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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

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Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2007 at 7:19 AM

OSCAR UPDATE: November 20, 2007

Here are the latest Oscar rankings from Buzzmeter over at The Los Angeles Times.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of movement at the top of any of the categories.  Is it possible that the Oscar race is beginning to solidify?  Maybe.

As promised, beginning today I will offer my general thoughts and pure, 100% speculation about the Oscar race.  It's hard for me to say much about the films I haven't seen ("Atonement," "Sweeney Todd," "Charlie Wilson's War," "Juno," "The Savages," "There Will Be Blood," "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," "Persepolis," and "I'm Not There"), but I read enough from those who have seen some of them (no one's seen "Atonement," "Charlie Wilson's War" or a complete "Sweeney Todd") to make some sense of it.

As I noted a few weeks ago, Tom O'Neil of The Los Angeles Times is gushing over "Sweeney Todd" and laying a serious hand down that it will win Best Pic.  I'm not so sure.  I think "American Gangster's" Best Picture stock is on the rise by virtue of its box office success.  Ellen Page is on fire for "Juno."  The Coen Bros. are staring a pair of Oscar noms in the face (direction, adapted screenplay) for "No Country for Old Men," and the film may see even more, especially for Javier Bardem in the Best Supporting Actor category.  Marion Cotillard's stock hasn't dipped a bit for "La Vie En Rose," a film that critics didn't love (although she reminds me of Imelda Staunton of 2005's "Vera Drake").  Julie Christie's beautiful performance in "Away from Her" is going to get second looks in light of story that broke last week regarding former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner's husband who suffers from Alzheimer's falling for another woman in his care facility.  Cate Blanchett seems to be what critics love most about Todd Haynes Dylan bio-pic "I'm Not There." 

There are several films that have been heavily praised that are jockeying for position (to mean: whichever publicity campaigns are the most effective).  They include: "Into the Wild," "Michael Clayton," "The Kite Runner," "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." 

Buzz seems to be slowing down for Angelina Jolie ("A Mighty Heart") although I have no idea why - she's great; George Clooney ("Michael Clayton"); and Paul Dano ("There Will Be Blood"). 

Buzz is growing for Amy Adams ("Enchanted"), James McAvoy and Kiera Knightly ("Atonement"), Philip Bosco and Laura Linney ("The Savages"), Hal Holbrook ("Into the Wild"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Charlie Wilson's War"), Max von Sydow ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"), and Ruby Dee ("American Gangster").

We'll know more when "Sweeney Todd" and "Charlie Wilson's War" screen for Academy members this week in Los Angeles (both open in public release in December).  Those films, like "Atonement," and "The Great Debaters" will live or die by that early buzz.

Until next week . . .

Here are my Oscar locks as of 11/20/07:

Best Picture:
None

Best Director:
The Coen Bros. - "No Country for Old Men"

Best Actor:
Daniel Day Lewis - "There Will Be Blood"
Denzel Washington - "American Gangster"

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard - "La Vie En Rose"
Julie Christie - "Away from Her"

Best Supporting Actor:
Javier Bardem - "No Country for Old Men"

Best Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett - "I'm Not There"
Amy Ryan - "Gone Baby Gone"

Additional resources:  Sultans of Bling, In Contention's "Main Charts," Guru's o' Gold, Oscar Igloo, and The LA Times "Buzzmeter." 

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