Obviously you can’t really predict Oscar night upsets, that’s why they’re called surprises. So, with that in mind here’s ten to watch for (and why). Some, all, or none of the following may actually happen tonight, but its fun to pretend…
Picture: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
LOGIC: “Slumdog” is such a lock that it’s actually not a lock…”Forrest Gump” 2 mania has swept the Academy and no one picked up on it. Congrats “Ben Button.” At this point, this would be a huge shock.
Director: Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
LOGIC: Van Sant is beloved for his maverick tendencies and finally get’s the sort of mainstream accolade he’s deserved for years now. It’s about time. How great would that moment be?!
Actress: Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
LOGIC: I’ve heard more than once this week in LA that Melissa Leo winning the Oscar will be one of the big shocks of the night. One friend said that, as with the 1950 Oscar race for best actress when veterans Bette Davis i(“All About Eve”) and Gloria Swanson (“Sunset Boulevard”), Leo will pull a Judy Holliday (“Born Yesterday”) and win on her first nomination. Leo was asked about her chances backstage at the Spirit Awards last night and said that it will be Meryl or Kate.
Actor: Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
LOGIC: Jenkins is beloved in this town, Penn and Rourke are not. Or so goes the theory… Imagine the ovation!
Supporting actress: Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
LOGIC: The win for “My Cousin Vinny” proved that Marisa Tomei was popular in the industry, here she gets a second Oscar for a meatier role. This would be almost as shocking as her first win.
Supporting actor: Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
LOGIC: Honor the new guy for his standout performance in a nearly ignored film, at the expense of a beloved late actor. Come on, do it!
Best original screenplay: Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”
LOGIC: The Academy clearly liked this movie, what better way to honor it than with a screenplay prize, which typically goes to a new face. What a way to salute indie filmmaking.
Adapted screenplay: David Hare, “The Reader”
LOGIC: The movie’s inclusion in so many prominent categories clearly caught a lot of folks by surprise, but the only place it really draws votes is for its script. Harvey’s bit moment?
Foreign language: “Departures” (Japan)
LOGIC: “Bashir” is politically problematic for some, and animated, which turns off many members, while “The Class” barely got into the list to begin with. “Departures” hasn’t screened much, but when it has, it’s been a hit. New York industry types would be shocked, but what a feather in the cap of LA based Regent.
Documentary: “The Garden”
LOGIC: The frontrunners faded and this well told LA story about activism and hope resonated with those who actually watched the movies. As terrific as the movie is, this would be even more surprising than “Departures” getting an Oscar.