Sunday, November 30, 2008

Today's Oscar Puzzle: Supporting Actor 2008

Your assignment: Look over my Supporting Actor prediction page. Return and answer me these questions 7:
  • Comedic Slot? Burn After Reading's dumb jock Brad Pitt or Tropic Thunder's offensively committed thespian Robert Downey Jr.? Or neither?
  • Australia's Brandon Walters? Will awards bodies see this as merely natural screen presence... or a true acting turn?
  • Milk. How much supporting actor traction could it possibly get. One (Josh Brolin) Two (James Franco) Three (Emile Hirsch)? Only three films have managed three nominees in this category. They were On the Waterfont and the first two Godfathers
  • Bill Irwin in Rachel Getting Married? True longshot possibility or merely Nathaniel's wishful thinking?
  • Critics Awards. Do they all go to Heath Ledger's way for The Dark Knight or do the Associations and Circles attempt to shore up support for a candidate who needs it more, Ledger being a done deal and all...
  • Category Fraud. Will they honor the FYC lines or laugh in the face of outrageous claims (i.e. The Reader has no lead, Father Flynn is a supporting role in Doubt)
  • Dev Patel in Slumdog. Personally I find the acting in this energetic film merely adequate. Will strong love for the movie convince voters otherwise?


James Colon said...

1) In a perfect world, they'd both get consideration, seeing as they are both the main comedy source for their respective films. If forced to pick which is more likely for an Oscar nomination, I'd go with Downey Jr., if only because TROPIC THUNDER is the better film, but also it has the publicity of being a bit controversial. Plus, it's the funnier of the two.

2) Having not yet seen AUSTRAILIA, can't really judge, but it seems to me that his chances toward awards season are slim.

3) It really is a tough call with MILK, because all those supporting roles are so good. Hirsch, in my opinion, was the best; Franco the most 'actor-ly' in the Academy sense of the word; but Brolin plays the guy who has the meltdown. I don't think they'll all get nominated--I think they'll stick with Brolin almost as a blanket nom for all of them.

4) Probably just wishful thinking (though it's also part of my wishful thinking, too. HE WAS AMAZING!)

5) I think Heath's nomination is a lock, but I'm not sold on the win as much as everyone else. The critics awards will sway in the way of Brolin and Michael Shannon, I feel. But like I said, Ledger's Oscar nom is still locked up.

6) It can be worse than 2002 when Catherine Zeta-Jones lost Best Actress at the Globes, and then WON best supporting actress at the Oscars. Point being, category fraud is part of the game.

7) Again, living in Orlando, this is yet another film I've yet to see, but I think going against all of the true Hollywood stars will prevent Patel from a nomination.

alex said...

I don't see either Pitt or RDJ getting in, but that could just be wishful thinking on my part. Both fun turns, but I'm pulling for Bill Irwin, Dev Patel or Brandon Walters to squeak in there.

Anonymous said...

1. Neither. Burn After Reading will be seen as too lightweight, and Tropic Thunder will be seen as too bad for any major awards traction. If a film is bad, it needs bait, and I don't think Downey Jr's year is enough.

2. I think awards bodies will ignore Brandon Walter, so presence but not talent.

3. Who knows? The thinking I've had, and that's been echoed elsewhere, is that Brolin's two year run (American Gangster, No Country for Old Men, Grindhouse, W., Milk) needs to be rewarded with an oscar nomination, and W. is clearly not gonna do it. But none of the reviews have singled him out. From what I can tell, the reviews are all about Sean Penn first, second and third, which makes it difficult. That said, when it's your year, that can be enough (see George Clooney and Syriana, despite no one feeling he was the standout). So I'm comfortable predicting Brolin. Hirsch and Franco? Don't know - the latter's had the more noteworthy career (James Dean, Spiderman films, Freaks and Geeks), but I don't know if I see it happening. The three films Nathaniel mentioned ended up being the best picture winners, and I don't know if Milk will be one.

4. Bill Irwin? True possibility, and I'd drop the longshot. Right now, I think he could actually win. He's got a very respectable career, stage and screen. He's worked with a lot of people, seems very well liked, has a sympathetic role that for many (including myself) is the way in. I'd say he gets at least one major critics award and goes from there. Or maybe he's Bill Murray from Rushmore, which would suckity suck suck.

5. Critics awards go elsewhere. LA goes to Ledger. New York to Irwin or Shannon. Shannon wins a great degree of the minor critics awards, thus shoring up his tally.

