No Guts No Glory: My Oscar 2008 Nominations Predictions!

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I love having a blog!  For the first time ever, my either delusional or expert picks for the Oscar nominations, which will be announced Tuesday, January 22, 8:35 am Chicago time, will be preserved for posterity. This will enable people other than BFF Debra to call me out on my revisionist thinking – yes, that once upon a time I was avidly backing Hilary…ugghh…arggghhh…eek..Swank for her performance in Boys Don’t Cry, or that I was excitedly tapdancing on top of the icky Chicago bandwagon (Renee what’s her name and all!) in 2003.  I love nominations morning- there will always be jaw-dropping and sleepiness-erasing surprises.  I remember being on a project in Vancouver in 1999 and getting up at 5:00 am to excitedly hear Edward Norton’s surprise Best Actor nomination for American History X.  There have been lots of BIG YAY moments like Fernanda Montenegro’s Best Actress nomination for Central Station, an obscure Brazilian movie that I loved in 1998, as well as moments when I needed Dramamine to prevent the nausea enveloping me such as during that doomed day in 2006 when Crash was called as a nominee for Best Picture.

Here then are my picks for this year’s Oscar nominations.  A caveat:  I have not seen some of the movies, so my predictions are based on what I think the Academy will select based on their historical preferences and quirkiness (and we can devote many blog postings to that topic), as well as precursor awards (like the critics’ and the Golden Globes) and critical acclaim.  I have also included in some categories, a “No Guts No Glory” pick- a nomination so surprising, so gutsy, so unexpected that Oscar watchers will be needing a second cup of coffee to replace the one they just spilled.

Best Picture

Into the Wild


Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood

I don’t have a No Guts No Glory pick in this category since these films have received either Producers Guild of America or Golden Globe nominations, or both.  Maybe the thing to note here is the anticipated shutout for two of the more critically acclaimed, Oscar-type pictures that came out in December:  Atonement and Sweeney Todd.

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton

Sean Penn, Into the Wild

Julian Schnabel, Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Again, I don’t have a No Guts No Glory pick here.  Traditionally, only 4 of the directors from the Best Picture nominees get nominated for Best Director.  Juno‘s Jason Reitman is probably going to be shoved out in favor of Julian Schnabel who already won a Golden Globe Best Director prize for one of the most critically-acclaimed films in a lackluster year.

Best Actor

George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl 

Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

This year’s Best Actor category might as well be subtitled the category of males you would want to cook a gourmet dinner for, and then seduce with wild sexual abandon. Yes, no geezers like Michael Caine or Peter O’Toole this year.  My No Guts No Glory pick is my boy Ryan Gosling, who, despite the divisive reviews of Lars, ended up with SAG, Golden Globe and Broadcast Critic nominations.  I think Hollywood is very excited about him, and giving him back-to-back Best Actor nominations (after last year’s Half Nelson) will be that undeniable proof.

Best Actress

Julie Christie, Away from Her

Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

Keira Knightley, Atonement

Laura Linney, The Savages

Ellen Page, Juno

As usual, quite the weak category.  My No Guts No Glory pick is Laura Linney, who despite the absence of precursor nominations, as well as the absence of her film in many movie theaters, may just sneak in,  because she is a well-respected actress in an emotionally demanding role.  Plus, the Academy will be looking to snub Angelina Jolie, whose turn in A Mighty Heart many people are predicting to get nominated.  Payback is hell, and Angie’s very obvious disdain of Hollywood in favor of her worthier, global causes, will come to bite her pretty little bum.

Best Supporting Actor

Casey Affleck, Assassination of Jesse James (etc etc)

Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild

Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men

Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Ok, so all the geezers migrated to this category from Best Actor.  Hal Holbrook’s perfect performance in Into the Wild, I think, will lose to Javier Bardem’s crazy killer (he’s won 17 awards so far), but one can still take pleasure in his first Oscar nomination.  My No Guts No Glory pick is Tommy Lee Jones, who the Academy will honor for his wonderful No Country for Old Men sheriff, but also for In the Valley of Elah, which only six people saw.

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There

Kelly Macdonald, No Country for Old Men

Saoirse Ronan, Atonement

Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

My No Guts No Glory pick, which this year will my own personal BIG YAY if her name is called tomorrow, is Kelly Macdonald, playing Josh Brolin’s scared wife in No Country for Old Men.  Her last scene with Bardem is both emotionally affecting and terrifying.  And she gets that South Texas accent just perfectly right, which is quite an accomplishment given that she is Scottish.

Other things to look out for:

- Atonement will get many nominations, particularly in the “beautiful” categories of Costumes, Art Design, and Cinematography, but no Best Picture, which will be one of the crazy things that happen tomorrow.

- Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder will become an Academy Award nominee (for the theme song to Into the Wild), which is almost as unimaginable as finding out that life forms exist in Uranus.

- Best Foreign Film, which has already omitted the brilliant Romanian masterpiece 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, from consideration due to its convoluted voting rules, will be the trashiest, most pathetic line up in decades.

- I will be heartbroken, but Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd will be snubbed.

We’ll see how I do tomorrow morning!

4 Responses to “No Guts No Glory: My Oscar 2008 Nominations Predictions!”

  1. Jennifer Murphy Says:

    I have been waiting almost as long for my promised guest blogger rights as Keira Knightly has apparently been waiting for a milk shake, or some other nutrition boost, in “Atonement.” So, I will just post a couple observations here. 1) Rather than Ryan Gosling sneaking in with the fifth Best Actor slot, it just might be Denzel Washington for “American Gangster.” The Academy loves him almost as much as his #1 fan, Julia Roberts, especially when he is playing the villian. 2) If there’s a “Juno” sweep tomorrow and a corresponding “Atonement” snub, then I think Allison Janney will squeek in.

  2. francis Says:

    OMG! Quite the entrance for the Divine Ms. Jennifer M, my co-conspirator and soulmate in all things Oscar. Honey, don’t trip on your train as you come in! Guest blogger rights on the way (thanks to best guy friend Tom), and a big “we’ll see” on your Denzel and Allison Janney predicts, which are quite waaaay out there on a limb.

  3. Doug Kalish Says:

    Francis, this is EXACTLY why it is great that you have a blog. You don’t have to save up all of your material for the big Word document predictions and wrap up…you can entertain your fans with predictions of the nominations too!!

    Can’t wait for the big predictions note, and this was a fun appetizer.

    Also, I laughed out loud at this…call me juvenile, but this was a simple, and well executed joke: “Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder will become an Academy Award nominee (for the theme song to Into the Wild), which is almost as unimaginable as finding out that life forms exist in Uranus.”


  4. francis Says:

    Hello my dear friend Doug! Thanks for the comment. You have probably read or heard about the Oscar nominations and Uranus is still a barren, gaseous planet and Eddie Vedder is NOT an Academy Award nominee. There was huge shut-out of “Into the Wild” (anti-Sean Penn sentiment?) except for Hal Holbrook’s magnificent performance. I am thrilled Johnny Depp got in but sad that my boy Ryan didn’t in the Best Actor race; excited that my No Guts No Glory picks of Laura Linney and Tommy Lee Jones (wrong category though) came true; and flabbergasted that Ruby Dee’s 3-4 minute screen time in “American Gangster” got nominated. If they were nominating cameos, where were the nominations for “Atonement”‘s Probationary Nurse #1 or Soldier at the Bray Bar #2? Geez!

    Here’s the complete list of Oscar nominations:

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