Oscars Predictions

The Academy enters the 80th annual Oscars presentation just 11 days off of the writer’s strike and with a discernible amount of front-runner hype. This year the talk appears to be focused on Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor for his amazing performance in the dark There Will Be Blood and on No Country For Old Men as the front-runner for Best Picture winner.

In a year where there were so many great films, at least in one viewer’s humble opinion, it’s odd to see the major contests really not be much of a contest. I count at least five movies left out of the Best Picture race that could have been there in any other year: American Gangster, Sweeney Todd, The Bourne Ultimatum, Zodiac, and In the Valley of Elah — all great films.

However, just like any other year whether the suspense and intrigue is there or not, the stars will be. The World’s grandest pageants and one steeped with the most tradition — the Academy Awards — will come to the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA once again on February 24th and here are my predictions for who walks home with the night’s biggest awards.

Best Picture

Atonement
Juno
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Prediction: Well as you heard me say, No Country For Old Men is the favorite and I will pick it too as it is my favorite of the bunch. Having seen everyone of the nominees this year prior to the nominations even being announced, I have to say it is a solid bunch. Juno would be the dark horse as the feel good story of the year. There Will Be Blood has probably the best chance at knocking off the favorite with its deep, well-told story. Michael Clayton was a great legal thriller but perhaps too intellectual for some to get behind and Atonement lacks the acting nominations to perhaps give it the win even though it was extremely well acted, directed and the cinematography exceptional.

My pick: No Country For Old Men

Wish you were here: Zodiac 

Best Director

Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men

Jason Reitman,  Juno

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton

Prediction: Only once before have two people shared a single directing Oscar: Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise for “West Side Story,” and by all reports their collaboration was rocky at best. So the brothers Coen could make some history with a win here, and my guess is they probably will. Jason Reitman is a youthful dark horse, for “Juno,” and Paul Thomas Anderson has a shot for “There Will Be Blood.” Julian Schnabel, whose “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” didn’t make the best picture roster, will likely stay in his seat, as will Tony Gilroy for “Michael Clayton.” — Moria MacDonald, The Seattle Times

Really couldn’t have said it better myself, Moria, thank you.

My vote: Coen Brothers

Wish you were here: Ben Affleck, Gone Baby Gone; Paul Haggis, In the Valley of Elah

Best Actor

George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd

Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

Prediction: Every single one of these actors is worthy of their nomination and the award. However, Day-Lewis was simply a couple notches above the field. His stiffest competition should be provided by Depp.

My Vote: Daniel Day-Lewis

Wish you were here: Jake Gyllenhaal, Zodiac; Denzel Washington, American Gangster; and Matt Damon, Bourne Ultimatum

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