Before its release, A Prairie Home Companion was hyped as the first Oscar worthy film of the year. Although it opened to decent, but not amazing reviews, some experts are still calling it a contender due to its high profile fans.

After seeing A Prairie Home Companion this weekend, I cannot imagine that it has a real chance of winning best picture. The movie’s major problem is that is has the pace of its famous radio show namesake. It consists of a series of bits tied together by Garrison Keillor’s somewhat funny observations. There is a weak plot in the background that is supposed to tie the story together but it is difficult to follow and rather unbelievable. When watching A Prairie Home Companion, I felt like I was listening to a senile old relative telling me a story about the good ol’ days.

The advantage of having such an aimless plot is that great acting performances really stand out. A Prairie Home Companion is stocked with possible best supporting actor and actress nominees. Here are my top five candidates:

1. Meryl Streep: Streep is stellar in A Prairie Home Companion. She sings well and is the emotional center of the film. Most impressively, she manages to boost the performances of Lindsay Lohan and Lily Tomlin. Her acting is so convincing that you truly believe that they are a family.

2/3. John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson: If there was an Oscar for best duo, these two would win. These two singing cowboys are hilarious and also bring surprising emotional depth to their roles. When they are on screen, you forget to check your watch. This is quite a feat in a film that makes you very conscious of your seat’s padding.

4. Garrison Keillor: Keillor, in his first acting role, comes across as immensely likeable. His dialogue and movements feel natural. He also manages to hold his own during his many interactions with Streep’s character.

5. L.Q. Jones: Jones has a very memorable role as Chuck Akers. The 79-year-old Jones has 149 IMDB credits spanning from 1955 to 2006. This would be a perfect opportunity to recognize him for a great career.

Other possible contenders:
Virginia Madsen and Kevin Kline have both been recognized by others reviewers for their performances. Since they are both part of the ridiculous side plot, I could not bring myself to put them on my top five list.