2007-08 Oscar Calendar

[Monday, December 3, 2007]

Official Screen Credits
Forms Due.

[Wednesday, December 26, 2007]

Nominations ballots mailed.

[Saturday, January 12, 2008]

Nominations polls close
5 p.m. PST.

[Tuesday, January 22, 2008]

Nominations announced
5:30 a.m. PST
Samuel Goldwyn Theater

[Wednesday, January 30, 2008]

Final ballots mailed.

[Monday, February 4, 2008]

Nominees Luncheon

[Saturday, February 9, 2008]

Scientific and Technical
Awards Dinner

[Tuesday, February 19, 2008]

Final polls close 5 p.m. PST.

[Sunday, February 24, 2008]

79th Annual
Academy Awards Presentation
Kodak Theatre

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Looking Ahead: The 2008 Year-in-Advance Oscar Column


Another year another set of wins...and another look ahead at what's in store NEXT year.

It's never too late to take a long gander at what we might see dominating the film awards landscape in 365 days, and with that in mind, I've been doing my usual mulling over the possibilities for a few weeks to put together the sadly thorough examination of the 2008-09 award season that follows. Let's get into it. There are some major considerations to take into account. right off the top.

Like Leonardo DiCaprio, for instance, who is set to be the entertainer of the year. With performances in "Body of Lies" (Ridley Scott) and "Revolutionary Road" (Sam Mendes), DiCaprio is working with a duo of awards proven talent this yearr. Perhaps that will work against him, much like it did in 2006, and no major Oscar success will come knocking. But we'll wait until we see the performances. Each of them could be enticing.

This year's Best Picture Oscar victor Scott Rudin is back again, by the way, with "Revolutionary Road," recently inherited by Paramount Vantage and probably one of the true "frontrunners" this far out that we could put our finger on. The only other film in Vantage's arsenal is Edward Zwick's "Defiance," which could simply b a commercial success, but might find its way to multiple nods like "The Last Samurai" and "Blood Diamond" in recent years.


Elsewhere, if we're really going to play the "frontrunner game," it looks like Universal Pictures is in the driver's seat once again, this time with Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon." Does anyone think that Frank Langella isn't likely headed for Oscar glory as Richard Nixon here? Meanwhile, Uni has Clint Eastwood's "Changeling" (awards fodder for lead actress Angelina Jolie, if nothing else) and a little flick called "The Express," which could pull some sentiment here and there.

The next juggernaut to watch out for has to be DreamWorks' "The Soloist," from "Atonement" helmer Joe Wright. Word has it that Jamie Foxx has dropped a lot of weight to play a Juliard trained musician with dreams of performing at L.A.'s Disney Concert Hall, while Robert Downey, Jr. will support as LA Times columnist Steve Lopez. Watch out.

But also in the Paramount wheelhouse is David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," from a script that I know for a fact Eric Roth is quite proud of and, frankly, is giving me some strange vibes. This could be a GIANT in the awards season, with Brad Pitt starring and Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton in the periphery. And it could be a weeper, too.

The Weinstein Company has two shots at making their first stab at major Oscar success with Stephen Daldry's "The Reader," starring Kate Winslet (also set to have a great year), and Anthony Minghella's "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," which might offer a great role for Jill Scott. I'd bank on the former, if anything.


And speaking of Kidman, there is always Baz Luhrmann's "Australia," 20th Century Fox's first true shot at considerable awards success in quite some time. An epic set in the outback, this could be one to watch across the board. Hugh Jackman also stars.

Focus Features has Gus Van Sant's "Milk," a Harvey Milk biopic starring Sean Penn that may or may not prove too "artsy" for the Academy's taste, while New Line will have high hopes for Ed Harris' western "Appaloosa," starring Harris and this year's Best Actor nominee Viggo Mortensen. I'm personally looking forward to that one.

