Oscar Road, Part I : The Contenders

The new year has dawned and the awards season is on. As always all eyes are set on the oscars' ceremony where the road trip ends(on 22nd Feb this year). On the way we make a lot of stops, some major, some minor. The train has already left the station starting from the various guild awards(Screen actors, writers, producers and directors). Recently it had stopped at the Golden Globes, usually the biggest junction on the route and time has shown that they are fairly good indicators of whats to expect at the Kodak theatre in about a month from now. But more about the Golden Globes later. Starting with this post, in this Oscar Road series, I shall walk you through the awards, the movies and the performances that make the Oscars so special, giving you in depth coverage and analysis.

In this post, we shall look at the major contenders for the Oscars this year. The various award ceremonies have already given us a glimpse and there could be several dark horses and wildcards which could spring a surprise.

Starting with the biggest category of em all. The name plate which goes on to the oscar archives for every corresponding year. The best movie. Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button have quite sealed a nomination. It wouldnt be a surprise if two of Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon and Revolutionary Road take the remaining spots. Oscars dont usually have surprises in this category but I hope to see the brilliant comic/crime drama In Bruges and the totally amazing WALL-E rake in the best movie nomination. Other outsiders could be Happy Go Lucky, The Reader, Waltz with Bashir and the Visitor but it is highly unlikely.

Next stop the Best Director award. This list will be more or less an echo of the previous one, with Danny Boyle, Gus Van Sant, David Fincher, Chris Nolan, Ron Howard and Sam Mendes making it to the final shortlist. However Mike Leigh for Happy Go Lucky, Stephen Daldry for the Reader might get a peek. Anyone else getting nominated for this is going to be quite a shocker.

There are quite a few heavyweights this time round in the acting category and most seats seem to be already reserved quite by the mention of their names itself. Though 2008 hasnt been such a great year for movies compared to 2007, the sudden rush at the fag end just to make it to the oscars has been stronger than ever. As a result most movies which are going to be nominated for the Oscars will have been in the theatres for less than a month.

Ok back to the actors categories. Ladies first (being gentleman like you see) and quite easiest of all categories. Best actress spot contenders are Anne Hathway for Rachel Getting Married, Sally Hawkins for Happy Go Lucky, Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road/The Reader, Meryl Streep for Doubt and the last spot may go to either Kristin Scott Thomas for Ihave loved you for so long or Anjelina Jolie for Changeling. I am however going with Kristin Scott Thomas. Others who stand a chance are Michelle Williams and the darling of oscar voters Cate Blanchett for Wendy and Lucy and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button Respectively.

Supporting Cast nominees could be Marisa Tomei for the Wrestler, Kate Winslet for the Reader if she doesnt get a lead actress nomination, Amy Adams for Doubt, Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Frieda Pinto for Slumdog or Rosemarie DeWitt for Rachel Getting Married.

For the best actor category. Sean Penn for Milk , Brad Pitt for Benjamin Button, Richard Jenkins for the Visitor and Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler have virtually been seated. Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon and Leonardo Di Caprio for Revolutionary road might be the one of the remaining nominees but I hope Clint Eastwood gets nominated for his scorching performance in Gran Torino. I would also love to see either of Colin Farell and Brendan Gleeson to be nominated too for their brilliant performance in In Bruges. Dev Patel got nominated for the Golden Globes and the BAFTA's mysteriously and I hope that doesnt happen again.

Supporting cast nominees must be Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt, Robert Downey Jnr for Tropic Thunder, Ralph Fiennes for the Duchess/In Bruges, James Franco for Milk, or maybe someone else. But really! does it matter? Because we all know Heath Ledger is going to get it come what may.

Wall E will walk away with the animation oscar with Bashir(Waltz with ), Kungfu Panda and Bolt watching. And when it comes to best foreign language oscar the field is as wide as the sahara. This category is by far the most fertile in terms of quality and variety of movies produced. I could repeat the nominations from the golden globe or the baftas but one never knows what cards the Academy award council has up its sleeve as a bigger berth of entries are usually submitted for the Oscars compared to any other.

The oscar list is expected to be out on Jan 22nd 1930 IST and lets see how far my predictions come true. If you think I missed out on something. leave a comment :)

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