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Academy Award Predictions: Meryl Streep & Clint Eastwood + Posthumous Best Supporting Actor Nomination

Meryl Streep Doubt: Oscar record tie with Katharine Hepburn? Academy Award PredictionsMeryl Streep in Doubt. Academy Award Predictions: In case she gets another Academy Award nomination in early 2009 – her 15th – Meryl Streep will tie with Katharine Hepburn for the record of most Oscar nominations in the lead actor/actress categories: 12 in all. In second place is Bette Davis with 10 nods, followed by Laurence Olivier and Spencer Tracy with 9 each. Meryl Streep has to date taken home two Oscar statuettes: Best Supporting Actress for Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979; Best Actress for Alan J. Pakula's Sophie's Choice, 1982. Katharine Hepburn owns the record for most wins in the acting categories, four in all, each as Best Actress: Morning Glory, 1932–1933; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, 1967; The Lion in Winter, 1968; On Golden Pond, 1981.

Academy Award Predictions: Best Actress shortlist to feature Hollywood insiders & outsiders

Academy Award Predictions: Below is our list of likely 2009 Best Actress Oscar contenders.

  • Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married.
  • Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky.
  • Melissa Leo, Frozen River.
  • Meryl Streep, Doubt.
  • Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road.

Much too frequently in the last 40 or so years, one has had to dig for potential Best Actress Academy Award nominees – especially in American films. This year is a remarkable exception; in fact, the Best Actress predictions are the most difficult in the acting categories because there are no less than 10 moderate-to-strong possibilities.

Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) and Meryl Streep (Doubt) are both sure to be included. They are popular Hollywood insiders, and even though Streep has received some negative reviews for her portrayal of Doubt's obstinate, self-righteous nun, she's still Meryl Streep.

Sally Hawkins in

Happy-Go-Lucky star Sally Hawkins is just about certain as well, considering that she has been chosen the year's Best Actress by both the Los Angeles and New York film critics (along with several other critics' groups); besides, she did get a Golden Globe nomination. Even though Globers and Globettes love big movie stars, Hawkins – not Meryl Streep for the box office hit Mamma Mia! – will definitely be the winner in the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical category.

The fact that Sally Hawkins failed to get a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination doesn't mean all that much as the SAG and Academy shortlists usually don't match 100 percent. Possibly – at least in part – because Academy members have more time to watch their screeners of little-known films (such as Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky) that have won critical kudos at year's end.

Double nominee Kate Winslet?

As for Academy favorite Kate Winslet, she already has five nominations under her belt – her first was 13 years ago (as Best Supporting Actress, for Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility).

So, even if Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road fizzles at the domestic box office, Winslet will likely be adding two more Oscar nods this year. After all, Iris, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Little Children were hardly what one would call blockbusters.

The other Kate Winslet nomination, by the way, will be in the Best Supporting Actress category, for Stephen Daldry's Holocaust-related The Reader.

And finally, Melissa Leo has a SAG Award nomination for Frozen River, a solid resumé (Last Summer in the Hamptons, 21 Grams) dating back to the mid-1980s, and several mentions in critics' awards lists.

Other Best Actress possibilities

More Academy Award Predictions: Best Actress Oscar runners-up:

  • Kristin Scott Thomas (I've Loved You So Long), who did receive a Golden Globe nod.
  • Angelina Jolie (Changeling), who did get a SAG Award nod though Academy members may feel that that should be enough – like last year, when Jolie failed to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her SAG-nominated performance in A Mighty Heart.
  • Michelle Williams (Wendy and Lucy), who could well get a nod if enough Academy voters take the trouble to watch her low-budget film.
Clint Eastwood Gran Torino. Message of tolerance leading to Best Actor Oscar nomination?Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. Academy Award Predictions: Clint Eastwood with a Message – in this case, of tolerance – has, in the Best Director category, led to Oscar nominations in the last decade or so: Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). We're betting Eastwood, who is worshipped in some circles, will be getting his third Best Actor Oscar nod for his performance as an all-out bigot who undergoes a radical change – of the sort one sees in Hollywood movies; not so much in life – after becoming acquainted with his Hmong neighbors. Eastwood the Actor has been previously shortlisted for Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby.

Academy Award Predictions: Veterans to dominate Best Actor category

Below are the likely contenders for the 2008 Best Actor Oscar.

  • Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino.
  • Richard Jenkins, The Visitor.
  • Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon.
  • Sean Penn, Milk.
  • Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Clint Eastwood becomes a sentimental favorite whenever he has a Message to convey – as he does in Gran Torino. Sean Penn (Milk) and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) are two veterans who have been winning Best Actor awards left and right this awards season.

For his portrayal of Richard Nixon in Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, stage and film veteran Frank Langella will be getting his first Oscar nod – a sort of career achievement recognition, much like James Garner's Best Actor nomination a couple of decades ago for Murphy's Romance (1985).

Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) will round out the top five.

Dev Patel Cinderella upset?

More Academy Award Predictions: Atop the Best Actor Oscar runners-up list, Slumdog Millionaire actor Dev Patel may pull off a Keisha Castle-Hughes upset. For the 2003 Oscars, the young Whale Rider actress was pushed as a supporting player, but landed a – truly surprising – Best Actress nod instead.

Brad Pitt also has a chance for his reverse-aging character in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but Academy members may (rightly?) feel that Pitt's SAG Award nomination and the fact that he's Angelina Jolie's significant other are more than enough rewards for him.

A third possibility is Leonardo DiCaprio for his unhappy husband in Revolutionary Road.

Long shots: Dustin Hoffman (Last Chance Harvey) & Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man).

Heath Ledger The Joker The Dark Knight. 1st posthumous acting Oscar nominee in 2 decades?Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Academy Award Predictions: In case Heath Ledger, who died at age 28 from a prescription pill overdose on Jan. 22, receives a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for bringing to life The Joker in The Dark Knight, he will become the first posthumous nominee in the acting categories since Massimo Troisi for Il Postino (1995). In case Ledger, as expected, wins, he'll be only the second posthumous winner in the acting categories, following Best Actor Peter Finch for Network (1976). The other posthumous thespian Academy Award nominees are the following: Ralph Richardson (Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1984), Spencer Tracy (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, 1967), James Dean twice (Rebel Without a Cause, 1955; Giant, 1956), and unofficial nominee Jeanne Eagels (The Letter, 1928–1929). Heath Ledger has one previous Oscar nomination, in the Best Actor category, for his performance as a gay cowboy/sheepherder in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale in the title role, The Dark Knight – the year's biggest worldwide box office hit – is also a likely Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Christopher and Jonathan Nolan) nominee.

Academy Award Predictions: Likely posthumous Best Supporting Actor winner

Below is the list of likely Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominees.

  • Josh Brolin, Milk.
  • Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt.
  • Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.
  • Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire.

Though about as much a lead in The Dark Knight as Christian Bale, Heath Ledger is the shoo-in Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner come next February.

As a priest accused of sexually molesting one of his students, Philip Seymour Hoffman should be shortlisted for Doubt, while Robert Downey Jr. will be in the running for his politically incorrect actor in Tropic Thunder.

Of the extensive supporting cast in Milk, Josh Brolin is the most likely contender. Dev Patel, who apparently supports himself in Slumdog Millionaire, should also make the cut thanks to his film's Cinderella-style popularity.

Michael Sheen likely to be bypassed – again

Michael Sheen, as much a lead as Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon, is being pushed in the Best Supporting Actor category in the usual scuzzy farce that studios, distributors, and publicists come up with so that well-known leads can steal the spot of legitimate – and usually lesser-known – supporting players.

Unfortunately, Academy members – and critics' groups, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, etc. – are usually all too eager to go along with the dishonesty.

However, with Dev Patel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Heath Ledger already crowding the field of leads-as-supporting players, and with leading men such as Josh Brolin and Robert Downey Jr. getting noticed for their semi-supporting roles, that leaves no room for Sheen, whose David Frost will most likely suffer the fate of his non-nominated Tony Blair (in The Queen) two years ago.

James Franco (Milk) could also end up among the top five, even though his name has only seldom been mentioned in year-end awards lists.

Best Supporting Actor long shots:

  • Bill Irwin, Rachel Getting Married.
  • Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky.
  • Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road.
  • Ralph Fiennes, The Duchess.
Amy Adams Doubt: Academy Award Predictions include all 4 actors in John Patrick Shanley dramaAmy Adams in Doubt. Academy Award Predictions: Previously nominated as Best Supporting Actress for Junebug, Amy Adams is a likely contender in that category for her performance as a young nun in John Patrick Shanley's drama Doubt, also starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Viola Davis. All four actors are expected to be shortlisted for the 2009 Oscars, with only Streep in a lead category.

