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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Talking Shop with Gerard: What to Expect on Tuesday


The days are waning on Phase One of the 2006-2007 film awards season. Prognosticators are shuffling to prepare final predictions, movie-goers are rushing to see the films they might have missed that may end up nominated for Academy Awards, and internet personalities talk about the whole process via instant messenger.

As In Contention certainly isn't an operation I maintain on my own, I felt it appropriate to give "Tech Support" columnist Gerard Kennedy the space for his own list of predictions in all categories. Last week we had a nice chat about the goings-on and what to expect from Tuesday's announcement, and what follows is a transcript of that chat. We tried this once before prior to the HFPA announcement, and I've been itching to do it again.

You'll find Gerard's final predictions scattered throughout, but I'm still working through the kinks on a lot of my own ponderings. So my final predictions will be held until Monday's Oscar column. But you can read between the lines of my thoughts here easily enough.

Also be sure to check back tomorrow for a special pre-nominations installment of "Tech Support," where Gerard will reveal his final predictions in the areas his has focused on throughout the season here at In Contention. Until then, enjoy the chat.


Kristopher Tapley: So with the PGA and the DGA matching up and the Best Picture line-up pretty much solidified in the eyes of most, I have to ask…are you predicting a lone director?

Gerard Kennedy: Paul Greengrass (for “United 93”), over Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for “Little Miss Sunshine.” Though Bill Condon missing would not surprise me at all.

KT: I’m thinking a 5/5 line-up right now, but if I get rid of someone, I guess it’ll be Dayton and Faris – but that DGA nomination was both well-deserved and telling overall. I’m not sure it would be for Greengrass, though.

GK: Clint Eastwood and Robert Altman would be my other considerations. I’m very doubtful on Guillermo Del Toro and I’m not buying Alfonso Cuaron at all.

KT: I’m considering going with Eastwood, but honestly, given the reaction at the guilds, I don’t think it would be for “Letters from Iwo Jima.” If they want to recognize the double-bill achievement, I’m beginning to think they’d nominate him for “Flags of Our Fathers.”

Gerard's Final Predictions for Best Picture
"The Departed"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"The Queen"
(alt: "United 93")

Best Director
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, "Babel"
Martin Scorsese, "The Departed"
Bill Condon, "Dreamgirls"
Stephen Frears, "The Queen"
Paul Greengrass, "United 93"
(alt: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, "Little Miss Sunshine")

KT: How about Best Actor? I’m thinking I’ll stick with the staples: Leonardo DiCaprio (for “The Departed”), Ryan Gosling, Peter O’Toole, Will Smith and Forest Whitaker.

GK: Same here.

KT: It feels wrong, though. I feel like Leo could split so easily. And honestly, I have this weird feeling Daniel Craig could get in!

GK: Sacha Baron Cohen is the biggest upset possibility, but that feels so wrong.


KT: Well, I can’t imagine any actor taking that performance seriously. And he’d have gotten a SAG nod if there was any traction. They love their comedies.

GK: The SAG is what really made me think he was out, but it’s still by far the most taled about/seen performanceof the others. Aaron Eckhart would be my shocker guess.

KT: If only.

Gerard's Final Predictions for Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Departed"
Ryan Gosling, "Half Nelson"
Peter O'Toole, "Venus"
Will Smith, "The Pursuit of Happyness"
Forest Whitaker, "The Last King of Scotland"
(alt.: Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat")

KT: Well how about the easiest category to predict…ever? Best Actress. Should we bother even analyzing it?

GK: Best Actress is full of five locks, and I’m pretty conservative with the use of that term.

Gerard's Final Predictions for Best Actress
Penelope Cruz, "Volver"
Judi Dench, "Notes on a Scandal"
Helen Mirren, "The Queen"
Meryl Streep, "The Devil Wears Prada"
Kate Winslet, "Little Children"
(alt: Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Sherrybaby")

KT: Best Supporting Actor? What a cluster fuck, right? I guess Eddie Murphy is the standout, then Alan Arkin, who I think can actually contend for the win over Murphy if the campaign switches to focusing on him.

GK: Agreed.

KT: Djimon Hounsou seems pretty solid.


