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January 20, 2009

Dispelling 'Doubt'


It's a perfectly fine choice -- a solid film with a significant story to tell, standout performances, good production values -- so why do we feel like we've just caved? Why do we feel, well, disappointed?

We're talking about our Oscar predictions, dear readers, and we've decided to dump "Doubt." Not because we think, even with hindsight, that it's inferior to "Frost/Nixon." It's not. But the momentum that the historic biopic has built up at this point is impossible to ignore any longer.

So we won't.

It just pains us to withdraw support from what we feel is one of the finest Important Movie specimens in the awards derby. Loved it as a stage play, believed it translated exceptionally well to film. Acting was excellent all around, but that may be the spot -- and the only place -- where "Doubt" will be recognized.

Could "Gran Torino" still sneak in here? It's possible, but we're not betting on it. Here's our new-and-perhaps-improved list of best picture candidates, in order:

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

"Slumdog Millionaire"

"The Dark Knight"



And speaking of momentum, it's clearly in "Slumdog's" favor, and sometime before Thursday at the butt-crack-early hour of 5:30ish, we might still change our minds and put the Mumbai rags-to-riches love story ahead of the very-Academy-friendly "Button."

But not yet.

And if it turns out that "Doubt" did tickle the fancy of the voters enough to secure a spot in the final five, that sound you'll hear will be our heads exploding.

Go here for these and other crystal ball, blue sky projections.


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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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