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FINAL BUZZMETER PREDIX: Ruby comes out swinging

February 22, 2008 |  3:46 pm

The 15th and final incarnation of the Oscar buzzmeter promises some surprising results on Sunday night. What began at the end of last October with 26 pundits predicting the top eight races has grown to 32 panelists, many of whom offer their thoughts on all 24 Oscar categories. Some skip a few categories here and there (the hardest ones, of course — cowards!).

To see a category-per-category a roundup report, READ THIS.

To view the Buzzmeter, CLICK HERE, then click on various links marked "Individual Panelist's Rankings" in different boxes to see a grid breaking down predix per pundit. Not every link leads to every category, so you have to move around a bit and, beware: there's a temporary tech glitch if you view sections on a PC using Internet Explorer. We'll solve that soon, but, meantime, if the pundits' names are obscured from view, try switching to using a different browser like Firefox or Netscape.


As is often the case, the fall front-runner stumbled coming out of the gate. In our first buzzmeter, 14 of the pundits picked "Atonement" to win best picture while only 3 had "No Country for Old Men" in first place. Now, all but 3 of us see "No Country" taking the top prize.

And while the Coen boys began the derby tied with "Atonement" helmer Joe Wright with eight votes apiece, the directors of "No Country" now have the backing of everyone on the panel with the exception of Sam Rubin, who thinks that "Juno's" Jason Reitman can pull off a shockeroo.

The category with the most conflicting views is supporting actress race, of course — that hotbed of upsets, historically. Cate Blanchett ("I'm Not There") started out the race as the clear front-runner with 22 of us predicting she would win her second Oscar. Ruby Dee did not even register for her small role in "American Gangster." But her memorable few moments in the movie and her recent SAG win now put her in the lead among our pundits: 12 out of 31 voting. Blanchett comes in second place with 8, Tilda Swinton gets 6 and Amy Ryan 5.



Javier Bardem began the supporting actor race with only 10 of us picking him to win for his work in "No Country," with the rest divided among Hal Holbrook ("Into the Wild), Casey Affleck ("The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"), Tom Wilkinson ("Michael Clayton"), and non-nominee Tommy Lee Jones ("No Country"). Now, Bardem looks like an absolute lock. Out of all of our pundits, only Sam Rubin and Carrie Rickey opt for Holbrook.

When we first started, only 9 pundits predicted Daniel Day-Lewis to win (I was hoping for Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd"); now everyone but me is behind Day-Lewis. I will riff on my daredevil Clooney prediction further in a separate post.

In the fall, "La Vie en Rose" star Marion Cotillard was the favorite of half of the pundits while Julie Christie ("Away From Her") had only seven backers. All of that support for Cotillard has disappeared and all but three of the panel now predict Christie will win her second Oscar. While none of the three holdouts — Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Peter Howell (Toronto Star) and myself — had Cotillard to win last October, we now think that she can pull off an upset.

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And there's a reason why it's hard/unlikely for someone to win two Oscars 42 years apart. I thought Christie had it despite internet buzz (I haven't let that convince me that Swinton - or Blanchett - are winning), but truth be told, she only has some more critics awards (like Imelda Staunton vs. Hilary Swank, though, yes, in a Best Picture) and old-Hollywood support. The SAG usually goes for the as-of-yet unacknowledged legendary star over the most challenging performance (though you'd think a bunch of out-of-work actors would admire the Marion Cotillards over the Julie Christies of the industry).

Great call, Scott! I have made a last-minute change of heart to Marion Cotillard, partly because I don't want to stick with the old vote and miss out on correctly predicting Marion Cotillard to follow in the footsteps of Adrien Brody, Helen Hunt, and others. Even if those other winners were in more successful films, clearly La Vie en Rose has broad-based support since it earned nominations for makeup and costumes. And the BAFTAs DO make a difference often. Not only was Marion delighted and surprised, but everyone in the audience looked like they thought she deserved it, and even the beautiful Julie Christie, who has had a great career yet is not necessarily worthy of a second lead Oscar right now, seemed to think so.

Plus, what are the chances that both Julie and Ruby, two older women, win? Chances are that in a category that is all over the place, they'll go with the icon who has yet to be rewarded.

When Academy members cast their votes, I wonder whether they would be thinking about whether it was fair and right to give a second Oscar to both the lead actor (Day-Lewis) and lead actress (Christie) in the same year. I think the voters like to share Oscars around and not do repeats too often, certainly not in the same year.

Only once in Oscar history have BOTH the lead actor and lead actress winners been previous lead actor and lead actress winners. In 1938, Spencer Tracey won his second Oscar, for Boy's Town (after Captains Courageous), and Bette Davis won her second Oscar for Jezebel (after Dangerous). This has never happened since.

1973 and 1994 came close. In 1973, Glenda Jackson won her second lead actress Oscar for A Touch of Class (after Women in Love), and Jack Lemmon won lead actor for Save the Tiger, having won supporting actor for Mr. Roberts. And in 1994, Tom Hanks won his second lead actor Oscar for Forrest Gump (after Philadelphia) and Jessica Lange won lead actor for Blue Sky after having won supporting actress for Tootsie.

I persist in thinking Christie is not gonna win, for the same reason she lost in 1997 when she appeared in "Afterglow", another small indie movie, for which she won critics's awards, and was thought to be a strong candidate to win the Oscar. But she lost to the babe, Helen Hunt. Christie is gonna lose to the babe, Marion Cotillard. The difference being, at least Cotillard deserves it, but Helen Hunt????

Oh for a return to the days when the supporting categories recognized the achievements of up and comers and veteran character actors, rather than what we have now with A-listers getting parked in that category; throwing off the chances of legitimate featured actors with, yes, small roles for which the category was created in 1936. In today's logic we would have seen Anne Baxter in the support race for All About Eve (something she had the presence of mind to protest even if it could have landed her a second Oscar) and Richard Burton there for Becket, Shirley McLaine for The Turning Point. A movie CAN have two leading roles, or even three, which is what No Country really has.

were is cotillard in this site??? its all about christie.

I will truly be outraged if Ruby Dee wins best supporting as it will be further proof that the academy does not even look at the performances. She is barely in American Gangster for 5 minutes and her so called oscar scene showdown would not even merit a daytime emmy nomination. Almost the same could be said about Amy Ryan but at least she has at least a little bigger role and without her performance you would not be so conflicted at the end.

I live in Canada, and I picked up a copy of the Toronto Star today. Pete Howell predicted Christie for the paper...

I would like to see Johnny Depp win the Oscar for best actor. If you think about it, Johnny Depp plays these complex and quirky roles. I could picture Mr. Depp playing a dramatic "heavy" and excelling. Can one picture George Cloony or Daniel Day Lewis play the roles Johnny Depp has played, and won Oscar nominations for them? Don't get me wrong, all three are talented actors, something about Depp that is a cut-above but won't get noticed becuase of the quirky characters he masterfully displays his acting abilities in.



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