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January 22, 2009

Can Boyle beat 'Button'?


The best picture and best director categories don't always match up -- some movies just direct themselves? -- but this year they do, with the surprise being Stephen Daldry for a film ("The Reader") that most crystal ball viewers didn't see landing in the final five.

Here's how it stacks up:

David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"

Gus Van Sant, "Milk"

Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"

Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire"

So, if the heavily-favored recent Globe and Critics' Choice award winner Boyle is on the road to a win, does that mean that "Slumdog" is, too? The joyous, heart-felt, brutal Mumbai rags-to-riches tale is a critical and populist favorite, but can it overtake the sweeping, epic quintessentially American Oscar film that is "Button?"

We're still betting on "Button" but we'd be silly to bet against Boyle. We're looking for a mismatch here come Oscar night.


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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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