah were fun, but they both already knew how to sing and dance and they had too much fun making the movie. Kathy Bates, on the other hand, couldn't have found exposing her less-than-waifish figure in About Schmidt to be fun, but she did it. This brings her back to people's minds as a solid older actress, but that's all it does. If You Bet Against Nicholson, You Don’t Know Jack Let's face it, folks, Streep owns this one. And speaking of owning, Jack Nicholson is probably clearing his bottle of Valium from the shelf to make room for his next trophy. His About Schmidt performance is perhaps the most talked about of his career. It was "un-Jack" they say, which is quite an accomplishment, if you're as Jack as Jack is.

The other guys are praiseworthy, of course. Michael Caine gets nominated every time he goes to the bathroom practically, so his nomination for The Quiet American validates his work for this calendar year. Nicholas Cage was great in Adaptation, but quirky is recognizable more than awardable.

Daniel Day Lewis was just too dirty for me in Gangs. Although he was excellent, he's seen victory before for roles that many would consider much more memorable (My Left Foot). Adrien Brody in The Pianist was extraordinary, but he's just 29 which makes the Academy figure he'll be around long enough to win in another year. So, it's a Jack attack all the way. (Prediction five for those scoring at home).

For supporting men, reality bites. Chris Cooper in Adaptation was fantabulous. Speaking coherently sans teeth is award-worthy alone, but this is his first nod and the Academy may figure that's enough for now. Ed Harris got a previous nomination — but not a win — for Pollack His role in The Hours ensured him the nomination, but it still might not be enough to get him over the hump.

Christopher Walken got nominated for Catch Me If You Can because the movie had to get something. Walken was good, but hasn't turned out anything spectacular since Deer Hunter and getting a nomination was enough. John C. Reilly is like a Visa … "everywhere you wanna be." The only movie he wasn't in last year I think is Undercover Brother. He's really coming onto the scene heavy and this nomination clearly states that he's an acting force to be reckoned with in the future. The nom will have to be enough for now, though.

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