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June 25, 2008

Oscar's baaaack!


Gluttons for punishment that we are, we and many of our awards blogger brethren started ruminating on Oscars '09 moments after Oscars '08 were doled out in late February.

Can the Coen brothers go back-to-back? Leo and Kate -- reunited for gold? Big Biopic for Benicio!

Never mind that we hadn't seen any of the movies yet.


Here we are a couple months and many non-awards contenders later, and Gregg Kilday says that this Friday, with the release of "Wall-E," the Oscar race is unofficially on. The Disney/Pixar release is a lock in animation and maybe even best film categories.

Since we try not to take too many wild stabs (not this early in the season anyway), we'll give you our perspective on hotly anticipated/potential Oscar bait. There's always the danger of early overhype (evidence: "The Kite Runner," "Dreamgirls") so at the risk of putting the whammy on these movies by even daring to single them out, here are some initial thoughts, in shorthand:

Joel and Ethan Coen, a slew of A-list talent like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand get together for "Burn After Reading." Expectations are high, but the Academy rarely goes for comedy in the best picture race. Doesn't mean some of the performances couldn't break through.


Steven Soderbergh's "Che" had Oscar buzz until people had to actually sit through its four-plus-hours at Cannes. Now, it's all about Benicio Del Toro, not at all about the marathon movie. But all prospects are up in the air since it doesn't even have distribution yet.

"Blindness" -- could it spell a win, finally, for Julianne Moore? "Australia" -- Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. Sweeping vistas. Epic struggles. WW II! "The Duchess" -- Oscar loves powdered wigs (on men) and hoop skirts (on Keira Knightley). "Revolutionary Road" puts Leonardo DiCaprio back with Kate Winslet for the first time since "Titanic." "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" -- Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. "Doubt," Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep.

Heath Ledger for "Dark Knight?" Probably not.

"Changeling," from Oscar fave Clint Eastwood, starring Oscar darling Angelina Jolie. Way hot.

This is just the beginning, and we have plenty of time. Come on back to see us muse until we can't muse no more.



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I strongly believe (and hope) that Sarah Jessica Parker should be nominated for Sex and The City. There are two powerful scenes in the movie that are so moving and so oscar worthy (the limo street scene and the valentines dinner scene) that perhaps if it was from another movie it would be a shoo in. I think she is well liked in hollywood. Julia roberts got nominated for pretty woman and Parker's role is more dramatic. I just hope that the Academy considers it -- it is one of the best female performances of the year.

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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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