‘Gone Baby Gone’ and Angelina Jolie Ride the Wave: This Week in Oscar Futures

Photo: Courtesy of AMPAS

This week's collection of totally depressing movies marks the launch of Oscar-bait season. Every week between now and January 22, when the nominations are announced, movies and stars will help themselves — or, sometimes, hurt themselves — in the Oscar race.

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: Gone Baby Gone. We thought it would be Mystic River lite, but the reviews suggest it's better. DOWN: Michael Clayton. Beat by The Rock in its first week in theaters. Ouch!
CURRENT PREDIX: American Gangster, Atonement, Charlie Wilson's War, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men
Best Director UP: Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton. Great reviews for the debut director, though a screenplay nod is still more likely. DOWN: Marc Forster, The Kite Runner. Afghan child-actor screwup splashes cold water on the film's hopes, and Forster's.
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: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood. First screenings sent audiences over the moon. DOWN: Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl. Manohla Dargis may have single-handedly destroyed his chances.
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: Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart. DVD release and festival award for Jolie announce her launch into the awards scramble. DOWN: Cate Blanchett, The Golden Age. Critics loved her, but the movie's poor reviews and weak box office might be trouble.
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
Best Supporting Actor UP: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James. Good reviews for Gone Baby Gone won't help him get a lead nom for that film but might increase profile for this supporting role. DOWN: Mark Ruffalo, Reservation Road. Once an awards hopeful, this film has fallen off the map.
CURRENT PREDIX: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James; Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men; Russell Crowe, American Gangster; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Best Supporting Actress UP: Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd. Word is that DreamWorks will push this lead role for supporting awards, which could be lucrative category fraud for her. DOWN: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Margot at the Wedding. The more people who see Noah Baumbach's film, the fewer people like it, though Leigh comes off the best.
CURRENT PREDIX: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There; Romola Garai, Atonement; Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton