Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
RICHARD JENKINS / Walter Vale - "THE VISITOR" (Overture Films)
FRANK LANGELLA / Richard Nixon - "FROST/NIXON" (Universal Pictures)
SEAN PENN / Harvey Milk - "MILK" (Focus Features)
BRAD PITT / Benjamin Button - "THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON" (Paramount Pictures)
MICKEY ROURKE / Randy - "THE WRESTLER" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Who's missing? Clint Eastwood/Gran Torino; Leonardo DiCaprio/Revolutionary Road; Michael Sheen/Frost/Nixon; Jeff Goldblum/Adam Resurrected; Daniel Craig/Defiance; Josh Brolin/W.
As of today I think Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke have strong locks on Oscar nominations; Brad Pitt and Frank Langella feel like soft locks on nominations (I think 3 of those 4 are "for sure"). I can see Clint Eastwood knocking Richard Jenkins aside. I don't know how well Revolutionary Road is going to play, so I think Leo is a lesser contendor. I include Sheen if enough voters see Frost/Nixon--he's been an "also ran" for a few movies lately (and strategically, he should have aimed for supporting, but whatever). Brolin is going to get a nomination for supporting, so I don't think anyone will feel bad if he's left out here.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
ANNE HATHAWAY / Kym - "RACHEL GETTING MARRIED" (Sony Pictures Classics)
ANGELINA JOLIE / Christine Collins - "CHANGELING" (Universal Pictures)
MELISSA LEO / Ray Eddy - "FROZEN RIVER" (Sony Pictures Classics)
MERYL STREEP / Sister Aloysius Beauvier - "DOUBT" (Miramax Films)
KATE WINSLET / April Wheeler - "REVOLUTIONARY ROAD" (Paramount Vantage)
Who's missing? Kristin Scott Thomas/I've Loved You So Long; Sally Hawkins/Happy-Go-Lucky; Kiera Knightley/The Duchess; Michelle Williams/Wendy & Lucy; Cate Blanchett/The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I think Meryl and Anne are strong locks. I can easily see Sally Hawkins securing a 3rd nomination (there's a good chance Happy-Go-Lucky was made outside of a SAG contract and therefore ineligible here) over Winslet, Jolie and Leo. There's something about Revolutionary Road and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that makes me think they will "under perform" come Oscar nomination time.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
JOSH BROLIN / Dan White - "MILK" (Focus Features)
ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. / Kirk Lazarus - "TROPIC THUNDER" (Paramount Pictures)
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN / Father Brendan Flynn - "DOUBT" (Miramax Films)
HEATH LEDGER / Joker - "THE DARK KNIGHT" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
DEV PATEL / Older Jamal - "SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Who's missing? James Franco/Milk; Aaron Eckhart/The Dark Knight; Tom Cruise/Tropic Thunder; Michael Shannon/Revolutionary Road; Haaz Sleiman/The Visitor; the teenager from Gran Torino; Jamie Bell/Defiance; Liev Schreiber/Defiane; Viggo Mortensen/Appaloosa; that little aboriginie kid/Australia
So I found myself stretching to add anyone as "missing" here (I know I have a lot of names, but really are they missing as nominees?). Since Hoffman seems to be sticking as supporting actor (it's a lead role, but whatever), I think he, Brolin and Ledger and strong locks. I think Downey Jr. is a good soft lock. Patel is getting the acting push for Slumdog, and I don't see any real challenger for the 5th slot, unless Cruise rallies supporters or there's someone I'm not factoring in. So I just found out that Liev Screiber is supporting and not lead, so I have him on my radar, but far out from landing.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
AMY ADAMS / Sister James - "DOUBT" (Miramax Flms)
PENÉLOPE CRUZ / Maria Elena - "VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA" (The Weinstein Company)
VIOLA DAVIS / Mrs. Miller - "DOUBT" (Miramax Films)
TARAJI P. HENSON / Queenie - "THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON" (Paramount Pictures)
KATE WINSLET / Hanna Schmitz - "THE READER" (The Weinstein Company)
Who's missing? Marisa Tomei/The Wrestler; Rosemarie DeWitt/Rachel Getting Married; Debra Winger/Rachel Getting Married; Dakota Fanning/The Secret Life of Bees; Sophie Okonedo/The Secret Life of Bees; Danai Jekesai Gurira/The Visitor; Maggie Gyllenhaal/The Dark Knight; Freida Pinto/Slumdog Millionaire
I think Viola Davis and Penelope Cruz are strong locks, with Amy Adams soft. I think Rosemarie DeWitt is in the game as much as Henson and Winslet. And I'd put Tomei in as strong Henson (who I'm not very sure about). I don't know about Winslet here, but she seems to get the "5th nomination" a lot.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
FROST/NIXON (Universal Pictures)
MILK (Focus Features)
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (Paramount Pictures)
What's missing? The Dark Knight; Tropic Thunder; Revolutionary Road; Synecdoche, NY; The Secret Life of Bees; Mamma Mia; The Visitor; Changeling
So can we all agree that Australia is pretty much DOA? As a proxy for best picture, these 5 seem like a good solid choice, with Frost/Nixon the low hanging fruit that could be replaced with Wall-E or The Dark Knight. It would have been nice for me to have either Tropic Thunder or The Dark Knight here (especially since Tropic Thunder didn't rate a GG nomination for Best Comedy/Musical).