Check out EW's odds for ''Saving Private Ryan,'' ''Life is Beautiful,'' and more in other categories

By EW Staff
Updated March 19, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

We have seen the future…and it’s time to take our crystal ball in for a tune-up. With some of the tightest races in recent memory, the 71st annual Academy Awards has even the most seasoned prognosticators playing 52 pickup with their tarot decks. Despite the cloudiness, we’ve managed to sift through the hoopla of critics’ prizes, secondary awards shows, and straight-up politics to fearlessly predict the fates of Gwyneth Paltrow, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Billy Bob Thornton, Shakespeare, and the rest of the nominees in all 24 categories. Should the events of March 21, 1999 surprise the entire world, we’ll throw up our hands like the rest of you. But should we prove uncannily correct, you know where to send a cut of those Oscar-pool winnings.

Foreign Language Film

Central Station (Brazil)
Children of Heaven (Iran)
The Grandfather (Spain)
Life Is Beautiful (Italy)
Tango (Argentina)

Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful — the first film up for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film in the same year since the ’69 Oscars (Constantin Costa-Gavras’ Z took home this trophy) — is considered a shoo-in, although Central Station isn’t completely off the tracks (it won best foreign film at the Golden Globes; Life was released too early to be eligible).


A Civil Action
Saving Private Ryan
Shakespeare in Love
The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line may have been the prettiest picture of the year (its cinematographer, John Toll, won Oscars for Braveheart and Legends of the Fall), but Janusz Kaminski’s sweeping, brutal work on Ryan (directed by some guy named Spielberg) will probably be remembered on Oscar night.

Documentary Feature

The Farm: Angola, U.S.A.
The Last Days
Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth
Regret to Inform

Dancemaker‘s got good buzz, but WWII is hot this year, so we’re putting our money on James Moll and Ken Lipper’s Holocaust history, The Last Days (produced by some guy named Spielberg).

Film Editing

Life Is Beautiful
Out of Sight
Saving Private Ryan
Shakespeare in Love
The Thin Red Line

Since this one usually goes to the Best Picture winner, Ryan’s Michael Kahn looks like the favorite. But Shakespeare‘s David Gamble could surprise.

Art Direction

Saving Private Ryan
Shakespearein Love
What Dreams May Come

Dreams is the favorite among art directors, but the trophy traditionally goes to big costume dramas. Our guess is Martin Childs and Jill Quertier for Shakespeare in Love.

Costume Design

Shakespeare in Love
Velvet Goldmine

The odds are stacked heavily in favor of Sandy Powell — an Academy darling — who’s up for both Goldmine and Shakespeare (the one she’ll win for).


Saving Private Ryan
Shakespeare in Love

Tough call. Geoffrey Rush’s English teeth were terrifying and Gwyneth Paltrow’s sex changes were impressive (if not terribly convincing) in Shakespeare, but prosthetics usually come out ahead. We say Saving Private Ryan‘s team (Lois Burwell, Conor O’Sullivan, and Daniel C. Striepeke) will win by a bloody nose.

Orginal Song

— ”I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Armageddon)
— ”The Prayer” (Quest for Camelot)
— ”A Soft Place to Fall” (The Horse Whisperer)
— ”That’ll Do” (Babe: Pig in the City)
— ”When You Believe” (The Prince of Egypt)

Much as we’d like to see Armageddon‘s Aerosmith up on the podium with Diane Warren thanking the Academy, this award almost always goes to an easy-listening tune. That would be Stephen Schwartz’s ”When You Believe,” the Whitney-Mariah diva duet.