GK: I actually feel Jack Nicholson is more assured the nod.

KT: I don’t know, that SAG miss has me antsy on Jack. He’s actually in my #5 spot right now.

GK: It strikes me as a Maggie-Smith-in-“Gosford Park”-bizarro SAG miss.

KT: Possibly. Jackie Earle Haley rounds out my list.

GK: I’m rounding it out with Haley and Hounsou as well. Hounsou has just scored in all the right places, and Haley’s critical tally is so impressive. And it’s a great story.

Gerard's Final Predictions for Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, "Little Miss Sunshine"
Jackie Earle Haley, "Little Children"
Djimon Hounsou, "Blood Diamond"
Eddie Murphy, "Dreamgirls"
Jack Nicholson, "The Departed"
(alt.: Michael Sheen, "The Queen")

KT: Well Best Supporting Actress is pretty solid in four slots, wouldn’t you say? Jennifer Hudson, Cate Blanchett, Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi?

GK: I don’t know. I have the nagging suspicion one of the “Babel” ladies could miss, just because it would be odd for two unknowns in the same film to score. But everyone seems to love them. But yes, I’m predicting those four.

GK: My “limb” prediction is Toni Collette (in “Little Miss Sunshine”).

KT: Over Abigail Breslin?

GK: Yeah.

KT: I think I’ve got Collette at #6, but it’s a good call.


GK: She’s in the right film and seems to be a well-respected, well-liked actress, and one who has been nominated surprisingly before for a Best Picture nominee. That said, Breslin is probably the safer bet, though I doubt sag will match up 5/5 in two different categories.

KT: Well, they usually do well with the ladies regardless. Maybe both Collette and Breslin could get in, bumping one of the “Babel” ladies per your hunch? It isn’t uncommon for two nominees to come from a comedy in this category. But then, what about Breslin pulling a real shocker and getting in for lead, like Keisha Castle-Hughes in “Whale Rider.” Now THAT would get the blood flowing!

GK: Someone would have to receive a nasty snub.

KT: Well I long for some sort of excitement.

Gerard's Final Predictions for Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, "Babel"
Cate Blanchett, "Notes on a Scandal"
Toni Collette, "Little Miss Sunshine"
Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"
Rinko Kikuchi, "Babel"
(alt: Abigail Breslin, "Little Miss Sunshine")

KT: How about Best Original Screenplay?

GK: “Babel,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Queen” are locked. “United 93” is the sort of critical fave that sneaks in. It’s not a script-heavy film per se, but the WGA and BAFTA nominations make me think Greengrass will score anyway.

KT: See, I disagree completely. I think the “United 93” screenplay is miraculous. It’s SO script-heavy, driven completely by dialogue – and REALISTIC dialogue. I consider it one of the most undervalued scripts of the year.

GK: Well I personally would nominate it, but despite the very tight structure, many would say “I don’t remember it for its words,” or some such nonsense. “Pan’s Labyrinth” would round out my list, though. But the fantasy gives me hesitation.

KT: I may go with “Volver” over “Pan’s.” It’s a very unique and masterful screenplay, if, at least in my view, and overrated film on the whole. “The Lives of Others” is a threat, too. And of course, “Stranger than Fiction” is lurking.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Best...shot...of...the...year.)

GK: “Fiction” perfectly fits the mold of the WGA-but-not-Oscar nominee. I reckon a foreign entry will knock it out.

Gerard's Final Predictions for Best Original Screenplay
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"The Queen"
"United 93"
(alt: "Stranger than Fiction")

KT: Well, comedies are usually the first thing to go at the WGA. Which brings me to “Thank You for Smoking” and Best Adapted Screenplay. I feel like Jason Reitman’s script is dancing on the edge, and that should not be the case. “The Devil Wears Prada” should be in the midst of a death fall, yet there it is, largely the #2 candidate behind “The Departed.” How…did…this…happen??

GK: It’s bizarre. And this category is all over the place when you think about it.

KT: I kind of thought “The Illusionist” could get in until I watched it again this week. Such a bad script.

GK: Yeah, it’s a really bad script.

