OSCAR PREDICTION CHARTS — December 2, 2008

NUTSHELL: As contenders continue to drop like flies, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stretch the Best Picture race to 10 contenders. This week, “Gran Torino” joins “The Reader” as two of the fallen, while the still unseen “Seven Pounds” pokes back into the game if only because the vacancy rate is skyrocketing. All of this is good news for one film above all others: “The Dark Knight,” finding its way into the top five in both Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay this week. Various shifts forward for “Milk” and “Slumdog Millionaire” throughout, but other contenders are also getting serious consideration in lieu of a healthy number of hopefuls. Richard Jenkins, Grant Nieporte, “Defiance” and “Gomorrah” come to mind. Meanwhile, a surge for “Bolt” at the Annie awards has put it in the sleeper position to upset “Waltz with Bashir” for a nod should that branch find Ari Folman’s film a bit avant garde for its taste (but that isn’t likely).

Column: no column this week

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BEST PICTURE
1 “Slumdog Millionaire”
Fox Searchlight Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures
up
2 “Milk”
Focus Features
up
3 “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Paramount Pictures
down
4 “Frost/Nixon”
Universal Pictures
5 “The Dark Knight”
Warner Bros. Pictures
up
6 “Revolutionary Road”
Paramount Vantage
down
7 “Australia”
20th Century Fox
up
8 “Defiance”
Paramount Vantage
up
9 “The Wrestler”
Fox Searchlight Pictures
down
10 “Seven Pounds”
Columbia Pictures
NEW

DIRECTING
1 Danny Boyle
“Slumdog Millionaire”
up
2 Gus Van Sant
“Milk”
up
3 David Fincher
“The Curious case of Benjamin Button”
down
4 Christopher Nolan
“The Dark Knight”
5 Darren Aronofsky
“The Wrestler”
up
6 Ron Howard
“Frost/Nixon”
7 Sam Mendes
“Revolutionary Road”
down
8 Baz Luhrmann
“Australia”
down
9 Edward Zwick
“Defiance”
up
10 Gabriele Muccino
“Seven Pounds”
NEW

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
1 Sean Penn
“Milk”
2 Mickey Rourke
“The Wrestler”
3 Frank Langella
“Frost/Nixon”
up
4 Leonardo DiCaprio
“Revolutionary Road”
up
5 Clint Eastwood
“Gran Torino”
down
6 Josh Brolin
“W.”
up
7 Richard Jenkins
“The Visitor”
up
8 Brad Pitt
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
down
9 Benicio Del Toro
“Che”
down
10 Will Smith
“Seven Pounds”
NEW

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
1 Cate Blanchett
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
2 Kate Winslet
“Revolutionary Road”
3 Meryl Streep
“Doubt” (or “Mamma Mia!”)
4 Anne Hathaway
“Rachel Getting Married”
5 Kristin Scott Thomas
“I’ve Loved You So Long”
6 Angelina Jolie
“Changling”
7 Sally Hawkins
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
8 Kate Beckinsale
“Nothing But the Truth”
9 Melissa Leo
“Frozen River”
NEW
10 Michelle Williams
“Wendy and Lucy”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1 Heath Ledger
“The Dark Knight”
2 Philip Seymour Hoffman
“Doubt”
3 Dev Patel
“Slumdog Millionaire”
4 Michael Shannon
“Revolutionary Road”
5 Josh Brolin
“Milk”
6 Robert Downey Jr.
“Tropic Thunder”
7 James Franco
“Milk”
NEW
8 Eddie Marsan
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
down
9 Bill Irwin
“Rachel Getting Married”
down
10 Liev Schrieber
“Defiance”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1 Penélope Cruz
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
2 Taraji P. Henson
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
3 Viola Davis
“Doubt”
4 Rosemarie DeWitt
“Rachel Getting Married”
5 Marisa Tomei
“The Wrestler”
6 Kate Winslet
“The Reader”
7 Kathy Bates
“Revolutionary Road”
8 Amy Adams
“Doubt”
9 Hiam Abbas
“The Visitor”
10 Elsa Zylberstein
“I’ve Loved You So Long”

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
1 “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Written by Eric Roth; Screen Story by Eric Roth, Robin Swicord
Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2 “Slumdog Millionaire”
Written by Simon Beaufoy
Based on the book “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup
3 “Revolutionary Road”
Written by Justin Haythe
Based on the short story by Richard Yates
4 “Frost/Nixon”
Written by Peter Morgan
Based on his play
up
5 “The Dark Knight”
Written by Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Story by David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Based on characters created by Bob Kane
up
6 “Doubt”
Written by John Patrick Shanley
Based on his play
down
7 “Gomorrah”
Written by Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni Di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudiso, Roberto Saviano
Based on the book by Roberto Saviano
7 “The Reader”
Written by David Hare
Based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink
down
9 “The Class”
Written by François Bégaudeau, Robin Campillo, Laurent Cantet
Based on the book by François Bégaudeau
10 “Defiance”
Written by Clay Frohman, Edward Zwick
Based on the book by Nechama Tec

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
1 “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Written by Woody Allen
2 “Rachel Getting Married”
Written by Jenny Lumet
3 “Milk”
Written by Dustin Lance Black
up
4 “The Visitor”
Written by Thomas McCarthy
down
5 “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Written by Mike Leigh
down
6 “The Wrestler”
Written by Robert Siegel
up
7 “Seven Pounds”
Written by Grant Nieporte
NEW
8 “I’ve Loved You So Long”
Written by Philippe Claudel
NEW
9 “Australia”
Written by Stuart Beattie, Baz Luhrmann
down
10 “Changeling”
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
down

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
1 “WALL-E”
Walt Disney Pictures
2 “Kung Fu Panda”
DreamWorks SKG
up
3 “Waltz with Bashir”
Sony Pictures Classics
down
4 “Bolt”
Walt Disney Pictures
up
5 “Horton Hears a Who!”
20th Century Fox
down
6 “The Tale of Despereaux”
Universal Pictures
down
7 “Igor”
The Weinstein Company
8 “Space Chimps”
20th Century Fox
9 “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa”
DreamWorks SKG
10 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”
Warner Bros. Pictures