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Oscar Contest - Category Highlight - Best Director and Best Picture

February 21st, 2009

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest under way, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role.

(Note: All previous awards listed are for directing only.)

BEST DIRECTOR

Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Tomatometer Score: 94% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: DGA and Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: DGA and Golden Globe
Director's Previous Major Nominations: One Independent Spirit Award
Director's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Danny Boyle is the heavy favorite to win this award. Not only has he won the DGA and Golden Globe awards, Slumdog Millionaire has won nearly every major award it has been nominated for. Not a sure thing, but practically as close as you can get.

Stephen Daldry for The Reader
Tomatometer Score: 60% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Director's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, one DGA, one Golden Globe
Director's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Not to put too fine a point on it, but this film is just not that good. A Tomatometer score of 60% is barely at the overall positive level; it's certainly not at the level needed to be a major player come Oscar night. The only thing going for it are Stephen Daldry's two past nominations without a win. However, that's not enough.

David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Tomatometer Score: 71% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: DGA and Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Director's Previous Major Nominations: Two DGA (for commercials)
Director's Previous Major Wins: One DGA (for commercials)
Notes: Again, 71% positive isn't award-worthy. The only thing going for this film is the previous snubs David Fincher has suffered through. It won't be enough.

Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon
Tomatometer Score: 92% positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: DGA and Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Director's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, three DGA, and two Golden Globes
Director's Previous Major Wins: One Oscar, two DGAs
Notes: Great movie, but Ron Howard has won an Oscar in the past, and this film has been shut out of all of the major awards so far. That trend will likely continue tomorrow.

Gus Van Sant for Milk
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: DGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Director's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, one DGA, five Independent Spirit Awards
Director's Previous Major Wins: Two Independent Spirit Awards
Notes: Gus Van Sant has made a lot of great movies, but outside of Good Will Hunting, none have been major players during awards season. That film earned nine Oscar nominations, and won two of them. This film earned eight Oscar nominations, and it could be shut out. If it does win, it will likely be for Writing (Original Screenplay) and not Directing.

Conclusion: Danny Boyle should win for Slumdog Millionaire. Only Gus Van Sant has a shot at the upset, and even then it's a one-in-a-hundred chance.

BEST PICTURE

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Tomatometer Score: 71% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Thirteen
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: None
Notes: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has been a major player during Awards Season, at least when it comes to nominations. So far it has been shut out, and while that streak should end tomorrow, it won't win Best Picture.

Frost/Nixon
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: None
Notes: Like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button above, Frost/Nixon has earned a lot of nominations, but no major wins. That trend will continue tomorrow.

Milk
Tomatometer Score: 93% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Eight
Golden Globe Nominations: One
Golden Globe Wins: None
Guild Nominations: Six
Guild Wins: Two
Notes: The only film that can stop Slumdog Millionaire. Milk earned excellent reviews, was unfairly passed over by the Golden Globes, earned a ton of Guild nominations, etc. Slumdog Millionaire is still the overwhelming favorite, but there's a chance this film will win thanks in part to guilt over Brokeback Mountain getting the snub, but that's still makes it a major underdog.

The Reader
Tomatometer Score: 60% Positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Five
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: One
Guild Nominations: One
Guild Wins: One
Notes: A Tomatometer score of 60% positive is not enough to warrant a Best Picture nomination, and it better not win.

Slumdog Millionaire
Tomatometer Score: 94% positive
Total Oscar Nominations: Ten
Golden Globe Nominations: Four
Golden Globe Wins: Four
Guild Nominations: Five
Guild Wins: Four
Notes: Slumdog Millionaire is on a winning streak, having won eight of the nine major awards it was nominated for. Odds are it will sweep the three major Oscars it was nominated for, while it will miss out on some of the technical awards. Even so, it should be the big winner tomorrow night.

Conclusion: Slumdog Millionaire is the overwhelming favorite to win this one. It has the reviews, it has the box office, and it has the past wins all backing it up.

Prize Highlights With each category highlight, we will also take a look at the prizes we will be giving away for the Oscar Prediction contest, as well as some of the prizes we will have when our regular Box Office Prediction contests start back up after the Oscars.

This week we look at The Grand Prize. Whoever has the best record predicting the Oscars for tomorrow will win a copy of all five best picture nominees on DVD, all of which are still in theaters. (Although Milk is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray in a couple of weeks.)

Additionally, the first runner-up will win their choice of two Oscar winners on DVD.

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Filed under: Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Reader, Milk, Frost/Nixon