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Oscar Futures: Is ‘Juno’ This Year's ‘Little Miss Sunshine’?

Photo: Courtesy of AMPAS

Every week between now and January 22, Vulture's Oscar Futures will listen to insider gossip, comb the Oscar blogs, and out-and-out guess when necessary to track who's up, who's down, and who's currently leading the race for a coveted nomination.

Best Picture UP: Juno. It's the only award hopeful left with a light touch. Could it be this year's Little Miss Sunshine? DOWN: Charlie Wilson's War. Reports of reshoots denied by the studio, but could the wolves be circling?
CURRENT PREDIX: American Gangster, Atonement, Charlie Wilson's War, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men
Best Director UP: Sidney Lumet, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Previously: out of touch. Now: the inspiration for a new wave of serious filmmaking. DOWN: Chris Weitz, The Golden Compass. Negative buzz in the New York Post seems maybe planted, but we're getting nervous.
CURRENT PREDIX: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood; Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men; Sean Penn, Into the Wild; Ridley Scott, American Gangster; Joe Wright, Atonement
Best Actor UP: Denzel Washington, American Gangster. Audience awareness suggests huge opening weekend. DOWN: Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl. If Manohla Dargis didn't destroy his chances, his weird departure from The Lovely Bones might.
CURRENT PREDIX: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood; James McAvoy, Atonement; George Clooney, Michael Clayton; Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah; Denzel Washington, American Gangster
Best Actress UP: Tang Wei, Lust, Caution. Named to Variety's Actors to Watch list, though it's still an uphill battle. DOWN: Halle Berry, Things We Lost in the Fire. Dismal box office, plus Academy members actually losing things to fires, have doomed this movie's hopes.
CURRENT PREDIX: Cate Blanchett, The Golden Age; Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose; Jodie Foster, The Brave One; Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart; Keira Knightley, Atonement, Ellen Page, Juno
Best Supporting Actor UP: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild. Veteran actor heads into hospital for pneumonia but will campaign in November. DOWN: Benicio Del Toro, Things We Lost in the Fire. See above.
CURRENT PREDIX: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James; Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men; Russell Crowe, American Gangster; Ethan Hawke, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War; Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Best Supporting Actress UP: Jennifer Garner, Juno. Big star. Movie on the rise. But is she any good? DOWN: Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Her performance is solid, but reviewers aren't writing about it — except for those who ogle her nude scene.
CURRENT PREDIX: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There; Romola Garai, Atonement; Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Previous Oscar Futures: October 19