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February 23, 2009

Rourke, Henson ruin Silver's Oscar picks

84983466 Skilled political numbers cruncher Nate Silver had a point by predicting Mickey Rourke would win the Oscar for best actor -- Hollywood does love a comeback kid and the rehabbed Rourke fits the bill in spades. That story just couldn't outshine post-Prop 8 guilt or Sean Penn's transformative performance in "Milk."

But Silver really went off the rails by saying Taraji P. Henson would take home the best supporting actress Little Gold Man for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." (He made four -- out of six -- correct picks, but most everybody did).

Today, he tries to explain himself -- caution: the words heuristics and rulesets are used -- and takes a potshot at Rourke in the process:

"In the best actor category, we might also have learned a thing or two last night. Namely, it probably doesn't help to be a huge jackass to all of your peers when those peers are responsible for deciding whether you receive a major, life-altering award."

He means pre-rehab.

Sounds like a load of sour grapes to us (and a failure to take into account the long awards campaign and Rourke's valiant battle in it). Maybe Silver should reprogram that computer or skip Oscar prognosticating. It seems to have gotten his logarithms all riled up.

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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