Dream weaver

With the Oscar nominations set to drop this week, Carsten Knox predicts, for better or for worse, who will get the nods this year.

Will he? It’s possible Will Smith will get an Oscar-nod for The Pursuit of Happyness.

On January 15 the Golden Globes shone a spotlight on the very-likely contenders for this year’s Academy Awards. But the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the small group of mostly European journalists who vote on the Globes—yes, it’s weird—is a very different organization from the Academy: A collection of actors, producers and other industry grande fromage. Plus, the Globes split the dramas from the comedies and the musicals. It’s a good thing the Oscars don’t carbon copy the Globes, or people like us would be slipping into comas from the boredom.

Best Film: Volver will probably get a nod in the most high-profile Best Foreign Language-film race in years, as will Pan’s Labyrinth, freeing those slots in the Best Film category. Globe winner Babel, portions of which are in Japanese, French and Spanish, will absolutely get the nod for Best Film. Letters From Iwo Jima, though almost entirely in Japanese, is a Clint Eastwood picture. The guy is gold these days and of his two WWII dramas this year (Flags of our Fathers was the first), the one that deals with the Japanese perspective is the better. Expect to see it in competition with The Departed, The Queen and the overrated Dreamgirls. Don’t expect to see Children of Men, United 93 or The Painted Veil, all very different, high-quality works. Bobby, which was up for a Globe, won’t win Oscar consideration: Despite its socio-political ambitions, it can’t be mistaken for greatness. (That said, Crash won last year.)

Best Actress: Here there won’t be much divergence from the Globes. Helen Mirren is the biggest lock in years for an Oscar nomination for her role as The Queen and Meryl Streep is close on her heels for playing the diabolical fashionatrix in The Devil Wears Prada. Penelope Cruz, amazing in Volver, Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal) and Kate Winslet (Little Children) are the likely also-rans. No Gretchen Mol, though she staged a comeback in The Notorious Bettie Page, and no Kirsten Dunst for the reviled-in-many-quarters Marie Antoinette.

Best Actor: Let’s hope the fawning over Leonardo DiCaprio’s role as a smuggler with a bad accent in Blood Diamond, one of the year’s worst, ends here. He deserves attention for his part in The Departed, however. Forest Whitaker will win recognition for playing Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, as will Peter O’Toole in Venus. Will Smith will get a nod for The Pursuit of Happyness, and a surprise—to some—will be Sacha Baron Cohen, as the Academy recognizes the cult of Borat. We won’t see Will Ferrell on the podium for Stranger Than Fiction, or Tommy Lee Jones or Edward Norton for their great work in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and The Painted Veil, respectively. Rarely do they send an acting nomination to a performer who also produced or directed.

Best Supporting Actress: American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson will be nominated for Dreamgirls, as will Emily Blunt for The Devil Wears Prada. Cate Blanchett will get a nomination for Notes on a Scandal. Angelina Jolie is a long shot for The Good Shepherd—Robert De Niro’s CIA epic will earn something along the way. Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi for Babel will probably cancel each other out, but either is a possibility. Sadly, don’t expect to see Emma Thompson (Stranger Than Fiction), Judy Davis (Marie Antoinette) or Catherine O’Hara (For Your Consideration).

Best Supporting Actor: Jack Nicholson was auditioning for an Italian opera in The Departed, though he’ll get recognized. Eddie Murphy will get a nod for Dreamgirls, just don’t expect him to win. Brad Pitt is a frontrunner for Babel and if there is any justice, so is Mark Wahlberg for The Departed. Michael Sheen is also a good possibility for his role as Tony Blair in The Queen. Ken Watanabe (Letters From Iwo Jima) and Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland) are long shots, but sadly no Danny Huston (The Proposition). Steve Carrell and Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine, may split the vote, getting nothing.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese may finally get a statuette this year, for The Departed. Others in contention will be Clint Eastwood (Letters From Iwo Jima), Steven Frears (The Queen), Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Babel) and Todd Field for Little Children, since Dreamgirls directed itself, apparently.

Click here to see the nominees and to vote for who you think should win.

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