6. Category fraud? Winslet will only get one nod, and it'll be for RR. They won't mind shoving Hoffman in support.

7. Dev Patel won't be nominated, but he'll be invited to present. Or at least he should be.

Anonymous said...

1. id love to see both, and tho im a brad fanatic, i feel that the academy will view ben button as his chance at recognition, as the entertainer of the year does not have an oscar movie, but gave an oscar performance. RDJ

2.havent seen australia yet, but i dont see this happening

3. i think hirsch is probably out because there simply is not enough room for a triple nom. weve been looking at this race as totally open for a while now but if you look at it, there are 4 actors who look pretty solid right now (your 4). i think brolin gets in and franco gets jerked around all season, ultimately not making the cut.

4. watch for him at the indie spirits

5. i think heath pulls in the vast majority of critics awards

6. category fraud has never bothered them, nor will it now. the reader feeld a little rocky again and i dont see feinnes in, but PSH feels pretty good right now

7. definately possible. this movie has a lot of love behind it

Anonymous said...

1) Neither RDJ or Pitt
2) No to Brandon Walters
3) Brolin and Franco
4) No to Bill Irwin, unfortunately
5) Not all awards go to Heath. Some to Shannon.
6) They'll be fine with PSH in supporting. I still think Scheen will be put in supporting for Frost/Nixon.
7) Dev won't get in.

Hayden said...

Didja see the Satelite noms?

John T said...

1. I think that they both get snubbed-even in this year with no competition, Downey, Jr. won't be able to muster it-though he'll get a GG nod.

2. He'll be ignored-Freddie Highmore couldn't get one in a similar sort of featured role in 2004, and that was in a Best Picture race.

3. I think they give it to Brolin-he's "due," and gets to go off the deep end. It'd be awesome if all three scored, though.

4. Bill Irwin will be ignored-the Academy will see this film as being about the women.

5. Shannon takes one big one, but otherwise Ledger sweeps.

6. Fiennes will be snubbed, Hoffman gets in based on the weakness of the category.

7. Patel will be forgotten-Slumdog is this year's Full Monty.

Anonymous said...

1) I can see Brad Pitt nominated for "Burn After Reading", but only if Benjamin Button will be big enough to make Academy Members want to reward him. And as someone who doesn't really like his work, I was pleasantly surprised by this performance. I had no idea he could do comedy. Robert Downey Jr -maybe next time; "The Soloist" is coming; I'd say "Tropic Thunder" might get a spot as "annual dumb Oscar nominee" in make-up category for painting Downey Jr black.
2) I can't imagine "Australia" getting any acting nominations
3) I think Josh Brolin is in with Emile Hirsch (who would get some votes from people who loved him in "Into the Wild") and James Franco (who would get some votes because he's everywhere talking about fake dicks) cancelling each other out.
4) Wishful thinking...
5) I'll be surprised if most critics go with Heath Ledger. But he can obviously get nominated and win without any critics' award.
6) They would have bought even Daniel Day-Lewis in supporting for "There Will Be Blood". Back in 2006 BAFTAs claimed that Anne Hathaway was supporting in "The Devil Wears Prada".
7) I don't think it's possible but Keisha Castle-Hughes managed a nom in 2004 so who knows. However, Dev Patel is not a little girl.

I'd say:
1. Heath Ledger (LOCK)
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman (LOCK)
3. Michael Shannon (VERY POSSIBLE)
4. Josh Brolin (VERY POSSIBLE)
5. Brad Pitt (POSSIBLE)
With James Franco, Robert Downey Jr and Emile Hirsch queuing for Brad Pitt's spot.

Slayton said...

I think Heath Ledger will win the Globe and the SAG and the BFCA, but not the critics prizes (barring NBR, probably). I think the major candidates for the critics awards are:

Michael Shannon
Eddie Marsan
Josh Brolin
Bill Irwin

James Franco
Jason Butler Harner
Robert Downey, Jr.

I doubt Irwin will get an Oscar nom even though I think he has a good chance at Critics recognition - Debra Winger's bound to win either LAFCA or NYFCC, too.

Bernardo said...

Even if I'd love to see Brad Pitt nominated, I don't think it's happening.

Looks like:
- Ledger
- Hoffman
- Brolin
- Fiennes
- Shannon

Alt. Patel, Franco, Kross

Ryan said...

