Final predictions from K and myself in ALL categories will be coming later today.
1. Slumdog Millionaire
3. The Reader
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Note: Frost/Nixon is really the only film not making a big push. And to be honest, Slumdog appears to be coasting. That leaves the three films in the middle. Of them, The Reader is making the biggest play, led by Harvey Corleone (or Weinstein, whichever you prefer), but it is also has the least cache among all the nominees. Ben Button is still firing on all cylinders, but I think the filmmakers are still in a perpetual "why weren't we the juggernaut?" coma. That leaves Milk, which is the most impassioned of the films after Slumdog, and which has the biggest chance of stealing a BP win. But don't count on it.
1. Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
2. David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. Gus Van Sant, Milk
4. Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
5. Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Note: Boyle wins...duh.
1. Kate Winslet, The Reader
2. Meryl Streep, Doubt
3. Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
4. Melissa Leo, Frozen River
5. Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Note: Consider it a tie between Winslet and Streep. I will take a shot of tequila, spin around three times, and pick one of their names out of a hat to make my final prediction. Since it was such a big "Winslet-in-The-Reader" year, I think she has the edge. But I wouldn't be surprised if it went the other way, either. One of the toughest categories, in the end.
1. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
2. Sean Penn, Milk
3. Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
4. Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
5. Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Note: If you would've asked me a couple days ago, I would've told you that Sean Penn had moved into the lead by a hair. And since Milk won't win Best Picture or Director, it seems the best consolation prize would be for Penn to win here. There doesn't seem to be a lot of love for The Wrestler among the Academy membership. Some think of Rourke's performance as more of a one-out stunt. And yet taking ALL that into consideration, I am STILL putting Rourke as number one...for now. It's just one of those feelings...and it may well change by tomorrow.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. Viola Davis, Doubt
3. Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
4. Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Amy Adams, Doubt
Note: I think it's down to a two-person race at best. Cruz is out in front comfortably, with the only possible upset coming from Doubt's remarkable Viola Davis.
Oh, and by the way, if the very deserving Marisa Tomei happens to shock the world and win her second Oscar on Sunday, expect the naysayers to once again charge that whoever presented the award didn't read the envelope correctly. Idiots.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
2. Josh Brolin, Milk
3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
4. Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
5. Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
Note: Is it even worth discussing?
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
2. John Patrick Shanley, Doubt
3. Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. David Hare, The Reader
5. Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
Note: Beaufoy is your winner.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon, Wall-E
2. Dustin Lance Black, Milk
3. Martin McDonaugh, In Bruges
4. Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
5. Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky
Note: Oh, boy. Could I really be picking against Milk in both Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay? I guess I am. Here is, once again, a huge toss-up. And by the time we post final predictions later today, I may well change my mind. Stay tuned.