Then, of course, there are the blockbusters to consider. The top two daddies look to be "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," part of a franchise that's always good for sound, score and design categories, and "The Dark Knight," which could offer one of the most daring performances of the year from the late Heath Ledger (as the Joker). Supporting Actor honors could await him posthumously. Other tent poles to watch in various craft categories are "Jon Favreau's "Iron Man," Fox's "The Incredible Hulk," and the Wachowskis brothers' "Speed Racer."


And a final note on the indies. It seems Miramax Films, this year's big winner with "No Country for Old Men," has John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt" and Fernando Mereilles' "Blindness" on the slate, with the former looking like the real pic to watch. Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz will burn up the screen in "The Dying Animal," which might be good for performance categories, while Ryan Murphy will give it another go with his adaptation, "Dirty Tricks." And don't forget Sundance sensation "Hamlet 2," which was acquired by Focus Features.

Oh, and speaking of Focus Features...I don't yet know what to make of Steven Spderbergh's Che Guevera duo, "The Argentine" and "Guerilla," but they're worth keeping an eye on. Benicio Del Toro has to be considered someone to watch for a lead actor berth in one or the other. And the studio also has this year's golden boys on the slate with the Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading," starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt (another performer with a big year ahead of him).

So there we have it. A first stab at surveying the land ahead. It's not as in-depth as usual, but it'll do for now. So many things can and, certainly, will change that I'd prefer not drive myself crazy. Nevertheless, I have laid out my first set of prediction charts in all categories and present them to you now. But, mind you, they are to be taken with the biggest grain of salt imaginable. The only film from last year's year-in-advance column to survive until the end was "Michael Clayton." Meanwhile, films like "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Reservation Road" were considered great bets.


You see how this works?

So, enjoy the charts and the fallout coverage of the 2007-08 season. We'll be wrapping things up here within the week and, before long, it'll be time to do this whole song and dance all...over...again. For now, here's what I'm thinking:

Main Category Charts
Technical Category Charts
The Contenders (by category)
Year in Advance Winner Predictions


Kris, what do you suppose the odds are of AMPAS trying to shoehorn a critically well-regarded box office hit into there? Every year, I think it will happen, and every year, it doesn't. Will the record-low ratings have an effect or do you think the body genuinely doesn't care?

Also, is The Road 2009? I can't remember.

I'm keeping an eye on "The Road." It is filming now, and IMDb (not reliable) has Dimension releasing it in 2009, so we'll see. I could see it getting pushed over to Miramax, to be honest, which already has a thin 2008 slate.

As for the Academy's intentions regarding ratings, I just don't think it works that way. Either they'll like a film, or they won't.

Kris, if pielberg's "Trial of the Chicago 7" weren't delayed and came out this year, how high would you put it?

It was certainly designed to be a major player with a strong director, cast and screenplay. If by some miracle, it does come out this year, how much of an impact would you expect it to have?

Also, I find it pretty funny that "Burn After Reading" is nowhere to be found on the Best Pic/Best Director charts.

Spielberg's film was my nmero uno until the delay.

RE: Burn After Reading -- Well, I've read the script.

That makes sense.

And I'll start reading that
screenplay as soon as I'm done with "Synecdoche, New York".

You must have NEVER seen the Play "Doubt" because there is no possible way that ANYONE who has seen that play would put Amy Adams instead of Viola Davis. Viola has the better and meatier role.

No Spike Lee love? His war drama Miracle at St. Anna is coming out this year. Derek Luke, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Kerry Washington are all in it.

Where is Taraji P. Henson? She has a larger part than Tilda Swinton in Benjamin Button.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective will be a TV production.

You know, it's like clockwork. You put all that research into something and, invariably, someone has to be bitchy and play the "I know something you don't know" game. Grow up, Gwen. Or at least be aware of your tone.

I went with Adams on a whim. No, I haven't seen "Doubt." But I have read "Benjamin Button" and talk to Eric Roth pretty regularly, so you're dead wrong on at least one of your points.

I believe Winslet's role is a supporting on in The Reader. But, I may be wrong. It would make sense that it'll be campaigned there with Winslet also having Revolutionary Road.

