The Gauntlet’s 2008 Academy Awards Preview

By Ryan Pike

The Academy Awards have become solidified over time as Hollywood’s tribute to itself. Thankfully, it’s also provided gambling junkies with an opportunity to bet on things that are completely separate from professional sports. The Gauntlet’s dynamic duo of cinematic geekery, Entertainment Editor Ryan Pike and E&P Editor Jordyn Marcellus, attempt to accurately predict who will win at the 80th edition of the Oscars Sun., Feb. 24, rather than who deserve to. Pride, Pike’s one-year perfect record and a pitcher of beer are on the line.

Best LEAD Actor:

George Clooney (Michael Clayton; fourth nomination, one win)

Daniel Day-Lewis- Ryan’s and Jordyn’s Pick (There Will Be Blood; fourth, one win)

Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd; third)

Tommy Lee Jones (The Valley of Elah; third)

Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises; first)

Last five winners: Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), Jamie Foxx (Ray), Sean Penn (Mystic River), Adrien Brody (The Pianist)

Ryan says: Let’s narrow this down. Mortensen’s first nomination is his award. Jones had a great year, but got nominated for the movie nobody saw rather than as a supporting actor in No Country for Old Men. Clooney won recently, so he’s out. Both Depp and Day-Lewis deserve the award, but Day-Lewis still has residual goodwill after being snubbed for Gangs of New York.

Jordyn says: There are numerous films that Johnny Depp should have won an award for. Sweeney Todd isn’t one of them. The buzz that There Will be Blood is generating, and the fact that the other films haven’t really been seen by the Academy, means that Daniel Day-Lewis will be thanking God on Feb. 24.

Best LEAD Actress:

Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: the Golden Age; fifth, one win)

Julie Christie- Ryan’s Pick (Away from Her; fourth, one win)

Marion Cotillard (La vie en rose; first)

Laura Linney (The Savages; third)

Ellen Page- Jordyn’s Pick (Juno; first)

Last five winners: Helen Mirren (The Queen), Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line), Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby), Charlize Theron (Monster), Nicole Kidman (The Hours)

Ryan says: Ellen Page is the sentimental favourite but stands little chance against this competition. Cotillard and Linney lose out due to their films failing to reach a wide audience. Blanchett suffers from being nominated in two categories in the same year. Vote-splitting on her part, coupled with numerous awards for her competitor, means Julie Christie wins her second Oscar.

Jordyn says: People will argue that Kitty Pryde from X-Men: The Last Stand even getting a nomination is the reward. Blanchett will win the supporting award for her Dylan performance but she won’t win both. The other films haven’t been seen and are automatically out. With Juno getting so much positive press, the aging Academy will try to remain relevant by giving Page the victory.


Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; first)

Javier Bardem- Ryan’s and Jordyn’s Pick (No Country for Old Men; second)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War; second, one win)

Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild; first)

Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton; second)

Last five winners: Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine), George Clooney (Syriana), Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby), Tim Robbins (Mystic River), Chris Cooper (Adaptation)

Ryan says: As good as anybody else was this year, Javier Bardem was better. He won the Golden Globe and the SAG Award for this category against the same guys. Nuff said.

Jordyn says: With the two previous awards, Bardem has got it in the bag. Not much else to add.

Best SUPPORTING Actress:

Cate Blanchett- Jordyn’s Pick (I’m Not There; fifth, one win)

Ruby Dee (American Gangster; first)

Saoirse Ronan (Atonement; first)

Amy Ryan- Ryan’s Pick (Gone Baby Gone; first)

Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton; first)

Last five winners: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), Blanchett (The Aviator), Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago)

Ryan says: The most interesting category this year. Four first-time nominees pitted against Blanchett, who’ll definitely suffer from vote-splitting as noted earlier. Ronan and Swinton lose out due to their films not reaching a wide-enough audience, despite acclaim. Ruby Dee won the SAG Award against the same competition, but her film came out months ago. While both Blanchett and Amy Ryan had great years, Blanchett will suffer from vote-splitting while Ryan won many awards from the critics and has buzz on her side.

Jordyn says: While Ryan’s point about vote-splitting is a strong one, it’s Cate Blanchett in a biopic about Bob Dylan, where she plays a dude on drugs. The combined Academy boner will let her ride a wave of votes to the win.

Best Director:

Paul Thomas Anderson- Ryan’s and Jordyn’s Pick (There Will Be Blood; third)

Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men; seventh, one win)

Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton; second)

Jason Reitman (Juno; first)

Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; first)

Last five winners: Martin Scorsese (The Departed), Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby), Peter Jackson (Return of the King), Roman Polanski (The Pianist)

Ryan says: Right away, ignore everyone but Anderson and the Coens (as Gilroy, Reitman and Schnabel are cannon fodder). No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood will split Director and Picture since there’s no obvious front-runner. Since No Country seems to have a load of momentum on its side for Best Picture, I’ve got to pick Anderson to win Director.

Jordyn says: Anderson made Magnolia and Boogie Nights. He didn’t win an award for either of them. While the Coens have made numerous films and have even won an award, it’s simply going to go to Anderson as an award owed by the Academy.

Best Picture:



Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men- Ryan’s Pick

There Will Be Blood- Jordyn’s Pick

Last five winners: The Departed, Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Return of the King, Chicago

Ryan says: Atonement, Juno and Clayton stand no chance, as it’s just a race between No Country and There Will Be Blood. A year with no frontrunner typically produces split decisions in major categories. Since Blood gets recognized in the Actor and Director races, evening things out results in No Country for Old Men winning Best Picture.

Jordyn says: While the Coen Brothers made a great film, it’s going to go to There Will Be Blood. More often than not, whoever gets the Director win also wins Picture. While there’s significant buzz for No Country and traditional wisdom indicates that in a split contest the director and picture will go to two different candidates, There Will Be Blood is so fantastic that it’ll eke out a win.