- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2006

Best Picture

Heart says: “Crash.” What to choose in a year that hold-your-nose, didactic Hollywood consciousness-raisers elbowed aside the truly best pictures of the year? This riveting fable about racial stereotypes, because it at least tried to tell the truth.

Head says: “Brokeback Mountain.” Hollywood’s favorite homosexual shepherds will give the Left Coast glitterati the chance to actually win an election of sorts.

Best Director

Heart: Ang Lee, “Brokeback Mountain.” It wasn’t his greatest achievement, but of the filmmakers nominated here, the Taiwanese-born master is the most richly deserving.

Head: Ang Lee. Why stop at best picture when you’re about the business of culture-war proclamation?

Best Actor

Heart: Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Capote.” He’s been shining in the character-actor antechamber for years, and it’s time his career kicked up a notch.

Head: Heath Ledger, “Brokeback Mountain.” To paraphrase Mr. Ennis Del Mar, “Brokeback” done got him and swooning heterosexual women everywhere — good.

Best Actress

Heart: Kera Knightley, “Pride and Prejudice.” The heart leads nowhere among this quintet of overpraised, if not downright undistinguished, performances. Rank temptation, however, impels me to root for this ravishing Austen heroine.

Head: Reese Witherspoon, “Walk the Line.” The disappointing Johnny Cash biopic will be shut out of most, if not all, major categories. It’s just too bad our June Carter stand-in didn’t get props for “Just Like Heaven.”

Best Supporting Actor

Heart: Matt Dillon, “Crash.” He knocked writer-director Paul Haggis’ best-written character, a viciously jaded yet emotionally complicated L.A. cop, out of the park.

Head: Paul Giamatti, “Cinderella Man.” Yhe “Sideways” star was unforgivably snubbed by the academy last year.

Best Supporting Actress

Heart: Amy Adams, “Junebug.” This big-screen newcomer tunneled straight into your heart as a guileless Southern chatterbox in director Phil Morrison’s criminally underexposed “Junebug.”

Head: Michelle Williams, “Brokeback Mountain.” Unless left-leaning academy voters want to parody themselves and reward Rachel Weisz for her role in the laughably paranoid anti-pharmaceutical movie “The Constant Gardener,” then expect “Brokeback’s” best female player to take home the Oscar.

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