The Shakespeare-typing monkeys have been temporarily reassigned from their usual clerical duties in order to tabulate the Oscar Pool ballots. This has proven to be extremely difficult, due to the fact that they keep getting distrcted by Sunday afternoon NASCAR races.
Be that as it may, here are thoughts on the top six categories.
Unsurprisingly, The Tuna Pool shows it to be a close race between The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby. Very surprisingly, there is also strong, strong support for Finding Neverland. If Sideways wins, we'll all be in the collective doghouse.
Tuna's Pick: Million Dollar Baby. Not a very scientific guess, considering that I haven't seen Aviator or Neverland. But if I can really, really like Baby -- A Clint Eastwood boxing film -- then there must be something to it.
The Pool: Aviator (11) -- Million Dollar Baby (8) -- Finding Neverland (7) -- Ray (4) -- Sideways (0)
The overwhelming opinion here is that if one dozes off during the Best Actor award, one won't be missing anything.
Tuna's Pick: Jamie Foxx -Ray. He WAS Ray. It was a seamless portrayal. That being said, if Don Cheadle somehow managed a win, I'd be very, very happy.
The Pool: Jamie Foxx - Ray (21) -- Johnny Depp - Neverland (7) -- Leonardo DiCaprio - Aviator (1) -- Clint Eastwood - Million $ Baby (1) -- Don Cheadle - Hotel Rwanda (0)
The Tuna Pool agrees that it is a tight race between Bening and Swank, and there is also some support for Kate Winslett in Eternal Sunshine.
Tuna's Pick: Hilary Swank. I always think if I watch a film and don't spend the entire time thinking, "Hey there's (insert actor's name here) then they've done a great job. Hilary Swank did a great job. Besides, Annette Bening has Warren Beatty. What else could she want?
The Pool: Hillary Swank - Million Dollar Baby (13) -- Annette Bening - Being Julia (7) -- Kate Winslett - Eternal Sunshine (6) -- Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake (2) -- Catalina Sandino Moreno - Maria Full of Grace (2)
Best Supporting Actor
The pool is in absolute agreement that Jamie Foxx is NOT winning this award. Although Alda, Church and Owen tied for second, the overwhelming majority thinks it's Morgan Freeman's year.
Tuna's Pick: Morgan Freeman. He is amazing in whatever he does. Plus, he was on Electric Company and can turn a can into a cane. Sorry Hawkeye. Back to Nova you go.
The Pool: Morgan Freeman - Million Dollar Baby (15) -- Alan Alda - Aviator (5) -- Thomas Hayden Church - Sideways (5) -- Clive Owen - Closer (5)
Best Supporting Actress
The pool declares this to be a three-way race between Cate Blanchett, Virginia Madsen and Natalie Portman.
Tuna's Pick: Cate Blanchett. I haven't seen the film, so I've done this as a token Aviator olive branch. Give 'em one biggie and let 'em go home. Virginia Madsen was great in Sideways, and I think she could really be a spoiler -- er, pleasant surprise -- here. Just remember, this is always one of the funkier awards of the night. Can anyone say Marissa Tomei??
The Pool: Cate Blanchett - Aviator (13) -- Virginia Madsen - Sideways (9) -- Natalie Portman - Closer (5) -- Laura Linney - Kinsey (2) -- Sophie Okonedo - Hotel Rwanda (1)
Yes, yes. Everyone thinks it's Scorsese's year.
Tuna's Pick: Clint Eastwood - Million $ Baby. I think it's much harder to make a quiet film that is realistic and not dull, honest and not pandering, than it is to make an enormous spectacle that is hours and hours on end. Plus, I already did the whole olive branch thing with supporting actress. That was enough.
The Pool: Scorsese - Aviator (16) -- Eastwood - Million $ Baby (11) -- Hackford - Ray (2) -- Leigh - Vera Drake (1) -- Payne - Sideways (0)
Remember, there is still time to make your picks.
Operators standing by now.
Better buy more bananas.