1.) CURIOUS CASE will obviously help Pitt along w/ the lovability of Chad’s character. But currently I’m thinking Downey Jr.’s comeback factor + IRON MAN + TROPIC THUNDER’s lampooning of the industry scores him a nom.

2.) Its the Kidman and Jackman show all the way.

3.) I think the SAG noms will help settle this dilemma. Brolin has NO COUNRTY and W. goodwill plus being older will help. But I’m betting Franco scores a SAG nom and they both end up on Oscar’s shortlist.

4.) Wishful thinking would be my guess. Personally, I’m rooting for Winger.

5.) Ledger has the Oscar all sewn up. Period. And if there’s any justice in the world the critics will rally behind him- although Shannon may steal a few here and there. *I’m dying to see who the NYFCC picks!!!!

6.) Unfortunately, Hoffman may be inevitable here. Sigh. As for THE READER- fuck me sideways… I’m clueless.

7.) Since I think Fox Searchlight’s WRESTLER will ultimately excite the Academy more, I don’t see Patel making it in— although a SAG nom would help his chances.

Anonymous said...

I actually think this race is pretty locked up (Ledger, Shannon, Hoffman, Brolin) with the 5th spot being a three-way race between Franco, Downey Jr and Patel…

… that is unless MICHAEL SHEEN goes supporting and then all bets are off.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I'm totally with Arkaan on #4. Irwin seems totally in the mix to me, and he's a strong contender for the NYFCC prize.

Rob said...

1) I think Pitt and Downey are both possible, Downey moreso, but it depends which one gets awards traction as the season goes on. My money's on a GG nom for Pitt.

2) Methinks no nom for Walters.

3) I think Brolin is MILK's only chance for supporting contention. Franco's role isn't awards-y at all, and Hirsch is a possibility I guess, people seem to be getting charmed by him.

4) I've heard noone mention Irwin, so I'd doubt he has a shot.

5) I still think Heath is a lock to win. The Academy likes to do these 'we all acknowledge we're going to do this nice, honorable thing' decisions.

6) Winslet IS supporting in "The Reader" and she won't be nominated for it. Hoffman in supporting is pushing it, but it's straddling the line; the film/play is really dominated by Sister Aloyisius.

7) Dev Patel won't be nominated, because it's just too static a performance. He's charming and all that, but he's mostly a vacant face.

Anonymous said...

1) I don't think so, maybe a few considerations. Downey jr. nominated at BFCA and Pitt at GG: That's all

2) Australia is now walking the line... if Revolutionary Road and The Curious Case of B.B. gets good reviews, Australia is out and like johnny said, if they didn't nominated Freddy highmore for "Finding Neverland", when that was a BP nominee and he was a SAG Nominee... Plus: Next year's Koby Smit-McPhee.

3) Interesting point, two spots are very posible but three is not crazyness after all, if Milk is BELOVED at AMPAS. Brolin and Franco are in the top five but Hirsch is close enough for: Into the Wild love + Young American star + Best Picture Lineup

4) Maybe a few nomination and reference at SAGs, but Bill Irwin is out, RGM is a women's film

5) Without a doubt Ledger is a LOCK for nomination and strong posibilities for winnng, maybe one of Milk's guys and especially Michael Shannon could fight hardly, but Ledger will win GG, SAG, BFCA, NBR and NYFCC/LAFCA (He won NYFCC in 2005, but not both)

6) Maybe is me but I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is not a LOCK after all. He could be snubbed in benefict for another actor... Maybe another time Ralph Fiennes.

7) If the British vote at AMPAS is important, maybe Patel could get an Oscar nomination esecially if Slumdog millionaire is a Fox hit...

Anonymous said...

Sorry my lineup:

1. Heath Ledger: LOCK
2. Michael Shannon: LOCK
3. Josh Brolin: SOLID BET
4. James Franco: SOLID BET
5. Phillip Seymour Hoffman: LIKELY


6. Dev Patel: LIKELY
7. Emile Hirsch: LIKELY

(The fifth spot is between Hoffman, Patel and Hirsch)

8. Liev Schreiber: LONG SHOT
9. Robert Downey Jr.: LONG SHOT
10. Brad Pitt: LONG SHOT

Murtada said...

1. Neither. I don't think there's room this year. But if one sneaks in it'll be Downey because of Iron Man.

2.Haven't seen Australia, but there does not seem to be any love out there for the movie. So no dice.

