Oscar Futures: A Big Week for ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’

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: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Took home the Audience Award at the AFI Festival. Support seems strong. DOWN: American Gangster. Its box-office success continues to make it a strong contender, but the backlash is growing.
CURRENT PREDIX: American Gangster, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men
Best Director UP: Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd. The L.A. Times' Tom O'Neil continues to beat the drum for the film. Ecstatic reactions from preview audiences this week probably hurt either. DOWN: Robert Redford, Lions for Lambs. Now the movie's a critical flop and a box-office bomb.
CURRENT PREDIX: Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men; Sidney Lumet, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Sean Penn, Into the Wild; Ridley Scott, American Gangster; Joe Wright, Atonement
Best Actor UP: Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The film is getting huge buzz. He plays a paraplegic and pretty much carries it with just his face. DOWN: Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah. It's a great performance — that everyone seems to have completely forgotten about.
CURRENT PREDIX: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood; James McAvoy, Atonement; George Clooney, Michael Clayton; Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah; Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Denzel Washington, American Gangster
Best Actress UP: Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray. The film's DVD release next week has people talking again; also, Oscar voters may want to reward a film that doesn't make them want to kill themselves. DOWN: Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart. Most attention this week seems to be for her role in Beowulf.
CURRENT PREDIX: Julie Christie, Away From Her; Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose; Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart; Keira Knightley, Atonement, Ellen Page, Juno
Best Supporting Actor UP: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild. The L.A. Times' Oscar panel seems to think this race is between Holbrook and front-runner Javier Bardem. DOWN: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Affleck seems to have pretty much dropped off of everyone's radar.
CURRENT PREDIX: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men; Russell Crowe, American Gangster; Ethan Hawke, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Best Supporting Actress UP: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There. She's already a lock, and the movie's not out until next week. They might as well just give her the award now. DOWN: Kelly Macdonald, No Country for Old Men. There's plenty of talk about her movie this week — just none about her.
CURRENT PREDIX: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There; Romola Garai, Atonement; Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton