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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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Comments

Though it'd be unlikely to gain any nods, I'd have liked to have seen some recognition for Anton Corbijn's 'Control'. It may have only had a limited release, but the film was outstanding. Recent Golden Globe winner Samantha Morton's performance in particular stood out as the young wife trying to keep her family together in the face of all the odds seemingly stacked up against her.

Ulrich Muhe has got to be in there somewhere.

Keener is close to a lock for supporting--the actors are the largest branch, and they already nominated her for a SAG award.

Amalric will be nominated for best actor.

Into the Wild and Juno will both make the Best Picture cut, with The Diving Bell and Butterfly missing out. Only "Wild" and "No Country" have the SAG ensemble and DGA noms. Historically, this combination has heralded a best picture nomination.

Tom, like the analysis of the various catagories, but I think leaving out Amy Adams would be a disservice...she was wonderful and believable in an enjoyable fantasy! Don't know why an entertaining film can't be considered against so much sturm und drang!
Aren't movies supposed to be entertainment?

Adding to your likely nods:
Best picture
add "Into The Wild" or "Atonement"
Director, add Mr Lumet because he's never won -- amazingly -- after five tries (12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, & The Verdict) and Ridley Scott (also overdue an Oscar)
Actor: Hirsch; he's been doing several years of fine apprenticework, deserves a nod
Actress: I agree with you re Linney, the great WASP hope
Supp Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, esp after all the buzz he received for "Valley of Elah"
Supp Actress: the elder stateswomen Dee & Redgrave, although Tilda gets my vote.
Screenplay Adapted: "Zodiac" has been overlooked for most of the year.
Orig Screenplay: definitely "Knocked Up"; the Academy has shown soft spots for crowd-pleasing comedies like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" in the past

Isn't Mariane Pearl, bi-racial, as well as a lot shorter, than Angelina Jolie? Just asking!

I'm missing Max von Sydow, Keri Russell, Ulrich Muhe, Robert Downey, Jr. and Mathieu Amalric in the acting division.

Also, Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck, for Best Director. ("The Lives of Others")

Tom O'Neil, you're the biggest fanboy I've ever seen on any board. Two years ago you were all over "Brokeback Mountain", last year it was "Dreamgirls", this year "Sweeney Todd"... And always your favourites are losing ;)

Posted by: unknown | January 21, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Tom O'Neil, is that you?

Let's forget the Holie Jolie, she is a lousy actress and the movie tanked! The public has had enough of her royal fake! Other than that, Best actor Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett, Juno and Tim Burton!

RE: Travolta in Hairspray.

His performance was OK, but certainly not great. The biggest problem with his performance was the Baltimore dialect that he chose to speak with. It wasn't consistent and NOBODY else in the movie spoke with any regionalism, so, he sounded like he was in another movie (or, throwing Oscar bait hoping for a catch).

Juno was doing huge box office right when ballots were due. It'll get that push due to peak in popularity.

As for Into the Wild, this will be the Picture/Director split. Oscar loves the "hip" comedy, so Juno gets the Pic nod... but its shit out of luck in Directing. That open Director slot will be Sean Penn.

We've seen this before --- Tim Robbins for Dead Man Walking, but no Picture nomination.

Mr. O'Neil, every year there tends to be a "What the...?" nomination (i.e. Alan Alda for "Best Supporting Actor!) Who or what do you think could be that for this year?

I believe American Ganster won't be an Best Film nominee because of last year's The Departed. Back-to-back ganster movie might be a bit too much. Plus the other top contenders No Country... happens to be another violent movie. Personally I like to see Into the Wild be the 5th nominee because of the up lifting message it carried.

A few months ago I really thought that Travolta would be nominated. I perceive that he is well-liked and that he's "due". I'm surprised that he's not being mentioned more for what was really a risky role that he pulled off - he was great!

Did you say "Charlie Wilson's War" was slammed by film critics? It's got a respectable 69 on Metacritic and 82% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. It's not the most admired film in the derby, but doesn't qualify as critically drubbed.

That was the point I was making. You mention Sacha Baron Cohen who has recieved a total of 0 awards or nominations yet you fail to mention Amy Adams or Nikki Blonnsky who have had nominations.

John ... john ... john ... good spelling catch.

AJ, I don't know what you're referring to. I never listed Blonsky or Adams in this post

Tom, Tom, Tom...Beatrice "Strait"?

Cohen has a chance in Supporting Actor but Adams and to a (much) lesser degree Blonsky don't have a chance for Lead Actress. Surely you jest!


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