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Some Oscar races still too close to call
Fri Feb 6, 2009 9:40am EST
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By Stephen Galloway
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Slumdog Millionaire" is increasingly emerging as the favorite to win the best picture Oscar on February 22, and Heath Ledger leads by a length in the supporting actor race.
But that doesn't mean the other major categories are clear-cut. As the Screen Actors Guild Awards showed last month, surprises can still happen: It's a toss-up between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke for best actor; supporting actress is anyone's guess; and Kate Winslet's nomination as best actress for "The Reader" shakes up everything after she was expected to contend in support. What follows is a breakdown of where the top races stand ahead of Hollywood's big night.
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight" didn't make it -- but Harvey Weinstein did. Even though he was unwilling or unable to pay for the sort of campaign that helped him dominate the Oscars in his heyday at the helm of Miramax Films, the producer still managed to pull off a best picture nomination for "The Reader," bumping the Batman movie from the big five. Prior to the January 22 nominations, conventional wisdom had settled on four films as near-certain nominees: "Button," "Slumdog," "Frost/Nixon" and "Milk." But nobody could agree on the fifth. "The Dark Knight" seemed to be out of the running when it failed to get a Golden Globe nomination, then surged to life after earning a Producers Guild of America nomination -- only to miss the Academy final cut. Now insiders are asking how much "The Reader" was helped by its weighty Holocaust theme and how much by Harvey.
Surprises: If the absence of "The Dark Knight" was a big shocker, so was the exclusion of not one but two Clint Eastwood movies -- "Changeling" and "Gran Torino." "Torino" had been gathering steam late in the race, but many insiders believe its terrific opening weekend came too late in the game, adding heft to the picture only after balloting had closed. Miramax's "Doubt" and Paramount Vantage's "Revolutionary Road" were also-rans.
Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire")
Stephen Daldry ("The Reader")
David Fincher ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button")
Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon") Continued...
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