OSCAR PREDICTION CHARTS — October 20, 2008

NUTSHELL: Despite Universal’s best attempts at spreading the word that “Frost/Nixon” had some scattered positive assessments out of the BFI London Festival, there is little argument that a lukewarm feeling has emerged (albeit from the bitter expectancy of the Brits). What was once considered, for better or worse, a sure bet has undoubtedly become something of a question mark in the season. It’s not over till it’s over, of course. Meanwhile, some negative whispers on the long-lead winds have painted “Milk” as something of a “greatest hits” biopic. It isn’t necessarily “bad” buzz, but it’s enough to look elsewhere for “frontrunner” status, which is where “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (increasingly considered the one to beat) step in. Everyone is still looking to “The Dark Knight” as a possibility as the season continues to unfold.

Column: “Holding back”

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

DIRECTING
1 David Fincher
“The Curious case of Benjamin Button”
up
2 Danny Boyle
“Slumdog Millionaire”
up
3 Gus Van Sant
“Milk”
down
4 Christopher Nolan
“The Dark Knight”
up
5 Ron Howard
“Frost/Nixon”
down
6 Sam Mendes
“Revolutionary Road”
up
7 Clint Eastwood
“Gran Torino” (or “Changeling”)
up
8 Baz Luhrmann
“Australia”
down
9 Edward Zwick
“Defiance”
up
10 Jonathan Demme
“Rachel Getting Married”
NEW

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

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
1 Kate Winslet
“Revolutionary Road”
up
2 Meryl Streep
“Doubt” (or “Mamma Mia!”)
up
3 Kristin Scott Thomas
“I’ve Loved You So Long”
down
4 Angelina Jolie
“Changling”
down
5 Anne Hathaway
“Rachel Getting Married”
up
6 Sally Hawkins
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
7 Nicole Kidman
“Australia”
down
8 Cate Blanchett
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
up
9 Melissa Leo
“Frozen River”
down
10 Michelle Williams
“Wendy and Lucy”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1 Heath Ledger
“The Dark Knight”
2 Michael Shannon
“Revolutionary Road”
up
3 Philip Seymour Hoffman
“Doubt”
up
4 James Franco
“Milk”
up
5 Robert Downey Jr.
“Tropic Thunder”
up
6 Liev Schrieber
“Defiance”
NEW
7 Eddie Marsan
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
up
8 Bill Irwin
“Rachel Getting Married”
NEW
9 Ralph Fiennes
“The Duchess”
NEW
10 Christian McKay
“Me and Orson Welles”
down

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

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
1 “Slumdog Millionaire”
Written by Simon Beaufoy
Based on the book “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup
2 “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
up
3 “Revolutionary Road”
Written by Justin Haythe
Based on the short story by Richard Yates
up
4 “Doubt”
Written by John Patrick Shanley
Based on his play
up
5 “Frost/Nixon”
Written by Peter Morgan
Based on his play
down
6 “The Dark Knight”
Written by Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Story by David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Based on characters created by Bob Kane
up
7 “The Reader”
Written by David Hare
Based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink
down
8 “Defiance”
Written by Clay Frohman, Edward Zwick
Based on the book by Nechama Tec
down
9 “Elegy”
Written by Nicholas Meyer
Based on the novel “The Dying Animal” by Philip Roth
NEW
10 “Body of Lies”
Written by William Monahan, Steven Zaillian
Based on the book by David Ignatius

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
1 “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Written by Woody Allen
up
2 “Rachel Getting Married”
Written by Jenny Lumet
up
3 “The Visitor”
Written by Thomas McCarthy
up
4 “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Written by Mike Leigh
up
5 “Milk”
Written by Dustin Lance Black
down
6 “Gran Torino”
Written by Nick Schenk
7 “Australia”
Written by Stuart Beattie, Baz Luhrmann
up
8 “Last Chance Harvey”
Written by Joel Hopkins
9 “W.”
Written by Stanley Weiser
NEW
10 “The Wrestler”
Written by Robert Siegel
NEW

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