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Your Oscars cheat sheet: Let's predict the nominees!

January 21, 2008 | 12:42 am

Finally, those rascally, confounding, elusive Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday morning. Who'll make the cut?

Oscarnoms_cheat_sheetBEST PICTURE
(LIKELY)
"Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

(POSSIBLE)
"American Gangster"
"Atonement"
"Juno"
"Into the Wild"

"Diving Bell," "Clayton" "No Country" and "Blood" were all nominated by BOTH the directors' and producers' guilds, so they look strong. Of those two guilds, the directors' choices have the best predix rate. This year DGA's fifth choice was "Wild," but that may just be because those helmers are fawning over another actor-turned-director (Sean Penn). They actually swoon more shamelessly over actors in that category than Oscar voters! Everybody seems to be swooning MOST over the fifth choice of the PGA — "Juno" — so that's why it rounds out my list, but beware of "Gangster," too. It's the highest-grossing "serious" movie of the year and that's usually a guarantee of a nom. Also, Universal is blitzing L.A. with "FYC" ballyhoo, which proved successful for its past ponies "Ray" and "Seabiscuit."

"Atonement" won the Golden Globe and leads with the most BAFTA bids, so it's a major player, too. After all, it began derby season as the early frontrunner to win and hasn't really tripped up. Reviews have been strong — raves from the L.A. Times, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter — and b.o. has held up ($30 million in limited release, up until this past weekend anyway). Still, perception is that it's fallen faaaaaar behind. Like my poor, beloved "Sweeney Todd."

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BEST DIRECTOR
(LIKELY)
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"
Ethan and Joel Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

(POSSIBLE)
Tim Burton, "Sweeney Todd"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Sidney Lumet, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"
Sean Penn, "Into the Wild"
Jason Reitman, "Juno"
Ridley Scott, "American Gangster"
Denzel Washington, "The Great Debaters"
Joe Wright, "Atonement"

Don't expect this race to line up with best pic. There may be enormous deviations. Among the chaps in the second tier here, Gilroy and Penn got DGA bids.


BEST ACTOR
(LIKELY)
George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"
Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises"

(POSSIBLE)
Ryan Gosling, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Emile Hirsch, "Into the Wild"
Denzel Washington, "American Gangster"

Gosling and Hirsch got SAG noms, so they seem most likely to claim the fifth slot out of the second tier. Depp got shut out by SAG and BAFTA, but guild voters didn't get DVD screeners and BAFTA voters got them very late. Based on Hollywood buzz, he's lookin' good. Beware: Denzel's an academy fave and there's lots of love for "Gangster." James McAvoy ("Atonement") has longshot hopes.


BEST ACTRESS
(LIKELY)
Julie Christie, "Away From Her"
Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"
Angelina Jolie, "A Mighty Heart"
Ellen Page, "Juno"

(POSSIBLE)
Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth, The Golden Age"
Keira Knightley, "Atonement"
Laura Linney, "The Savages"

The top four look safe, but that fifth slot is a head-scratcher. Blanchett, inexplicably, keeps popping up with noms despite "Golden Age" being widely ridiculed and dismissed as a film. Keira has lots of support, but not lots of face time in "Atonement." I have a sneaky suspicion that Linney is the fifth nominee. They like her so much they even nommed her for "Kinsey," which was largely overlooked otherwise.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
(LIKELY)
Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"
Hal Holbrook, "Into The Wild"
Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton"

(POSSIBLE)
Sacha Baron Cohen, "Sweeney Todd"
Paul Dano, "There Will Be Blood"
Tommy Lee Jones, "No Country For Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"
John Travolta, "Hairspray"
Albert Finney, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"

Jones got the SAG bid, so he may seem most likely to score, but that's a rather subtle performance that I think will fade here. Voters adore Hoffman who gives a bombastic, battle-ax perf hard to ignore. It's most likely to be the fifth entry, but watch out for Dano. He's been mostly ignored in the derby so far, but buzz is building fast.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
(LIKELY)
Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton"

(POSSIBLE)
Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"
Jennifer Garner, "Juno"
Catherine Keener, "Into the Wild"
Vanessa Redgrave, "Atonement"
Saorise Ronan, "Atonemnet"

Saorise seems most likely to gain the fourth slot, but I'm putting her down in "Possible" because of how much "Atonement" seems to be sliding. If SAG nominee Ruby Dee gets in and wins — which is possible due to sentiment — her perf would be the shortest winner in Oscar history. With less than 5 minutes of screen time, she'd beat "Network" star Beatrice Straight's record. After those two, I think Garner has a good shot of getting in.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
(LIKELY)
"Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"Into the Wild"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

(POSSIBLE)
"Atonement"
"Charlie Wilson's War"
"Zodiac"

"Charlie" has a better shot than "Zodiac," which was preferred by WGA voters for a nom, but it may have gained an edge within the guild because Paramount blitzed voters with DVDs. "Charlie's" Aaron Sorkin is widely admired and, curiously, I keep hearing lots of support for the film from actual Oscar voters even though it was slammed by film critics. "Atonement," remember, is adapted from a beloved British book.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
(LIKELY)
"Juno"
"Lars and the Real Girl"
"Michael Clayton"

(POSSIBLE)
"American Gangster"
"Knocked Up"
"La Vie en Rose"
"Ratatouille"
"The Savages"

Sometimes animated pix like "The Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo" get nommed here, but I don't think that sneaky rat will chew through. WGA voters nommed "Knocked Up" and "Savages." There's an awful lot of hoopla over the "Gangster" script — whether it's really adapted and whether it's accurate, historically — so it'll probably be snubbed. I'm putting "La Vie" here since some shallow Hollywooders might think it's literary just because it's Frenchie.


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