Oh, and you think "The Lovely Bones" will be next year?

Nevermind I just saw that it's been changed to 09.

If Synecdoche, New York is coming out in 2008, that's gotta be the early favorite for Original Screenplay, no? I know Ed Zwick usually disappoints, but the book that Defiance is based on is really quite something, so I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out better than expected. The story might be more powerful than Zwick this time around. But it looks like a really fun year ahead.

Anyway, great stuff Kris, this kind of speculation is always a blast to read. And thanks for a great year of Oscar coverage, as usual.

WHat the hell are you talking about? I wasn't being bitchy at all. I'm just shocked that you put Amy Adams down instead of Viola Davis. It seems like most oscar bloggers ignore the minorities. Even Amy Adams fans who have seen the play say that she won't be nominated for that part.
There was a report from Hollywood reporter saying that The No. 1 Detective Agencies will be a BBC Tv production around easter.

I could be wrong about Benjamin Button, but my friend read the script and said that Tilda Swinton only has one scene.

Instead of ASSUMING and lashing out at someone. I suggest YOU grow up.

Once again, your tone is unnecessary. In any case, it doesn't really matter to me.

I haven't predicted Swinton, by the way. I've predicted Blanchett.

And ignoring minorities isn't exactly a conscious thing, so why even go there?

Noah: Thanks. Glad there are more than a few here who can take a year in advance column with the grain of salt that it is.

Kris, just curious if you've seen The Spiderwick Chronicles, and if so, your thoughts on it. I was pleasantly surprised by this film. the visual effects were pretty impressive, as was the films darker then expected tone. Anyway, thanks for the year in advance column.
I can't wait to see Benjamin Button, and The Dark Knight.

It's always fun to watch the awards season evolve and see which of our earliest predictions came true and which ones were far off.

I hope The Road does as well critically as No Country For Old Men. I'm reading the book now and it should fit John Hillcoat's style. I loved what he did with the proposition. Hope he keeps a lot of the same crew like cinematographer.

Also, I've been wondering about a supporting actor oscar for Heath Ledger as well. If it's as good as we're hearing, he could have a good shot at getting that award. Has any actor ever received posthumous recognition for a particular film at the oscars?

Keep up the good work!

Just wanted to add, I saw 4 clips of WALL.E at wondercon this pass weekend, and they were REALLY GOOD. I predict that wall.e will be the biggest movie of the year box ofice wise... the response from the audience was very positive. In this case, I make the bold prediction that this animated film may be in contention for a best picture nomination, despite all the setbacks with having the animated film category.

Cate Blanchett's role can go either leading or Supporting...

I think she goes to leading and Swinton or Henson goes to supporting...

If Keira(Atonement) can go leading, Cate definitely goes to leading for this role... She even get nom with rotten movie...

Awesome write up Kris, I love that you are ready to put this up so soon after the Oscars, I still cannot find my feet. My interest in "Milk" is growing by the day and "Burn After Reading".

what about "Seven Pounds" with Will Smith? I know some critics didn't like "Pursuit of Happyness", but it was a big hit and got Smith an oscar nomination. Also the academy may want to honor more popular pics after the terrible ratings.

"Seven Pounds" is represented in the Oscar charts for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay. It could be a contender, but then again, Columbia Pictures isn't the most savvy Oscar studio as of late. It's definitely on my radar, though.

To Gwen: Davis does have a meaty role, but it is also a cameo. I'd love to see it happen, but don't blast Kris for putting Adams. If YOU knew anything about the cinematic adaptation, you'd realize that not only has Adams' part been made a lot juicier (and Oscar loves characters that set the conflict of the story into motion), but a few characters have been added--including the kid at the center of the story. For those who don't know, I've read that he was never present during the play. This should be interesting....

Hey Kris, nice article. I'm rather excited to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", but I do have doubts about it's Oscar success. It would be great, but it really reeks of being "The Fountain" all over again. However, I could certainly see Fincher nab a lone director slot and definitely see Roth get a screenplay nom.

