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January 22, 2009

Richard Jenkins, calmest wild card


Richard Jenkins thought talk of an Oscar nomination was presumptuous and, well, downright preposterous. This was several months ago while he was doing a whistle stop tour to promote his art house drama "The Visitor."

What he still couldn't believe, he told your resident Gold Rusher at the time, was that filmmaker Tom McCarthy was able to get financing to make "The Visitor," especially with the decades-in-the-business character actor in the lead.

We love this kind of "we told you so!" Jenkins' nod this morning warms the cockles of the Gold Rush heart. Couldn't happen to a nicer, more gracious man.

A word about Brad Pitt here. Spoken by our movie buddy after we watched "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" yesterday (she for the first time, your Gold Rusher as a repeat viewing): "I'd watch Brad Pitt in just about anything. Hell, I saw 'Troy!' But this was more about the story and less about him."

Couldn't agree more, which is why we'd held fast in our Leonardo DiCaprio pick here instead of Pitt. But the voters didn't agree.

Here are the best actor contenders:

Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"

Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"

Sean Penn, "Milk"

Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"

No, Clint Eastwood didn't pull a last-minute Hail Mary, as some predictors thought could happen. With an overwhelming consensus, it seems to be Sean Penn all the way. But could the emotional comeback story of Rourke steal that thunder?


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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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