Oscar Futures: Could ‘No Country for Old Men’ Mean No Oscars for Other Movies?

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: No Country for Old Men. Opening this week to universal acclaim, it's now the best-reviewed film of the year not named Ratatouille. DOWN: There Will Be Blood. No Country and American Gangster are sure bets — Oscar voters are probably unlikely to nominate a third film about a greedy sociopath.
CURRENT PREDIX: American Gangster, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men
Best Director UP: Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men. Ecstatic reviews hail the movie as the Coens' best-ever film. DOWN: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood. Best director noms are usually tied to ones for Best Picture, and, well, see above.
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: Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah. The movie may be long forgotten, but positive notices for his No Country performance may help remind Oscar voters of how much they liked him in Elah. DOWN: Denzel Washington, American Gangster. Doubts are being raised about Gangster's accuracy. A similar controversy over The Hurricane nixed his chances for Best Actor in 1999.
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: Ellen Page, Juno. The film — basically the only crowd-pleasing Oscar contender — continues to pick up heat. And she carries it. DOWN: Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age. She seems like more of a lock than ever for Supporting Actress, so it's increasingly unlikely she'll be recognized here, particularly since the movie was kind of a stinker.
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: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men. Rapturous reviews now make him a likely front-runner for the win. DOWN: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In a tough race, buzz on his performance seems to be cooling.
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: Ruby Dee, American Gangster. Gangster's box-office success is raising the profiles of all its cast members — even Dee and she's only in it for ten minutes! DOWN: Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement. Her role is just a cameo, so while Oscar buzz for the movie continues to grow, some think she could get left behind.
CURRENT PREDIX: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There; Romola Garai, Atonement; Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton