OK. I’ve never done this before because I’ve always found a great deal of fun by being surprised about what is nominated. But I’ve had a couple requests, and most categories seem pretty cut and dried this year, so I’ll have my try at predicting the nominees. Understand that these are not my picks, those are in my “Best of 2008” list. These are the movies and filmmakers I think will be nominated.
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Sam Mendes, “Revolutionary Road”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Colin Farrell, “In Bruges” (this may be a supporting actor nod)
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Cate Blanchet, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt” (this may be an actor nod)
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
James Franco, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Christina Barcelona”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
Eric Roth, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Christopher & Jonathan Nolan, “The Dark Knight”, based on the comic book
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt”, based on his play
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”, based on his play
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire”, based on the novel by Vikas Swarup
Joel & Ethan Coen, “Burn After Reading”
Michael McDonagh, “In Bruges”
Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon & Pete Doctor, “Wall-E”
Robert D. Siegel, “The Wrestler”
“Kung Fu Panda”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”
“Standard Operating Procedure”
“Waltz with Bashir”
Even in the most solid of years there are always some snubs and upsets and some surprise nods. I don’t think there will be as much of those this year as in most, but certainly there will be one or two. Here’s where I think they might happen.
Picture—I think this is one of the most solid categories. Everyone seems pretty sure that “The Dark Knight” will get an unprecedented comic book inspired nod here, but it is the weak link. Other possibilities are…
Director—“The Wrestler” gained a good deal of momentum after the Golden Globes and on its wave Aronofsky could steal the “Dark Knight” swing spot from Mendes.
Darren Aronofsky, “The Wrestler”
Actor—This category has the widest field of candidates this year, and one of these three could squeak in there. Eastwood because he just gets better with age, Jenkins because he’s worked without recognition along side many of the voters for so many years, and DiCaprio because he’s Leo. Farrell would pay the price despite his Globes win.
Clint Eastwood, “Gran Torino”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Revolutionary Road”
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Actress—The most likely surprise because she took home the Globe for a film unseen by most but highly praised by those who did see it. If she gets in, it would be at either Hathaway’s or Jolie’s expense.
Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Supporting Actor—This is an unlikely surprise, but Hollywood does love to see itself ridiculed. Franco would be the loser here.
Tom Cruise, “Tropic Thunder”
Supporting Actress—This one isn’t much more likely than Cruise getting in, but they do love McDormand, and they may not wish to see Winslet lose it by competing against herself in the Actress category.
Frances McDormand, “Burn After Reading”
Adapted Screenplay—This category is almost as wide as Actor, and the Academy so loves a good Holocaust picture or a period drama. But again there isn’t much wiggle room with what I’ve already listed.
David Hare, “The Reader”, based on the book by Bernhard Schlink
Justin Haythe, “Revolutionary Road”, based on the novel by Richard Yates
Original Screenplay—This is the least likely surprise but would fall under the same reasoning as Cruise. The loser could be any of them except for “Milk”.
Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen, “Tropic Thunder”
The Oscar nominations will be announced Thursday, Jan. 22.