Nothing against "Little Miss Sunshine" -- we chuckled every now and then, especially over Alan Arkin's sweet tooth for heroin -- but nothing for it, either. It's this season's "Forrest Gump," the lightweight flick that bested "Pulp Fiction" for Best Picture in 1994. It's "Rocky" beating "Network" and "Taxi Driver" in 1976. "Kramer vs. Kramer" winning over "Apocalypse Now" in 1979. And let's not even get into "GoodFellas" losing to "Dances With Wolves" in 1990.
"Sunshine" could win Best Picture for the same reason "My Fair Lady" beat "Dr. Strangelove" in 1964. It's easier to like the comfortable, the inoffensive. Soothe, don't rankle. Sure, there's a chance that "The Departed" will win Best Picture, but only because it's no longer any fun to screw over Martin Scorsese (and because "The Departed" has made more money than any other Scorsese film).
We'd like to think the Academy Awards will be handed to the best actors, the best filmmakers. In that spirit, here's what we hope happens (and what peobably will happen):
•Best Picture should go to "Letters From Iwo Jima," but there's nothing feel-good about Japanese soldiers blowing themselves up with grenades. We suspect "The Departed" will win to complete the suck-up to Scorsese.
•Anybody but Will Smith for Best Actor. We're pulling for Ryan Gosling in "Half Nelson." Most pundits think Forest Whitaker will win for "The Last King of Scotland," but Peter O'Toole has a chance, and not just because he owns the best phallic name in film history.
•Best Actress is Helen Mirren, or so everyone says, and we'll take their word for it.
•Mark Wahlberg should be named Best Supporting Actor, for his turn in "The Departed." He will probably lose to Arkin, or perhaps Eddie Murphy (whose "Dreamgirls" turn pales when compared to Mr. Robinson, or his channeling of Gumby).
•Best Supporting Actress? Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls," because it will further enrage Beyonce.
•Best Director should go to Clint Eastwood for "Letters From Iwo Jima," but hey, he's already gotten his share of Oscars.