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Award Contenders

Best Picture

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And the Nominees Are...

Atonement -- Once the front-runner, now the also-ran; no corresponding director nomination either. Sorry!
Juno -- The highest-grossing Best Picture nominee, if you can believe it. Too lightweight? Too indie?
No Country for Old Men -- There's no stopping the Coen brothers now....
Michael Clayton -- Smartest mainstream movie of the year. Did you see it? Neither did we - but we just got the DVD!
There Will Be Blood -- Anderson's and Day-Lewis' brilliance cannot be denied, but don't expect a Best Picture win.

And the Winner Will Be... No Country for Old Men -- it's the Coens' year, finally.

Should've Been Nominated: Into the Wild -- What, you don't like Sean Penn anymore?!

And the Winner Was... No Country for Old Men


Best Actor

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And the Nominees Are...

George Clooney (Michael Clayton) -- Easy to add up: Star power + Intelligent (if little-seen) film = Sure-fire nomination.
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) -- A brilliant, harrowing performance to rank with the all-time greats.
Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd) -- Talk about bloody, though bloody brilliant is more like it. But it's Sweeney's only major nomination.
Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah) -- Jones is respected and loved, but this nomination was totally out of left field.
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises) -- With this tough, brutal performance, Mortensen fully emerges from the Rings shadow; we want him to make David Cronenberg films forever.

And the Winner Will Be... Daniel Day-Lewis, this year's Helen Mirren

Should've Been Nominated: Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) -- He's the star of the most acclaimed film of the year -- so where's his nomination?

And the Winner Was... Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Actress

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And the Nominees Are...

Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) -- Slap a crown and a gown on this Oscar winner, and you're already halfway there.
Julie Christie (Away From Her) -- A devastating performance by a still-classy, still-amazing star. Does she have it locked up?
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) -- Her Edith Piaf made critics sing, and it may be a perfect performance for Academy members to discover on DVD.
Laura Linney (The Savages) -- To us, she can do no wrong. A pleasantly surprising nomination.
Ellen Page (Juno) -- All hail the indie queen, this year's Abigail Breslin and Keisha Castle-Hughes all wrapped up into one.

And the Winner Will Be... Julie Christie, by a nose -- though don't rule out Cotillard entirely!

Should've Been Nominated: Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart) -- Ever-present in tabloids, Jolie proved she still has acting chops with a phenomenal performance.

And the Winner Was... Marion Cotillard

Best Supporting Actor

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And the Nominees Are...

Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) -- Though he was a sturdy lead in Gone Baby Gone, he walked off with this movie under his belt.
Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) -- The most fearsome assassin you could ever imagine... just that haircut alone is enough to give us chills.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War) -- Of the three films Hoffman was in (and great in), this one has the highest profile.
Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild) -- Career recognition a la Alan Arkin -- and a great performance -- could snag the esteemed actor the Oscar.
Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton) -- More than held his own opposite Clooney -- and onscreen nervous breakdowns never hurt either.

And the Winner Will Be... Javier Bardem, friendo!

Should've Been Nominated: Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) -- All the hoopla over leading man Day-Lewis obscured Dano's extremely powerful turn.

And the Winner Was... Javier Bardem

Best Supporting Actress

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And the Nominees Are...

Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There) -- Her Bob Dylan was a trip, man... and this movie's only hope for Oscar recognition.
Ruby Dee (American Gangster) -- Thanks to her Screen Actors Guild award win, she's a heavy hitter in this category now.
Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) -- Ronan triumphs where co-stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, but truly the darkest of horses here.
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) -- Oscar, baby, Oscar? How many critics' awards has she won?!
Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) -- Ice, ice, baby! The only other actor who inspires more fear is Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.

And the Winner Will Be... In the toughest category to call, we'll put our money on the success story of Amy Ryan.


Should've Been Nominated: Jennifer Garner (Juno) -- Bye-bye, action heroine and rom-com starlet; the former "Alias" star provides surprising heart in the sardonic indie comedy.

And the Winner Was... Tilda Swinton.

Best Director

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And the Nominees Are...

Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) -- After two screenplay nominations, PT finally nabs his first directing nod.
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) -- Foregone conclusion? This might just be their year, finally.
Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) -- Someone who takes making movies for adults to heart.
Jason Reitman (Juno) -- Making the phrase "independent film" a good thing again.
Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) -- One of those nominated-for-directing-but-not-for-picture movies (oh, it's brilliant, too).

And the Winner(s) Will Be... The Coen brothers, making history as the second duo and first siblings to win the director Oscar.


Our Dream Nomination: David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises) -- Someday the Canadian auteur will get the recognition he deserves. Sigh - someday...

And the Winner(s) Were... The Coen brothers.









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