The Academy may disagree, but here's who we'd like to see bring home a golden boy on Feb. 25 (ABC, 8 p.m. ET)
They say always bet with your head, not your heart. Well, these Academy Awards picks are strictly from the heart—the nominated performances and films I wish would come out on top. This year, many of my faves–Jennifer Hudson to name just one–are actually front-runners, but a few are real long shots. Still, no matter who wins, I won't be crying in front of my TV set. After all, the Oscars are just Hollywood's take on a high school popularity contest–with designer gowns and pricier makeup to cover up those pesky zits.
There's not a clunker among this year's nominated films, but director Clint Eastwood's masterful Letters from Iwo Jima is especially timely. By depicting a famed WWII battle through the eyes of doomed Japanese soldiers and commanders–we see them preparing for a fight they cannot win and glimpse the lives they left behind in peacetime–the film makes their plight universal. And its pointed message about the futility of war, no matter one's cause or country, resonates strongly in a world where a new generation of young soldiers are dying daily far from home.
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Let's hear it for the ladies: This year, all five nominees rock. But top honors should go to Helen Mirren, whose bewitching performance as Queen Elizabeth II after the death of Princess Diana turned a seemingly frosty public figure into a woman of depth and–dare I say it–vulnerability.