Academy Award Predictions: Best Supporting Actress category filled with stellar names

Academy Award Predictions: Below is the list of likely Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominees.

This is another field dominated by big names in roles that are a notch below leads. In a weaker, Revolutionary Road-less year, Kate Winslet would surely have been pushed in the Best Actress category for The Reader, and the same probably goes for Penélope Cruz in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona and perhaps even Amy Adams in Doubt.

If Marisa Tomei could get nominated – and win – for My Cousin Vinny, she'll most likely get at least a nomination for her The Wrestler pole dancer.

Viola Davis is the only lesser-known name among the potential five Best Supporting Actress nominees; she has been included because of all the critical recognition coming her way this awards season. And let's not forget Davis' SAG Award nomination.

Rosemarie DeWitt & Taraji P. Henson

The two Best Supporting Actress runners-up – Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) and Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) – would have considerably better chances if they were stars.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association keeps getting badgered for their eagerness to include big-name movie stars among their nominees, but the revered Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is really not all that different.

Even so, either DeWitt or SAG nominee Henson may still land a spot among the five Best Supporting Actress finalists.

Now, the Best Supporting Actress Oscar long shots would be:

  • Misty Upham, Frozen River.
  • Vera Farmiga, Nothing But the Truth.
  • Emma Thompson, Brideshead Revisited.
  • Catherine Keener, Synecdoche, New York.
  • Beyoncé Knowles, Cadillac Records.
  • And three-time Best Actress nominee Debra Winger (An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982; Terms of Endearment, 1983; Shadowlands, 1993), who would have been a shoo-in had her performance in Rachel Getting Married received more year-end attention.

Academy Award Predictions: Christopher Nolan & David Fincher up for Best Director?

In our Academy Award predictions, all the likely Best Director nominees match the films found in our Best Picture list (see link further below) – something that is less common in Academy Award history than one might think.

  • Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.
  • David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
  • Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon.
  • Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight.
  • Gus Van Sant, Milk.

Of the names listed above, David Fincher is possibly the iffiest. Yet Fincher has been getting plenty of recognition from critics' and other groups. Despite a number of unenthusiastic reviews for – the commercially successful – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, he'll likely land a Best Director nomination come next January.

Mike Leigh & Clint Eastwood among runners-up

Best Director Oscar runners-up: Mike Leigh could theoretically pull off another Vera Drake upset and take either David Fincher's or Ron Howard's place. Clint Eastwood, for his part, would have been a shoo-in in some other year, but competition in 2008 is strong.

Below are a few other possibilities:

  • Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road.
  • Stephen Daldry, The Reader.
  • Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married.

Best Director Oscar long shots:

  • Courtney Hunt, Frozen River.
  • Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler.
  • Andrew Stanton, WALL-E.
  • And finally, Doubt director John Patrick Shanley will have to be content with a Best Adapted Screenplay nod.

See follow-up post: “More Predictions: Cinderella Tale + Slain Gay Politician & Veteran Jan Troell Returns.”

 

Meryl Streep and Amy Adams Doubt images: Miramax Films.

Clint Eastwood Gran Torino image: Warner Bros.

Heath Ledger The Dark Knight: Warner Bros.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website.


         
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23 Comments to Academy Award Predictions: Meryl Streep & Clint Eastwood + Posthumous Best Supporting Actor Nomination

  1. Sarfaraz

    Slumdog is a disappointment in the nomination catagory. I vote for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Milk

  2. armeet

    Slumdog is a absolute disappointment mainly because it's an overrated film. With a totally unrealistic and horribly predictable plot. With the exception of the child actors, the acting (in particular the main actor) is lousy and sluggish. Kite runner, Benjamin Button or Milk are far better films with more entertaining plots and superior acting prowess to deliver greater depth to the screen.

  3. Rakesh

    well, the nominations have been declared. and i believe they are fair enough. in my opinion, slumdog millionaire should get the best picture award because it touches a subject which nobody has ever touched before. it's not come out of a big production house, and yet it's showcased fantastic cinematic work. kudos to the director and his crew for creating such a vibrant piece on the celluloid.

  4. Ursula

    I believe you should have left Doubt where it was. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button may be a big box office hit but it's not that well liked despite all those nominations for British Academy Awards. They also gave lots of nominations to The Reader which will not be all that popular with the Academy.
    I think that the Curious Case will be another Dreamgirls. Everyone expected it to get a best picture nomination, but didn't.

