OSCAR PREDICTION CHARTS — September 15, 2008

NUTSHELL: Movers and shakers on the charts this week include “Gran Torino,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “I’ve Loved You So Long” and “The Wrestler” for various reasons, while the lead actor categories are packed to the brim with potential, making a choice of 10 nearly impossible. As IFC Films gears up a Best Actor push for Benicio Del Toro in “Che,” however, I remain skeptical that the performance can dominate in the category with the film being delivered in two pieces. Aside from Academy members having to decide between the films for their vote, will the distribution approach dampen the impact of the actor’s work? Meanwhile, Josh Brolin falls off the supporting actor chart as it seems co-star James Franco could be the real stand-out from the “Milk” ensemble, but perhaps he can nudge back into the lead actor fray soon enough for his heavily-anticipated work in “W.” Frontrunners remain the still unseen “Frost/Nixon” and “Milk” across the board.

Column: “Looking for quality in the festival world”

Sort charts by: Main Categories/Technical Categories

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

DIRECTING
1 Gus Van Sant
“Milk”
2 Ron Howard
“Frost/Nixon”
up
3 David Fincher
“The Curious case of Benjamin Button”
up
4 Joe Wright
“The Soloist”
down
5 Danny Boyle
“Slumdog Millionaire”
NEW
6 Christopher Nolan
“The Dark Knight”
up
7 Baz Luhrmann
“Australia”
down
8 Clint Eastwood
“Gran Torino” (or “Changeling”)
down
9 Darren Aronofsky
“The Wrestler”
NEW
10 Edward Zwick
“Defiance”
down

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
1 Mickey Rourke
“The Wrestler”
up
2 Frank Langella
“Frost/Nixon”
down
3 Sean Penn
“Milk”
down
4 Clint Eastwood
“Gran Torino”
up
5 Robert Downey Jr.
“The Soloist”
NEW
6 Brad Pitt
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
down
7 Leonardo DiCaprio
“Revolutionary Road” (or “Body of Lies”)
down
8 Michael Sheen
“Frost/Nixon”
up
9 Viggo Mortensen
“The Road” (or “Good”)
down
10 Benicio Del Toro*
“The Argentine” (or “Guerrilla”)
NEW

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

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1 Heath Ledger
“The Dark Knight”
2 Kodi Smit-McPhee
“The Road”
up
3 Michael Shannon
“Revolutionary Road”
up
4 Philip Seymour Hoffman
“Doubt”
NEW
5 James Franco
“Milk”
NEW
6 Jamie Foxx
“The Soloist”
NEW
7 Russell Crowe
“Body of Lies”
down
8 Christian McKay
“Me and Orson Welles”
NEW
9 Peter O’Toole
“Dean Spanley”
NEW
10 Eddie Marsan
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
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”
NEW
4 Viola Davis
“Doubt”
up
5 Elsa Zylberstein
“I’ve Loved You So Long”
NEW
6 Catherine Keener
“The Soloist” (or “Synecdoche, New York”)
up
7 Elizabeth Banks
“W.”
up
8 Rosemarie Dewitt
“Rachel Getting Married”
up
9 Vera Farmiga
“Nothing But the Truth”
down
10 Kathy Bates
“Revolutionary Road”
down

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
1 “Slumdog Millionaire”
Written by Simon Beaufoy
Based on the book “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup
up
2 “Frost/Nixon”
Written by Peter Morgan
Based on his play
3 “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
4 “Revolutionary Road”
Written by Justin Haythe
Based on the short story by Richard Yates
up
5 “The Road”
Written by Joe Penhall
Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
up
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 “Doubt”
Written by John Patrick Shanley
Based on his play
up
8 “The Reader”
Written by David Hare
Based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink
down
9 “Body of Lies”
Written by William Monahan, Steven Zaillian
Based on the book by David Ignatius
10 “Defiance”
Written by Clay Frohman, Edward Zwick
Based on the book by Nechama Tec
down

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

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