Also, Frost/Nixon...I actually am iffy on it. It's not so much Howard at the helm, but more so how the play was expanded. With all of those extra characters...hmm. What I have heard though is that Sheen is FANTASTIC. In fact, I've read a handful of screening reports that say he outshines Langella and nails Frost, while Langella is unconvincing in the beginning. And from the structure of the story, I have a feeling Sheen might be the lead and Langella supporting. What are your opinions on those possibilities?

Trapley, while you may have read the BURN AFTER READING script, just remember the Coens just won Best Picture and Best Director for a film you didn't care for and never believed in. In the interest of fairness shouldn't at least Malkovich and the Screenplay be somewhere on your list?

Also Southpaw, Peter Finch won Best Actor poshumously, but I believe he died after he was nominated.

I should read the charts before I spout off like a dork. I see that Screenplay and Malkovich are there. I thought you'd dismissed it altogether. My apologies.

Hi, I´m from BRAZIL, and sorry for my terrible english. I think BLINDENESS (Fernando Meirelles) really stronger for OSCAR 2009. It must be nominated for Picture, Director, Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Actress (Juliane Moore), Actor in Supporting Role (Gael Garcia Bernal), Script, Cinematographer, Edition and, maybe, score. Don´t substime its. Other good movie is HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (Mike Leigh). It competed in Berlim with good reviews

I wouldn't count out Chicago 7,even if it is delayed. Getting a late summer start didn't stop Spielberg last time, and this should be considerably easier to shoot.

I would also take BODY of LIES under more consideration (but not too much as I don't want to jinx it). Same with Valkyrie.

Props for noting Downey Jr in SOLOIST and WALL-E for Original Screenplay. I was thinking something similar.

Last I saw, THE ROAD was still set to come out later this year.

In spite of the delay and cast changes, I would also include STATE OF PLAY. I have a hard time believing that it couldn't be ready for a late December release a la Traffic (which it has some similarities to).

BTW, where's Jim Sheridan's BROTHERS?

All in all, this awards season looks a little better than last year. Way more variety. Summer looks good too. I'll be back on the Blog next week after my school papers are done (I HATE the quarter system at Ohio State, I miss Youngstown State's semesters). I look forward to sparring and siding with you again this year ;).

I'm not counting out Chicago 7, only taking it off until it is at least officially announced as a film set to even be MADE. As of now, it isn't "delayed." SPielberg has flat dropped out of directing it.

Dimension is set to release "The Road" in 2009, but like I said, Miramax has a weak slate, so I could see the film getting a bump to this year and a slide over to Miramax and out of Dimension.

I'm waiting to see what happens with State of Play. I talk to Kevin Macdonald from time to time, so I'm keeping an eye on the film.

Haven't considered Brothers, but hell, you're bound to find at least ONE film in the mix that I missed. Hell, all that research? One film? What can I say. I'm not perfect -- BUT, Sheridan's last wasn't exactly a knockout. Personally, I think he's hit or miss.

Good luck on those papers. This semester at USC is kicking my ass.

Kris, terrific site! Especially enjoy your reviews. Question: I noticed for "Dancing With Shiva" you picked Anne Hathaway and Jenny Lumet's script as potential contenders. But I've also been hearing strong things about Debra Winger. Think there's a shot there in Supporting Actress?


The role of Mrs. Muller is also being expanded for the film. So I would still bet on Viola moreso than Amy, but to each his own.

could we be at a new stage of oscar 'strategery' with big films from major directors? for example, studios announce a 2009 date knowing that they'll bump it into December 2008 in october and blitz it for the oscars?

This keeps all the prognostication stress/weight/scrutiny off of big films and gives everyone else enough rope to hang themselves or collapse under the weight of all that oscar buzz.

So the Road, Lovely Bones and Chicago 7 are all 'not 2008' films, but they could be positioned to make that Million Dollar Baby, munich, Letters from Iwo Jima esque move. And when you have projects that big or talent that big behind the camera it would really help keeping the heat off the movies until the studio is ready to show them.