KT: I’m sold on “Little Children” now, but “Notes on a Scandal” needs some help. “Children of Men” won the Scripter award, but that’s not saying a lot considering it missed out on a WGA nomination. I think “Dreamgirls” is hobbling, but it might just make it in.

GK: I feel like “The Last King of Scotland” could surprise.


KT: Me too, and talk about the one script that deserves to win the whole thing.

GK: “Notes” would be my #6, and it makes more sense on paper than “Last King,” but I think Whitaker and Peter Morgan love can push the script in there.

KT: Ballsy, kid.

Gerard's Final Predictions for Best Adapted Screenplay
"The Departed"
"The Devil Wears Prada"
"The Last King of Scotland"
"Little Children"
"Thank You for Smoking"
(alt: "Notes on a Scandal")

KT: Well this has been another refreshing bout of brain-spillage. Let’s revisit this post-nominations and see how we view the winners shaking down.

GK: Looking forward to it.

You can, as always, check out Gerard's thorough technical category analysis at "Tech Support" each and every week. And again, check back Monday for the final pre-nominations Oscar column and my personal rundown of final predictions.


I still don't understand how anyone in their right mind can even suggest that Alan Arkin is a lock for an Oscar nom. And I don't just mean bloggers but also film award groups. I love Arkin, but I just saw Sunshine and he's hardly in it, and the parts that he's in, they're nothing special. I'd like to see Marky Mark or even Baldwin.

I'm personally still hoping that Brad Pitt will get caught in the purported Babel surge. I've been considering Djimon Hounsou's spot the most vulnerable, with Pitt, Michael Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, and maybe even James McAvoy (wishful thinking) posed as threats.

United 93 has as much a screenplay as Borat does. When it comes to Original Screenplay, Stranger than Fiction seems better suited for the category.

But U93 needs some sort of nom, right?

WorldofKJ, do you have any idea what goes into writing a screenplay?

Hey guys please do a fun column on the Razzies too. Maybe just an article. It will let off the pent up steam before the Oscar nominations.

The frontrunners this year according to me are:

Date Movie
The Da Vinci Code
The Convenant

I do not understand all the LMS love. It's a "cute" movie - that's how everyone describes it. It's not "genius." It's not "epic." It's not "amazing." It's not particularly "unique." It's not much of anything except "cute." Why would the Academy or the PGA for that matter make a "cute" movie the best picture of the year? A movie should not be rewarded best picture for good marketing.

Doesn't it seem to you that your Oscar predictions match SAG too closely? Never has the SAG gone 5/5 in three categories, and you might say Leonardo DiCaprio for a different role makes it 4/5, but still it's the same actor. It just seems too dull to assume that Jack Nicholson will be the only one left off SAG that will be an Oscar nominee.

Leo for a different role makes it 4/5. That's simply the fact of the matter, same actor or not. But I've been pretty clear in stating that my expectation is that he could split and let Cohen or even Craig in.

But these are Gerard's predictions, I'll let him defend them.

I'm thinking a surprise nom could come in Makeup from Rick Baker and the Click team. I would expect Pirates to be snubbed there, due to resentment from only one of the creatures being in makeup in the entire film and the rest of the makeup jobs on the film being replaced by computer artists. and I never expected to say this, but the makeup in Click was really incredible, it's too bad Sandler forced so much of himself on the poor script instead of working in his personality and humor sensibility in more subtle ways.

I can't see Philip Glass pulling a double nomination in score, I think Desplat is more likely. Listenableness on an album is important when so many composers listen to their score screeners before voting, and that's going to hurt Apocalypto. I'm thinking both Desplat and James Newton Howard for Blood Diamond. Thomas Newman's Good German score is the most listenable and stand out score of the year, moreso than Painted Veil, I think German and Veil are the frontrunners for nominations here.

Interesting thought occurred to me before: of the current five Best Picture front runners, wouldn't Dreamgirls be seen as the most vulnerable? I know it will have a lot of support from the tech branches, but isn't it the most comparable to the Walk the Line situation last year. I've heard of almost no one listing it as their favorite picture of the year, and the preferential ballot could make that an important factor. I still fimrly believe it will be nominated, but wouldn't that be the best possible surprise come Tuesday?

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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