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Tag: Best Actor Oscar (81-90 of 106)

Toronto preview: All eyes on 'Up in the Air'

Hot off its triumphant debut at the Telluride Film Festival, the comedic romance Up in the Air—directed by Juno‘s Jason Reitman and starring George Clooney—is definitely the movie to see in Toronto. I grabbed a few minutes on the phone with Reitman to discuss his latest film-fest success. Here’s part of our conversation:

OscarWatch When did you get the sense that your Telluride screening was going so well?

Jason Reitman There’s a scene in the movie with George, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick in which the two women talk about what what they look for in a man at 23 versus 37. It’s my favorite scene in the movie, and it just killed. That’s when I knew we had ‘em.

OW Is there part of you that now wishes the film were coming out in October instead of December?

JR No, actually. These films take time. You’ve got to give people a chance to really hear what it’s about and understand why they want to see it. It’s not the easiest film to describe. In one sense, it’s a movie about a man who fires people for a living. In another sense, it’s a movie about a man who collects air miles excessively. In another sense, it’s about a man who meets a woman who’s so similar to him that even though they both believe in the idea of living solo, they begin to fall in love. We’re on the Juno schedule and I think it’s going to work perfectly for us.

I’m excited to see the film in Toronto this Friday. Check back on OscarWatch and follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for my reaction. In the meantime, in Part 3 of our Toronto preview, Missy Schwartz and I discuss the movies we’re most looking forward to at the festival, including the Coen brothers’ latest film and fashion designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut.

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Toronto preview: Best Actor contenders

I’ve had a chance to see three Toronto films that could end up factoring into the Best Actor race: The Road (Viggo Mortensen), The Informant! (Matt Damon), and The Boys Are Back (Clive Owen). I’ll be conducting OscarWatch interviews with all three guys at the festival; in the meantime, in Part 2 of our Toronto preview, Missy Schwartz and I assess their chances. And please follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for instant updates during the festival and beyond.

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More on Toronto from OscarWatch:
Best Actress contenders: Three films to know

What will be Sunday's biggest surprise?

One of the most fun items I posted this year was my list of the top possible surprises of the Oscar nominations, some of which ended up coming true (or half-true). With the Academy Awards ceremony now just days away, here are my 10 possible shockers that could take place this Sunday.

1. Slumdog Millionaire picks up the Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing prizes, winning all nine categories in which it’s nominated.
2. Doubt’s Viola Davis avoids vote splitting with costar Amy Adams and tops Penélope Cruz for Best Supporting Actress.
3. The Kate vs. Meryl showdown in Best Actress ends in a loss for both, as Frozen River’s Melissa Leo pulls an Adrien Brody and comes through with the win.
4. After losing the BFCA and SAG awards to Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke finally wins his first major domestic prize (i.e. voted on by Americans) and takes home Best Actor.
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button gets upset in the Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Makeup categories and becomes the biggest Oscar loser in history, going 0 for 13.
6. David Hare’s script for The Reader steals the adapted screenplay trophy from Slumdog’s Simon Beaufoy.
7. France’s The Class wins Best Foreign Language Film over critical favorite Waltz With Bashir (my colleague Thom Geier and I are actually predicting that one).
8. WALL•E not only wins Best Animated Film but also picks up Original Screenplay and both sound prizes for a total of four Oscars.
9. The Dark Knight wins Best Supporting Actor but otherwise goes home empty-handed.
10. Telecast producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark actually manage to keep the ceremony under three hours. (You can do it, guys!)

EW's Oscar predictions!

The awards gods don’t seem to be smiling on me this year. First, I publish my Oscar nomination predictions, which end up matching perfectly with the Producers Guild and Directors Guild nominees but naturally miss a few of the eventual Academy Award honorees. Then I arrive at my Oscar-winner guesses…which almost completely match with this weekend’s BAFTA winners. So, with my predictions hitting newsstands today, I ask you: What have I (and my intrepid colleague Thom Geier, who handles all the documentary and shorts races) gotten wrong? Let us have it.

Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Director, Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Animated Film: Wall-E
Foreign-Language Film: The Class
Documentary: Man On Wire
Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Costume Design: The Duchess
Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Score: Slumdog Millionaire
Song: “Jai Ho,” Slumdog Millionaire
Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sound: The Dark Knight
Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight
Short: Spielzugland (Toyland)
Animated Short: Presto
Documentary Short: The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306

Richard Jenkins: This year's real underdog

Of all the major-category Oscar nominees I missed in my predictions this year, the one the most of you called was Richard Jenkins. I saw The Visitor at its New York premiere last April, and even at the party, the smart people at Overture Films were bending my ear about his award chances. And I have to say I was skeptical. I loved the movie, but I just didn’t think a performance as understated as his would go the distance, particularly coming out so early in the year. When Jenkins made the shortlists at the Broadcast Critics and SAG Awards, I thought, “What a nice tribute. Too bad Clint Eastwood’s going to steal his Oscar slot.”

Well, even though I hate being wrong, I’m so glad I was in this case. Along with Melissa Leo, Jenkins seems to be one of the nominees most people are rooting for this year. Can he overtake front-runners like Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke? Probably not, but it’s great to see someone campaign with total class and appreciation. Jenkins’ representatives have forced him (and his lovely wife, Sharon) to talk to me several times over the last few months—on red carpets, during lunches, and at award ceremonies. And since Six Feet Under remains my favorite television drama of all time, it’s been my absolute pleasure to bump into him every few weeks. (Though I’m sure Jenkins probably wished he were back home in Providence.) Here’s one of our encounters, at the Gotham Awards.

SAG and PGA: 2 more wins for 'Slumdog'

Slumdogwins_lCan Slumdog Millionaire be stopped? Danny Boyle’s endearing drama picked up top honors at the Producers Guild and Screen Actors Guild awards this weekend, winning best picture at the PGA and the best cast prize at SAG. I had predicted Milk to win the big ensemble prize, thinking that the SAG voters would be more likely to give an award to established actors like Sean Penn and Josh Brolin than a bunch of unknown kids from India, but as an astute Academy member said to me after the awards last night, “A lot of times SAG treats the best cast award like Best Picture, because it’s the closest thing they have.” If that’s the case, then the outcome makes perfect sense. In any case, Slumdog now has two more huge wins to add to its victories at the Golden Globes, Broadcast Film Critics Awards, and National Board of Review.

The four acting races lined up with my predictions. Sean Penn topped Mickey Rourke for Best Actor, making him the frontrunner for the Oscar next month, while Heath Ledger was named Best Supporting Actor to the surprise of no one. Kate Winslet won her third consecutive supporting-actress trophy for The Reader, while Meryl Streep won the only award for Doubt. This means that the two female SAG-winning performances will duke it out for the Oscar, since the Academy placed Winslet in the lead category for The Reader. Now the race is really on.

addCredit(“Kevin Winter/Getty Images”)

What will be tomorrow's biggest surprise?

We’re now less than 24 hours away from the big Oscar nominations announcement. I’ll be up early to react to the news live on the Today show (please tune in!), and I’m wondering: What will be the big shocker among the nominees tomorrow? Surely everything won’t go as predicted, right? Here are my top 10 possible stunners.

1. The Reader or Gran Torino sneak into Best Picture over The Dark Knight.
2. Richard Jenkins bumps Brad Pitt out of Best Actor.
3. Melissa Leo snags Angelina Jolie’s Best Actress slot.
4. Voters ignore Kate Winslet’s supporting-actress campaign and nominate her for Best Actress for The Reader, leaving Revolutionary Road out of the acting races completely.
5. Dev Patel scores a Best Actor nod instead of landing in the supporting category.
6. The Dark Knight trumps The Reader in the adapted-screenplay race.
7. Doubt scores four acting nods after all, as Amy Adams pushes Taraji P. Henson out of supporting actress.
8. Happy-Go-Lucky‘s Mike Leigh displaces Ron Howard or Gus Van Sant in Best Director.
9. Milk takes two supporting-actor slots and leaves Robert Downey, Jr., in the cold.

