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December 18, 2008

No doubts for SAG


We were having doubts. Not about the intense is-he-or-isn't-he-a-pedophile-priest drama, "Doubt," based on the award-winning Broadway play. There's no equivocating there -- it's searingly good.

We were starting to doubt our faith in the drama being able to go the Oscar distance.

Not its performances, which have been and continue to be strong contenders, but the film as a potential best picture candidate. We very nearly dumped it off our Oscar predictions, which would've made our five picks look like this (not in any particular order): "Slumdog Millionaire," "Frost/Nixon," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight" and "Milk."

But today, thanks to the Screen Actors Guild nods, we're standing our ground. Sorry, "Frost/Nixon."

"Doubt" snagged five nominations this morning, including the top prize for the ensemble cast, which isn't really the same thing as the Oscar best picture, but it's close enough for us. It's an indication of support for the John Patrick Shanley film that we think will carry through the season.


So much for award noms validating your resident Gold Rusher. Plenty of places that didn't happen with SAG's choices, including what we consider to be the biggest mistake of the day: Leonardo DiCaprio is not among the best actor nominees for "Revolutionary Road," nor is Michael Shannon for an unforgettable turn in Richard Yates book-based drama. No Sally Hawkins for "Happy-Go-Lucky" and no Rosemarie DeWitt for "Rachel Getting Married." Boo!

Did Clint Eastwood belong on the list for "Gran Torino?" Does Angelina Jolie's inclusion for "Changeling" presage Oscar? No and unlikely. Is "The Dark Knight" still alive? Possibly.

Thrilled about? The Richard Jenkins best actor nod for "The Visitor," and supporting nominations for "Slumdog's" Dev Patel and "Tropic Thunder's" Robert Downey Jr. (Presumptive front-runner, the late Heath Ledger, is there, too).

The announcements have launched fevered chatter all over the Internets today. To wit:

Carpetbagger wonders why there was no love for Josh Brolin's uncanny Bush impression in "W." and Cate Blanchett in "Benjamin Button," and Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere unleashes, as he's wont to do, on xenophobia (where's Kristin Scott Thomas?) and celebrity butt-kissing (Brad Pitt? Really?)





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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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