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November 04, 2008

Oscar predix: Jenkins sails, Kidman sinks


We'll be thrilled -- thrilled, ya hear? -- to give Richard Jenkins a hearty told-you-so if he ends up with an Oscar nomination for his performance as a grieving and repressed college professor who learns to let loose, make music and love again in "The Visitor."

Jenkins, Gold Rush Q&A victim and career character actor turned leading man in the fantastic indie flick, pops up this afternoon on six out of six pundit lists, including our own, at Gold Derby.


Yes, it's early and no, most people haven't seen all the Important Films to come in the next couple months, as the affable and modest Jenkins pointed out to us last week. But we've liked his chances for a while now, and he's likely to stay put on our best actor lineup.

He wasn't the only so-called dark horse to start picking up more critical support in the major awards race. Sally Hawkins, of Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky," found favor with five out of six prognosticators (including Gold Rush, Michael Musto of the Village Voice and Jeff Wells from Hollywood Elsewhere). We dumped Nicole Kidman off our list to make room for Hawkins (pictured above). It's more interesting this way. (The other prognosticators ignored her entirely).

On the best picture front, there seems to be waning interest in "Doubt," but we're still committed to it, and a surge for "Frost/Nixon." Interested to see the flocking to "The Dark Knight" and "Slumdog Millionaire" commence in earnest. We were already convinced.

Keep reading for the breakdown of our Premature Oscar Predictions.


For best picture, we've chosen "The Dark Knight," "Slumdog Millionaire," "Doubt," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Milk."

Best actor: Brad Pitt ("Benjamin Button"), Sean Penn ("Milk"), Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon"), Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") and Jenkins. Full disclosure -- we thought Robert Downey Jr. had a shot, but Paramount has moved "The Soloist" out of holiday and into next spring. So that made room for Jenkins.

Best actress: Meryl Streep ("Doubt"), Kate Winslet ("Revolutionary Road"), Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"), Kristin Scott Thomas ("I've Loved You So Long") and Hawkins.

Do come back to see how these lists may morph over time.


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Sabina E

wow, the Oscar 2009 season has a LOT of really good films (with Oscar potential, that is).

I want to see:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
the Dark Knight (already seen it)
Revolutionary Road

etc... 2007 and 2008 have been pretty good for Hollywood.. I am so excited to see what 2009 will bring :-)


No Austrailia? And I really hope that they come to their senses and nominate the Dark Knight.

Anne Hathaway was great but in an awful movie that needed an editor. Sarah Jessica parker deserves a slot.

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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.

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  • 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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