3. Probably only Brolin will get nominated. He was great. However for me Franco was the performance that grounded the movie. More because of his warmth and beauty though.

4. I hope Bill Irwin gets a nomination. Loved his and Winger's characters more than the leads.

5.Def a lock, strong possibility for a win.

7. You are right, the performances in this movie are the weakest link. A la full monty, maybe best pic but no actors love.

Sally Belle said...

I'm not down for RDJ or Pitt.
BUt, I do think the category is, anything is possible.

My picks are
Jamie Bell
Heath Ledger
and Hoffman

I know Jamie Bell is a long shot, and I would also like to wishful think Bill Irwin into this category, because he was brilliant.

HIrsch, I think, is a bit of an ass, and hasn't really showed me he deserves an Oscar nom yet. Bell, on the other hand, was snubbed for Billy Elliot, and has consistently been, one of these days, I want to see him getting a nom. Plus, he's a great kid and well liked.

If there are two noms for Milk, Brolin is the other one.

I'm sticking with these for at least until I see DEFIANCE.

Anonymous said...

my top 5

downey jnr

Kurtis O said...

1. While I enjoyed Brad Pitt's "BAR" perf. more than any of his recent work, it ain't no Oscar material. Downey Jr., on the other hand, was killer -- I'd love to see him get in.
2. For me, Brandon Walters went from being cute to a redundant ploy for aw-shucks audience admiration. If one kid should get in, I'd give the edge to Asa Butterfield in "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas."
3. I'm hoping Brolin gets the spot. He's been making such prestigious choices lately -- in two years, he's built a resume that most actors pursue their entire careers. He was great in "Milk" and he deserves it.
4. I enjoyed Bill Irwin, but he surely wasn't the standout. I'd guess he'll have to settle for some ensemble trophies.
5. I say they all pile on the accolades with perhaps the occasional exception...and more power to 'em. Is there, or will there be, a supporting male this year that even comes close to what he achieved? Doubtful.
6. I don't really know how to answer this, but I will say that I sure do hope they push Kate for supporting in "The Reader" (if they haven't already). More than anything this year, I want to see Winslet up for two awards...and winning one of them.
7. I think he's got a good shot -- the film's SO easy to love. While I agree with your 'adequacy' comment, I was rather impressed with his focus and naturalism -- not bad for a relative newcomer. But on the subject of category fraud, despite the large flashback chunk, is this not a leading role?

Anonymous said...

The Supporting Actor race is certainly the most puzzling and vague

1) No for both of those candidates. Pitt's lack of screen time and overall lightweight performance won't give him any awards traction (By the way, did anyone else think John Malkovich was the best one in that film? I'd probably nominate him for Supporting Actor for the sheer hilarity of his performance). Downey Jr. is a little more likely, but the film dosen't seem likely to get attention.

2) No. Because of the reviews, I think the film won't make any impact on the major 8 categories.

3) I think Brolin will get in, because of his surely affecting performance (I have yet to see the film, but reviews of Brolin seem positive), as well as No Country goodwill, and possibly W. goodwill, if anyone was impressed with his performance. I wouldn't be surprised to see Franco get in, but I don't think the film will have enough power to get 3 acting nominations in one category.

4) Sadly, it probably is just wishful thinking, unless critics organizations love the film and give him an award or two. Then he could become a contender

5) I think critics might spread the wealth around, but the majority will probably go to Heath.

6) Category Fraud will be honored, as it always has been.

7) Patel's in my top 5 currently. I think love for Slumdog Millionaire could be a stable force that breaks through this vague, uncertain category.

Anonymous said...

Being a Man's film didn't hurt Kim Basinger for winning for LA Confidential.

That said, hearing a majority of the people say wishful thinking makes me wonder if I rationalized my wishful thinking, but I really do think he's a solid contender.

Co said...

1) None, although Downey Jr. may get Globe and SAG nominations, I think Oscar won't follow.

2) I don't tink he'll get any attention.

3) I think 'Milk' will do two (most probably Brolin and Franco). Three us just too much.

4) Wishful thinking

5) I think they will all go for Heath. (I would).

6) I think Philip Seymour Hoffman will go away with it. The Reader having no lead seems like a big issue to me. Don't know what to say about that.

7) I don't really know. Haven't watch the film yet.

Anonymous said...

"Being a Man's film didn't hurt Kim Basinger for winning for LA Confidential."

