Best Picture: Juno, There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, Michael Clayton, Atonement. A much better year than average for nominees in this category, with everything being either very good or pretty damned good; where is my standard Academy embarrassment nomination? Where is the Ghost, the Crash? Anyway, this is basically a two-horse race between P.T. Anderson and the Coens, maybe with Juno being a dark horse, this year’s Little Miss Sunshine except less annoying.
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood, Johnny Depp for Sweeney Todd, George Clooney for Michael Clayton, Tommy Lee Jones for In The Valley Of Elah, Viggo Mortensen for Eastern Promises. Again, all very solid performances, although Jones is in a movie that was kind of iffy on the whole, and Depp isn’t going to win an Oscar until he trims his hair and starts being a nice respectable person in a movie about lawyers or businessmen finding their inner child or something. I think it’s DDL’s to lose, frankly, because his performance (while excellent) is the showy, big-turn performance the Academy fucking loves.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Ellen Page for Juno, Julie Christie for Away From Her, Laura Linney for The Savages, Marion Cotillard for La Môme. This one’s interesting, because we have the first major embarrassment nom (Cate Blanchett, who had a bad performance in a worse movie that was designed as cynical Oscar bait), the first serious unknown (Cotillard, completely off my radar and everybody else’s), and then two very small-scale turns (Linney and Christie), rounded out by a young’un in Page. My gut says Linney, but I think there’s a shot for Ellen Page or Julie Christie as well.
Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman for Charlie Wilson’s War, Javier Bardem for No Country For Old Men, Casey Affleck for The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Hal Holbrook for Into The Wild, Tom Wilkinson for Michael Clayton. Traditionally the “give the award to the old fart who’s paid his dues” award, and in that regard you have to look to Tom Wilkinson as an old fart who has, most verily, paid his dues. On the other hand, you have excellent performances from pretty much everybody, Hal Holbrook as a lesser-known old fart who has a lot of dues paid as well, and Bardem, who created a classic movie villain, and this is also the category where villains do well. Tough call.
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett for I’m Not There, Ruby Dee for American Gangster, Saorise Royan for Atonement, Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone, Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton. I never have any idea about this category and almost always get it wrong. That having been said, I am rooting for Tilda Swinton and hope that Cate Blanchett doesn’t get a win for the pretentiously shitty “it’s Bob Dylan but not” movie that I strongly disliked.
Best Director: The Coens for No Country For Old Men, P.T. Anderson for There Will Be Blood, Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton, Jason Reitman for Juno, Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Again no bad nominations, although I think this is again a two-horse race between the Coens and Anderson, as the Academy finally recognizes one or the other as the master director/directing team that they are.