And finally…
10. Slumdog Millionaire tops Benjamin Button and scores the most overall nominations.

What do you think the biggest surprise will be? And if any of these actually happen, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

addCredit(“Melinda Sue Gordon”)

Oscar nominations: Beat my predictions!

With just two days to go before the Oscar nominations are finally announced, I’m resisting the urge to change any of my predictions, which went to press in EW before the Producers Guild or Directors Guild nominees were revealed. Can The Dark Knight bump The Reader out of the screenplay running? Will someone like Richard Jenkins or Melissa Leo fight his or her way into the acting races? Will the Academy overrule campaigns and put Kate Winslet for The Reader or Dev Patel for Slumdog Millionaire in the lead-acting category? I’m standing by my predictions, listed again below. Last year I lucked out with 34 out of 40 correct. Let’s see which of you can score the most this year. Post your predictions and I’ll give a shout-out to the OscarWatcher who gets the most right.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

David Fincher
Christopher Nolan
Ron Howard
Gus Van Sant
Danny Boyle

Clint Eastwood
Frank Langella
Sean Penn
Brad Pitt
Mickey Rourke

Anne Hathaway
Sally Hawkins
Angelina Jolie
Meryl Streep
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin
Robert Downey, Jr.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Heath Ledger
Dev Patel

Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz
Viola Davis
Taraji P. Henson
Marisa Tomei
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Original Screenplay
Rachel Getting Married
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

addCredit(“Kevin Winter/Getty Images”)

Best Actor and Best Actress: 2 real races

The very astute Sasha Stone over at Awards Daily has put forth her theory that this year’s lead acting categories are wide open, in contrast to the Best Picture race, which clearly seems to be going Slumdog Millionaire‘s way. I couldn’t agree more, and I found a interesting statistic to prove the point. In the last five years, every eventual lead-acting Oscar winner, with the exception of La Vie en Rose‘s Marion Cotillard last year, won the Broadcast Critics award and a Golden Globe before picking up the big prize. So in a sense, all the other nine winners — Daniel Day-Lewis, Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker, Reese Witherspoon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hilary Swank, Jamie Foxx, Charlize Theron, and Sean Penn — were basically foregone conclusions come Oscar night. This year, however, is a completely different story. For the first time since 2003, the BFCA winners and Globe winners were different performers in both lead-acting races. Back then, Far From Heaven‘s Julianne Moore won the BFCA prize, while Chicago‘s Renee Zellweger and The Hours‘ Nicole Kidman (the eventual Oscar winner) scored the Globes, and neither the BFCA Best Actor victor (Gangs of New York‘s Daniel Day-Lewis) nor the Globe honorees (About Schmidt‘s Jack Nicholson or Chicago‘s Richard Gere) forecasted the surprise Oscar winner, The Pianist‘s Adrien Brody.

This year the same thing is happening. Sean Penn won the BFCA but couldn’t repeat at the Globes, who recognized Mickey Rourke instead, while Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep tied at the BFCAs only to lose to Kate Winslet at the Globes. At this point (even though the nominations are still a week off), Penn seems like the best bet amongst the Academy but is by no means a lock. Meanwhile, the actress race strikes me as a complete toss-up between Winslet, Hathaway, Streep, and even a total wild-card like this week’s other Globe winner, Sally Hawkins. I’m dreading making my final prediction on this one. But whoever wins that statuette on Feb. 22, I can guarantee it’ll be close.

addCredit(“Winslet: Francois Duhamel; Streep: Andrew Schwartz; Hathaway: Bob Vergara”)

Oscar predictions: Am I right or wrong?

Even though two of the most reliable Oscar predictors (the Producers
Guild and Directors Guild nominees) haven’t been announced yet, my
bosses at EW asked me to come up with my forecasted nominees for this
year’s Academy Awards. You can see my predictions for the eight major
here, but here are my calls in the three
biggest categories.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight


Slumdog Millionaire


Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler


Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

So, am I on the money here or am I way off? What will my greatest oversight be when the nominees are revealed on Jan. 22? 

addCredit(“Stephen Vaughan”)

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