But Arkaan, If I remember, Kim's character drives part of the story and she's one of the four "co-leads" (With Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey).

I saw the film and Bill Irwin is fantastic in Rachel getting Married, but I'm sorry, the story is about Kim (Anne Hathaway) and Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) not about Paul (Bill Irwin). His character is in second degree instead hathaway and DeWitt

par3182 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

1) I think neither of them will make it, but if I had to choose, I'd pick Pitt. I found Tropic Thunder quite deceiving (= not laughing) on the whole. And Pitt was a nice surprise in BAR.

6) Categories fraud. This is the first time I watch the awards season from the very beginning and I'm about to quit ;) How can they be so restrictive with other categories such as Foreign Language Film, Score, etc and so lax in supporting/lead actors categories? Ah, most voters are actors... oh, well.

As for the rest of the assignment, as an overseas reader that will see most of these movies some time in (probably) 2009, I think I got the perfect excuse not to fulfill it.


par3182 said...

1) downey or pitt? neither
2) walters - no
3) brolin - yes, franco - yes if he picks up some critics prizes for both 'milk' and 'the pineapple express'
4) irwin - wishful thinking (but possibly nyfcc award)
5) televised awards go to heath, press to a wide range of others
6) category fraud is an established ploy nowadays
7) dev - no

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't think Basinger really drives LA Confidential on the level as Spacey, Crowe and Pearce. Maybe on the same level as Cromwell and DeVito.

My point was more that the only female/male presence in a predominantly male/female film can actually be boosted because of it - they're more like to stand out. It doesn't always work, as Connie Nielsen, Kelly MacDonald, Maria Bello etc, but I don't think we can rule Irwin out specifically because it's predominantly a women's film.

But again, I think he's my favourite supporting actor of the year.


it's interesting to me that people disagree so much on MILK's supporting players ~ which is why i wonder if we'll get two.

but on the IRWIN thing... i do agree that being the man in a women's films doesn't have the same awards pull as being the "girl" in the man's film. Not sure why that is but I think it is. sadly.

NicksFlickPicks said...

It was a different time, but: George Sanders in All About Eve?

It was a quadrangled film, but it tilted toward the women: Jim Broadbent in Iris?

In a category this amorphous, critics awards could really matter. If Irwin wins even one, stuff could move around. There's no way that so many people on this board are into the performance and no one in AMPAS is even noticing, or is positively immune to noticing if traction starts to build. Viz. Marcia Gay Harden, Amy Ryan, William Hurt, etc.

gabrieloak said...

Re: Milk--I think only Brolin will get a supporting actor nomination. Franco and Hirsch, both fine, just don't have showy enough roles or one big scene.

I think the kid in Australia deserves to be nominated but he will probably be overlooked.

Billy D said...

I wasn't impressed with Brolin or Franco in Milk, although I thought Franco actually fared better. Hirsch gave a touching, stirring, and funny performance and played off Penn masterfully. God I wish he would get nominated over Seymour Hoffman.


nick -- good point about the amorphous = anything goes. But I suspect that the critics will all want to hop on the Heath bandwagon. Just so's they can say they did, you know?

Anonymous said...

I think Emile Hirsch is this year's Romola Garai. Many people seem to think he's the best thing about Milk, but for some reason, the traction doesn't seem to be there. (That logic would indicate that James Franco is this year's Vanessa Redgrave. Odd analogy.)
As for Bill Irwin, I think he has a shot if the awards bodies unite behind him, but they'll probably choose Michael Shannon. Last year they solidified the Casey Affleck nomination when Javier Bardem was the clear Oscar favorite and I think they'll push someone other than Heath Ledger. They don't owe him the way the Academy does as many of them awarded him for Brokeback.

Chris Na Taraja said...

Sean D I agree, John Malkovich was the best thing in Burn, and one of his funniest best roles. I'll be surprised if he is over looked. At least in the comedy section of the golden globes.

Brolin and Franco and Hirsch, OH my. all three of them deserve nominations for this. Although Hirsch did a great job, it's probably more likely to see Brolin or Franco get this spot.

Anonymous said...

