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Can Clint Eastwood really win best actor? (Uh-oh! Wait! He's got to get nominated first)

December 29, 2008 |  4:10 pm

Michael Musto of the Village Voice isn't the only guru who believes that Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino") will win best actor at the Oscars. Snooping through The Envelope's Buzzmeter, I see that Anne Thompson of Variety, Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com and Kris Tapley of InContention.com agree. Thelma Adams of Us Weekly ranks Clint second behind Sean Penn ("Milk").

Hmmmm. Most other pundits rank Clint Eastwood low — down in the fourth position (Sasha Stone of AwardsDaily.com, Lou Lumenick of the New York Post and Ed Douglas of Comingsoon.net) or fifth place (Pete Hammond, Scott Feinberg, Mark Olsen and Patrick Kevin Day of The Envelope, Anthony Breznican of USA Today and Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today.

Clint_eastwood_gran_torino2

Personally, I'm not confident about what to think. Right now I've got Clint dangling dubiously in my fifth slot, but I'm tempted to boot him for Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor"), who got a SAG nomination. Clint got snubbed by SAG and the Golden Globes. Yikes — that's serious!

However, looking back over the past three years — 60 Oscar noms for acting in lead and supporting — three contenders did manage to break into the academy derby after being similarly skunked earlier: Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah," 2007), Laura Linney ("The Savages," 2007) and William Hurt ("History of Violence," 2005). Please note: none of them won.

Clint's never received solo acting nominations at the Golden Globes or SAG, come to think of it, but he nonetheless got nominated twice at the Oscars for acting in best-picture nominees "Unforgiven" (1992) and Million Dollar Baby" (2004). So perhaps those snubs are meaningless again this time.

Maybe Clint is cursed just like all of those other actors who won for directing, like Robert Redford ("Ordinary People," 1980), Warren Beatty ("Reds," 1981), Kevin Costner ("Dances with Wolves," 1990), Mel Gibson ("Braveheart," 1995) — even John Huston ("Treasure of the Sierra Madre," 1948), Woody Allen ("Annie Hall," 1977), Richard Attenborough ("Gandhi," 1982) and Syndey Pollack ("Out of Africa," 1985). No actor who's won an Oscar for directing has ever prevailed in a performance category.

Sure, Clint is that rare, enduring superstar who's proved to be a Super Man in many showbiz fields — and "Gran Torino" may be special too. Clint insists that it's his last acting role. Is that enough to get him nominated? And get him a breakthrough, historic win? Currently, he holds four Oscar statuettes, two for directing and two for producing best picture champs "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby."

Yes, Clint won best actor from National Board of Review, but, come one, so did Campbell Scott ("Roger Dodger," 2002).

NOTE: An earlier version of this article noted that Clint Eastwood received a SAG Award nomination for "Million Dollar Baby." That's true, but only as a member of the film's ensemble acting team. He wasn't nominated by the guild for best actor. The details have been clarified above.

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Comments

I think Clint Eastwood should have been nominated for Gran Torino. Also, Nick Nolte is another who has never won the Best Actor Oscar. He should have won for "Afflication" I am done with the Oscars now

Marcia Gay Harden did win Oscar (for Pollock) without SAG & Golden Globes support and happens again for Mystic River. Unfortunately for MR she didn't win. So how Paul Giamatti snubbed for Sideways in 2004 Oscar race? Because Clint get in! So I think it might happen again this year. May left out Mickey Rourke or Richard Jenkins.

Lets face it Denzel Washington got nominated and won for "Training Day" so why not Eastwood in "Torino". Frank Langella is repeating a role he has played on stage over and over again for how long? Just how many takes does it take to get it right. Respect should have nothing to do with the choosing. Brad Pitt did a great job in "Buttons" , my favorite pic and deserves recognition especially after last year "Jesse James" snub and Penn deserves a nod for "Milk". I haven't seen "wrestler" or Dicaprio in his film so I leave two spot to fill later.

Marcia Gay Harden won Best Supporting Actress for Pollock without even been nominated for GG or SAG. She was mostly ignored by the critic awards too.

You can add Samantha Morton to that list of appearing at the last minute. Her In America nom came after no GG or SAG.

Eastwood has already got all the respect he needs. If anything Eastwood is one of those industry folk above need for the glitter of awards. He can pretty much do what movies he wants. Which I believe is all he cares about.

And frankly most awards are about Hollywood economics -- creating new big draw box office icons to replace those whose careers are at an end one way or another.

Hollywood is very much "...but what have you done for me lately?" and Clint Eastwood doesn't have many of those days left regardless of talent.

good catch, Conrado. Fixed now.

Hey Tom you say Clint was nominated at the SAG for Million Dollar Baby, which isn't true. That time he was nominated for the Oscar without having a previous Golden Globe or SAG nomination. Just like he could do this year.


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