A new way to compete without having to compete.

I put up my year-in-advance predix for kicks too. It's amazing to think that most categories will only go 1/5.

Interesting call on Heath Ledger for supporting actor, since "summer movies" don't usually show up in the top eight races. But if the performance lives up to the hype it's getting, you may be on to something...

when you think of it, the role of Batman should be classic oscar bait, what with the natural split personality of the character. So if there's a Ledger train coming (and hell it was being talked about before his death) for the Joker. Bale should also get talked about for a lead nom as well. Fuck Johnny Depp got a nod for Pirates and Bale is just as overdue as Depp was. I say if Dark Knight is good enough Bale is a solid contender in leading actor. and he should be on a shortlist just based on his other performances and the general excellence of his work in Batman Begins

I think Ledger stands a very good chance of being nominated for "The Dark Knight." Only one other actor who has won an Oscar posthumously is Peter Finch, who won Best Actor for "Network" in 1976.

James Dean was also nominated posthumously...who many are comparing Ledger to, so I think it's a definite possibility.

I agree Matt - Ledger has a lot of buzz with his role in the Dark Knight, and he may very well end up with an O. nominaion, but it could just be wishful thinking. When the film is released, we''ll see how good he really is in it.

"I'm not counting out Chicago 7, only taking it off until it is at least officially announced as a film set to even be MADE. As of now, it isn't "delayed." SPielberg has flat dropped out of directing it."

Corran, you are from OSU too? What's your major?

Your information is wrong, Kris. Spielberg never even considered droping the project. In fact, I hear he's pretty pissed that he has to delay it because he literally cannot wait to start filming. The latest rumors say that if SAG stirke doesn't happen and Sorkin is able to finish the script, he's looking at the June start date.

Fair enough. I only read the first report that he'd dropped out and didn't follow up. If it makes a June start date, I'll consider it. For now, it stays off because there is nothing hard to go on. But, as I said, up until the early news, the film was #1 on my charts throughout.

On a side note, I think it may end up a 2009 release regardless of when he starts shooting, just based on how heavy the Dreamworks/Paramount slate is at the moment. Or perhaps something else will get the bump.

Kris, what are your thoughts on The Young Victoria, Happy Go-Lucky, Grey Gardens, and The Time Traveler's Wife. I noticed they weren't on your predictions (I think). I included them on my predictions (which are near complete), but did you omit them due to an uncertainty of release date or of Oscar heft?

Other than that, excellent job. I wasn't able to even begin thinking about my predictions until after the ceremony, so kudos on your early research and great compilation!

I hear some impressive reports about the John Malkovich performance in Burn After Reading. It's well portrayed and intense I hear. I would think he'd be a close favorite in the support category. I also would think Richard Eyre and his film The Other Man with Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Antonio Banderas, will have some buzz attached to it much like his other scandal flick, Notes On A Scandal did. As for another animation film, Bolt has a nice premise to it. And finally to the person that said Langella gets overshined by Sheen. Well, he did win the Tony for the very same performance to which Sheen did NOT outshine him. So I doubt that will happen on film. And I'll state it right here, that he's going to be the favorite to win the Oscar when it nears award season. It's a good year for Best Actor again.


Body Of Lies
The Changeling
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button


Leonardo DiCaprio- Body Of Lies
Ralph Fiennes- The Reader
Frank Langella- Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn- Milk
Brad Pitt- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button


Angelina Jolie- The Changeling
Nicole Kidman- Australia
Julianne Moore- Blindness
Meryl Streep- Doubt
Kate Winslet- Revelutionary Road

Supporting Actor:

Kenneth Brannagh- Valkyrie
Robert Downey Jr.- The Soloist
Heath Ledger- The Dark Knight
John Malkovich- Burn After Reading
Michael Sheen- Frost/Nixon

Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams- Doubt
Kathy Bates- Revelutionary Road
Francis McDormund- Miss Pedigrew
Carice Van Houten- Body Of Lies
Kate Winslet- The Reader


Clint Eastwood- The Changeling
Stephen Daldry- The Reader
Ron Howard- Frost/Nixon
Ridley Scott- Body Of Lies
Gus Van Zandt- Milk

I'm not buying Defiance as an Oscar film. While Edward Zwick is a solid filmmaker (of the popcorn flick variety), his films are always more hamfisted and manipulative than they are examples of high filmmaking. Blood Diamond was a modest success with the Academy, but it didn't strike a big chord when time came for voters to fill out their final ballots. The Academy, i think, just doesn't buy Zwick as a serious, major force in the directing community.

Also, call me crazy, but Defiance appears, potentially, to be more unintentionally funny than anything else. Maybe it's just that Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell trying to do the Russian accents seems ridiculous to me, but the trailer was REALLY over-the-top, and I feel like the actual film could be a trainwreck.

But those are just my two cents.

I disagree completely. I think Zwick is one of only very few Oscar nodless directors in the industry who should have been nominated many times before for their work.

If Defiance is as good as his best work (Glory, Courage Under Fire) I can easily see him being nominated.

Seriously, if someone as terrible (ok, mediocre) as Ron Howard can get nominated and even win, whose to say that Zwick will be overlooked? (And on that note if Howard gets nominated one more for Frost/Nixon I'm going to get majorly pissed - unless, by some miracle, the movie is really that excellent).

I also think that the trailer for Defiance looks really really good and very powerful. This project wasn't really on my radar before but now it's one of my most anticipated movies of the year).

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2008 Year in Advance Predictions

UPDATED: 2/25/2008

Main Charts | Tech Charts

[Motion Picture]

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”



“Revolutionary Road”

“The Soloist”


David Fincher
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Ron Howard

Gus Van Sant

Sam Mendes
“Revolutionary Road”

Joe Wright
“The Soloist”

[Actor in a Leading Role]

Benicio Del Toro
“The Argentine”

Jamie Foxx
“The Soloist”

Frank Langella

Sean Penn

Brad Pitt
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

[Actress in a Leading Role]

Vera Farmiga
“Nothing But the Truth”

Angelina Jolie

Julianne Moore

Meryl Streep

Kate Winslet
“Revolutionary Road”

[Actor in a Supporting Role]

Josh Brolin

Russell Crowe
“Body of Lies”

Robert Downey, Jr.
“The Soloist”

Heath Ledger
“The Dark Knight”

Michael Sheen

[Actress in a Supporting Role]

Amy Adams

Kathy Bates
“Revolutionary Road”

Cate Blanchett
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Catherine Keener
“The Soloist”

Carice van Houten
“Body of Lies”

[Writing, Adapted Screenplay]

“Body of Lies”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”



“Revolutionary Road”

[Writing, Original Screenplay]


“Hamlet 2”


“The Soloist”


[Art Direction]



“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull”

“Red Cliff”

“Revolutionary Road”



“The Dark Knight”


“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull”

“Revolutionary Road”

[Costume Design]

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”


“The Other Boleyn Girl”

“Red Cliff”

“Revolutionary Road”

[Film Editing]

“Body of Lies”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”



“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull”


“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“Red Cliff”

[Music, Original Score]

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull”

“The Soloist”

“Revolutionary Road”


[Music, Original Song]

coming soon

[Sound Editing]


“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull”

“Iron Man”

“Speed Racer”


[Sound Mixing]


“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull”


“The Chronicles of Narnia:
Prince Caspian”


[Visual Effects]

“The Chronicles of Narnia:
Prince Caspian”

“The Incredible Hulk”

“Iron Man”

[Animated Feature Film]


“Kung Fu Panda”


[Foreign Language Film]

coming soon

[Documentary, Features]

coming soon

[Documentary, Short Subjects]

coming soon

[Short Film, Animated]

coming soon

[Short Film, Live Action]

coming soon