Will Academy voters go the same way as the Hollywood Foreign Press? Are they as open-minded to vote for a movie about gay cowboys? We'll get a glimpse in a couple weeks when the nominations are announced.

Well, I'd like to give my opinion on how they should throw their votes, at least for the major categories. I'll list the nominations, and list the winners at the end. I'll start with the Best Picture category.

First, I will put in Brokeback Mountain; even though I didn't see it, it's been honored in every other critics list and last night, it won the Golden Globe. There's got to be something about this movie that is appealing to people. But, will it win? Probably not. The other four films to be competing against it should be, or possibly be Match Point, Walk the Line, "Good Night, and Good Luck", and A History of Violence.

I'll explain: Match Point is the return of Woody Allen; a great film with drama and suspense. The Academy always loves veteran winners, and who better than Woody to get another win, or at least nomination. As far as Walk the Line, not only did it take home the Golden Globe win in the other Best Picture category, but it's a damn good film as well. I found myself effected emotionally by the life of Johnny Cash, and what June Carter really meant to him. Oh, and a bonus was I was tapping my feet throughout the movie even though I'm not a fan of country music. "Good Night, and Good Luck" was not one of my favorite films of the year, but Academy voters do. You've got George Clooney and a story of a man who changed the media, for the better. And now, for my sleeper pick, A History of Violence; this was one of my favorite films of the year and it's as gripping a film as you'll find.

For the Best Actor category, I almost have too many choices for this one, but I'll narrow it down to five. They are David Strathairn for "Good Night, and Good Luck", Joaquin Phoenix for Walk the Line, Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Capote, Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, and Terrence Howard in Hustle and Flow. Not a real big surprise for any of these men, but I put Terrence Howard as a dark horse nomination. I really feel Academy voters have to write in at least a few first-timers every year. The other actors don't need any explanation for why they should be nominated.

As far as Best Actress, that's a bit harder to find five that should be nominated. But, here we go: Charlize Theron in North Country, Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line, Felicity Hoffman for Transamerica, Ziyi Zhang for Memoirs of a Geisha, and Dame Judi Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents". See what I mean, it was a lot harder to come up with this list. Dench gets the nod, cause she's a Dame – and it's a given that she's got to have at least a nomination. I'm putting Ziyi Zhang in because it was hard not to put someone in who wears that much makeup and in those outfits.

In the Best Director category, I'll go with a couple locks for noms, George Clooney and Woody Allen; both for previous reasons in the Best Picture explanation. For the other three, I'll take Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain, Steven Spielberg for Munich, and David Cronenberg for A History of Violence. Once again, no real surprise except for Cronenberg; I just think he deserves at least a nomination.

Ok, now for the winners:

Best Picture: Match Point

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line

Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Munich

Yes, there's a few surprise winners on my page, but we'll see what happens at the Kodak Theater on March 5th when the 78th Academy Awards air on ABC. The nominations will occur on January 31st.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.