  5. Roel

    Meryl Streep is long overdue for her 3rd Oscar……….Academy please take note and reward her accordingly for Best Actress, plus she gave the most mesmerizing performance of the year for actresses. Kate could finally win an Oscar for her role in the Reader: supporting actress, though. Anne H. in the Best Actress category and Viola D. in the Best Supporting Actress category are the strongest competitors. Go Meryl-Best Actress! Go Kate-supporting actress Oscar!

  6. Billy

    also ich denke das the dark knight und sieben leben die besten chancen haben

  7. Andres

    Cate blanchett was so great in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button… She deserves a nomination. The winner should be Merryl Streep anyways.

  8. chinmay

    Taare Zameen Par must win in best movie in BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM. The movie contains nice message to the world and humanity as “Every Child is Special”

    Taare Zameen Par is definitely worth a watch for Matured Genre more than the kids

  9. Sam

    Ledger has to win the oscar…it would be heartbreaking not to give him for his amazing last performance…

    Slumdog is an outstanding movie and if it comes head to head with Dark Knight, it should win due to a more realistic portrayal.

  10. Gaurav Sangtani

    taare zameen par from India…

    It will win for sure,,!!!

  11. nrk

    Slumdog millionaire was sappy, unbelievable, and contrive. If it wins an oscar - for *anything* - it will be a huge disappointment - maybe even greater than when crash won the oscar for best picture.

  12. krim

    “Ploning” was the Philippines entry for the foreign-language Oscar. So “Baler” can't be be nominated in that category. Perhaps next year, depending on when “Baler” opened in the Philippines.

  13. Jens

    As a best foreign language movie I would like to mention Baler from the Philippines. It is based on a true story from the end of the 19th century . All the ingredients are there; love ,war, comedy and tragedy. But most of all you can follow the feelings of despare and surprise. Also this is the story of one of the most occupied countries in the world and the fight for freedom and independence.

  14. sarah

    Keira Knightley for best actress in THE DUCHESS. She shouldn't be forgotten.

  15. bhawana

    indian movie taare zameen par must be nominated in foreign film catagory,,,it has a beautiful message and can make anyone have tears in their eyes….it should be there in oscar nomination,,,rather it should win an oscar…

  16. otherio

    DEFROST NIXON will win.
    Theyll give best actor to Clint Eastwood because the guy is so old but can still hold a rifle without falling over.
    Best actress will be Kate Winslet because she's been nominated so many times and has lost so many times.
    See, it's all about quality.

  17. Alvah

    I could be completely, totally totally totally wrong but I still think that The Dark Knight will win the best picture Oscar.

  18. joseph l lowder

    An outstanding performance in the best supporting actor category seems to have been overlooked. Jason Butler Harner in the Chanegling gave a powerful performance and cetainly deserves a nomination.

  19. Sofía

    I know many people think that because they were not nominated last year to be nominated oscar Angelina now.
    Well if you really look at is the view of competitiveness this year in the female category, we have great performances, but I am not saying that Hawkins will win the Oscar, but it is really a challenge for an actress and I think only able to do so after Hawkins to Meryl Streep, which is why I believe that the performance of Hawkins has been praised by critics and I would not be surprised to obtain an Oscar nomination is well deserved, on the other hand, I believe that the performance of Angelina Jolie, was overtaken by its opponents to be nominated in its category, but not bad but it was over.

  20. SammyBoy

    I disagree with both you. Melissa Leo will be nominated. She's gotten the SAG nom, and for a very small film. That says a lot.
    I think Angelina Jolie will get a nomination, but the loser will be Sally Hawkins despite her LA and NY wins.

  21. Clarisse

    I disagree.
    I think Melissa Leo will be bumped out, yes, but that spot will be taken by Kristin Scott Thomas who was EXCELLENT in I've Loved You So Long.

  22. Othon

    WALL-E will win best animated feature and I'm wiling to bet it'll get a nomination for best picture as well. I think that WALTS WITH BASHIR will win best foreign film.
    Clint Eastwood may get a best director nomination, too. Not for Gran Torino but for Changeling.

  23. Nate

    I don't believe that Sally Hawkins will get an Oscar nomination, even if Academy members have more time to watch her film. They'll feel sorry that they snubbed Angelina Jolie last year for her excellent performance in A MIGHT HEART and they'll nominate her this year for CHANGELING. I think that she even has a good chance of taking hom the Oscar this year.