1) I think rdj has a strong chance to get nominated. pitt was strong, but i think has almost no chance (i would have voted for malkovich over him). i think downey's performance was by far one of the best of the year. that said, it would be an extraordinary recognition for such an offensive film.
2)nope. havent seen it, but HIGHLY doubt it.
3) i think brolin is a solid bet, but the other two are unlikely. havent seen this either, but dont think the others will make it.
4)i think he is a possibility, but definitely not very likely.
5)i echo what others said, i could see shannon, brolin, and other possibilities scoring some.
6)i think they will for the most part
7)i completely agree with you. nothing superior, by no means a stunning breakthrough, and this seems like category fraud that does not need to be recognized anyways (as hoffman may)

to pick five in order:

heath ledger
michael shannon
phillip seymor hoffman
josh brolin
robert downey jr.

i think the last one or two , maybe maybe three are in danger of getting replaced. the people i see coming to fill those spots, in order, are.

ralph fiennes (the reader)
james franco
liev schreiber
bill irwin
dev patel

ps. i really hope that eddie marson reenters this race. hopefully he wins some precursors because i think he is very deserving but underbuzzed right now.

Anonymous said...

1) Robert Downey jr...Robert Downey jr...Robert Downey's time for a second nomination! and what a better occasion than rewarding him in the year of his greatest success (IRON MAN...a cool prof per se...but I think we must wait Saturn Awards or Mtv movie awards for this one...)?

2) can't say about Walker...the category seems very crowded

3) three contenders seem too much...but two is still possible: the Academy could reward Brolin for these awesome two years (in this case overlooking him in W. without problems) and Franco for his star-turn (sort of) as the long suffering companion...

4) at this point even Hathaway is not a lock...

5) I think Ledger's perf is going to be very awarded...and rightly so IMHO...

6) Academy is quite polite with Fraud Category: sometimes they are punished (Watts, Johansson...), sometimes they are accepted (Hutton, Hudson, Blanchett...), and sometimes Academy does the right thing (Keisha Castle-Hughes campaigned as supporting but nominated as leading)...Father Flynn will stay among the supporters, but I'm confident THE READER will have some leading...

7) Whatever you can think about Patel's perf...he's the leading man in doubt about it!!!


Anonymous said...

1. Neither. I think that both Pitt and Downey Jr. will come off as too lightweight in a category like this one with all the drama contenders.

2. Nothing for Brandon Walters except some breakthrough citations maybe and the Critic's Choice award for Young Male Actor.

3. I don't think "Milk" will manage all three nods for Brolin, Franco, and Hirsch. Brolin first b/c of the combo of "W" and "Milk" this year plus "No Country for Old Men", "Elah", and the Tarentino ones. It's his "time." Then Emile Hirsch, but voters might not dig him after snubbing him for "Into the Wild", and he had that "Speed Racer" flop this year. Then James Franco last. He's inching toward a nod eventually, and "Pineapple Express" gave him some good exposure along wth the "Spider-Man" films. 1 nod for Brolin.

4. Yes for Bill Irwin! Veteran vote in full effect. I don't see him as a longshot at all but always in my final five.

5. Yeah, the critics will "validate" Heath Ledger's road to Oscar. I see him sweeping NYFCC/LAFCA/NSFC, Globes, SAG, BAFTA, and then Oscar. I don't think there's a strong enough or popular enough candidate around to topple him, and even critics won't be immune to this story.

6. They'll go along with the studio campaigns like they almost always do. They'll love to nominate PSH in supporting for "Doubt", and I've thought that Kate's getting double nods for months now, so no need to stop thinking that now.

7. Dev Patel has a solid shot in supporting. If they love "Slumdog Millionaire", the "Milk" guys disappoint, and Michael Sheen isn't campaigned in supporting, they'll have to nominate somebody. Why not someone new and foreign?

That was fun! More please!

Neb said...

The thing that I think is really interesting in this entire Oscar race is the parallels to 2001.

1) The "It" couple of the time was Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise who had just divorced. Everyone was thinking Cruise (for Vanilla Sky) and Kidman (Moulin Rouge! and The Others) could get nominations. One ended up with a bomb and no nominations, while the other got a big nomination and acclaim for both. That is flipped around this year with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

2) Independent film sensations that come out of nowhere take over come awards time. (In the Bedroom/Slumdog Millionaire)

3) Everyone has high hopes for a biopic/Ron Howard movie.

4) Both years have mega-blockbusters that are trying to break the mold and get a Best Picture nomination.

5) Baz Luhrmann is involved

6) Sean Penn, Marisa Tomei and Kate Winslet are all competing for acting prizes.

7) French movies are getting huge buzz like few French movies do

There might be some more stuff, but those were just off the top of my head.