Inside Academy Awards Buzz!

As the Oscar race heats up, alliances are shifting and feelings are
changing to the point where Ray‘s Jamie Foxx—who’s had the award in the
gift bag for months—may reportedly get edged out by Clint Eastwood, who
could be riding a Million Dollar Baby sweep. As you’ve heard, Jamie may
be the victim of having peaked too soon; people have heard he’s a
shoo-in for so long that they feel he’s already won and may want to
throw their votes to old-timer Clint. But screw it—I’m still betting on
Foxx by a (Nicole Kidman) nose.

For Best Actress, Baby‘s Hilary Swank seems to be the favorite to
once again clobber poor Annette Bening. (The deserved winner, Vera
‘s Imelda Staunton—is considered too obscure, though I’d love it
if she pulled a Glenda Jackson/Emma Thompson and creamed the glamour

Best Supporting Actor seems to belong to Baby‘s Morgan Freeman, who
gives a wry performance, and even if he didn’t, it’d be a lifetime
achievement sort of thing that’d make everyone feel good, except the
other four nominees.

Best Supporting Actress is more complicated. Natalie Portman has a
strong chance because the Academy loves a starlet (Mira Sorvino,
Juliette Binoche, Kim Basinger) who turns out to actually have
something. And Cate Blanchett can’t be ruled out; she’s universally
admired for her willingness to do almost anything for a role. But I’m
still counting on Virginia Madsen because she was transcendant and they
have to give SOMETHING to Sideways!

Finally, it looks like Baby will sideswipe The Aviator for Best
Picture, but in a reversal of the Golden Globes, Scorsese might cop Best
Director as a way for the academy to say, “Thank you for Taxi Driver,
Raging Bull, and Goodfellas, if not Bringing Out The Dead.” Of course
there’s a chance Clint might nab that one out of the poor old guy’s
hands too, especially since the Oscar hasn’t dabbled much in sentiment
for about a decade now. (Lauren Bacall, Burt Reynolds, and the Titanic
lady all got kicked to the curb. Hey wait a minute, maybe my Morgan
Freeman prediction is way off base. Nah, I’m sticking with it.)

Anyway, who will we never listen to again? The pundits who swore
that Johnny Depp couldn’t possibly be nominated because he didn’t
campaign for it, and the freaks who similarly insisted Bening and
Staunton were out of the running because their movies weren’t big enough
moneymakers. Pshaw! And what WILL we be watching? The Oscars on February
27! See you onstage!

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