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December 31, 2008

Mentalist picks Penn, Cruz

Crystal_ball 

Why are we and all our Oscar prognosticating brethren watching hours worth of Important Films and going through rounds and rounds of carefully considered awards picks when we could just consult with "mentalist to the stars" and "corporate event entertainer" Sidney Friedman?

Friedman, aka "Sidney Seer," appeared on "The Today Show" a few minutes ago, predicting with somewhere between 62% and 78% certainty that Sean Penn will win the best actor Oscar.

So, take that all you Clint Eastwood boosters.

Friedman -- whose performances come with a money-back guarantee! -- has a track record that includes predicting Martin Scorsese's 2007 best director Oscar -- just like everyone did -- but was confounded last year by Marion Cotillard's win over Julie Christie for best actress.

Along with picking Penn, who's already an odds-on favorite, Friedman singled out another safe bet, saying Penelope Cruz will take home the award for best supporting actress. He also admitted he doesn't bother to see the movies until they air on TV, you know, a couple years later.

He's out there living his tagline, people: "When you absolutely, positively must thrill your audience." Really, they love him at John Deere.

The non-entertainment-industry insights he shared today included continued foreclosures and recession in '09 -- really? -- during which people will try to come up with great ideas to dig themselves out of the dumps. 

So is this guy reading the tea leaves or watching the news?

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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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