The early favorites were announced Sunday by a panel of Hollywood "royalty." Though nothing about this list is official, the group has a ninety percent success rate in choosing the nominees in the major catagories. As is usual for the Academy Awards, most of the selected films are artsy, predicted to lose money, will only be on limited release, and have not been seen by more than ten people who have not attended film school.
The choices for best picture are:
Prejudice and Prejudice A film loosely based on the famous Bronte story in that only the changed title is actually used. This is the story of a black family in the slums of Philadelphia who must fight against neighborhood drug sales and prostitution that are all the fault of the Republican Presidency and Republican controlled congress. Dakota Fanning plays the young daughter of Lawrence Fishburn and Halle Berry. All three should receive acting nominations for their roles.
Fox Hunting on the Moors The team of Merchant and Ivory have reunited for this classic English piece set near the famous Baskerville Estate. Emma Thomson stars as a nanny who falls in love with the Lord of the Manor (Anthony Hopkins, in his 67th Merchant Ivory film), only to be stricken with polio and forced to beg on the London streets. Dakota Fanning plays the young daughter of the Lord who sees the love of Thomson and attempts to save her life.
Poor White Trailer Trash Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones (stars of Coal Miner's Daughter) reunite as working class people living in an Arkansas mobile home park. When their oldest son is killed in the Iraq war, they protest to an uncaring Republican administration. The scene where Spacek cries in the arms of young daughter Dakota Fanning should earn her a twenty-first nomination. Jones should receive his for the scene in a bar where he attacks a picture of President Bush with a pool cue.
I Cried on Thursday A heartfelt film on aging starring veteran actors Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. Heavy make-up effects show us two 80+ people surviving on love and cat food as a non-caring Bush administration cuts back social security benefits and takes away their pensions. The couple wonders how they will ever send orphaned great grandchild Dakota Fanning to college on their measely income and benefits.
Amore Il Duce This period piece is an Italian import that portrays the love story between Benito Mousselini and one of his secretarys. Robert DeNiro stars in the title roll and Jessica Lange is his trusted long time employee and mistress. As the tide of World War Two begins to turn against Italy, she seeks his help in getting their love child, Dakota Fanning, safely out of the country and to Argentina, where Evita Peron (Madonna) will help them.
In the Best Actor Category:*
Robert DeNiro / Amore Il Duce
Nicolas Cage / I Cried on Thursday
Tommy Lee Jones / Poor White Trailer Trash
Anthony Hopkins / Fox Hunting on the Moors
Tom Hanks / Still Big
In the Best Actress Category:*
Jessica Lange / Amore Il Duce
Madonna / Amore Il Duce
Emma Thomson / Fox Hunting on the Moors
Meryl Streep / I Cried on Thursday
Sissy Spacek / Poor White Trailer Trash
In the Best Supporting Actress Category:*
Dakota Fanning / Amore Il Duce
Dakota Fanning / Fox Hunting on the Moors
Dakota Fanning / I Cried on Thursday
Dakota Fanning / Poor White Trailer Trash
Dakota Fanning / Prejudice and Prejudice
In the Best Supporting Actor Category:*
The large Saint Bernard Dog / Beethoven's Fifth
The Big Bad Wolf / Shrek Three
A burned up '83 Plymouth on 132nd Street / Prejudice and Prejudice
Tom Hank's left shoe / Still Big
Tom Hank's right shoe / Still Big
*note: black actors and actresses have been given their token awards this decade and will not be nominated in any of the acting categories.
The Academy Awards will be presented in late March in Hollywood.