Oscar Futures: Does ‘Into the Wild’ Have a Shot?

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: Into the Wild. Last week, it seemed DOA, but a strong showing in SAG nominations launches Sean Penn's movie back into the mix. Of course, last year, the actors, who love movies directed by other actors, nominated Bobby. DOWN: Juno. The expected multiple SAG nods for this actors' showcase didn't materialize. Could it be in trouble?
CURRENT PREDIX: American Gangster, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men
Best Director UP: Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd. Rave reviews finally arrive, with the Times calling it "close to a masterpiece." DOWN: Mike Nichols, Charlie Wilson's War. The reviews make a point of the movie's lighter-than-air tone, which is good (in that it actually makes us want to watch it), but bad for the serious-movie-loving Academy.
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: Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd. No SAG nomination, but Depp can console himself with his jaw-dropping reviews. DOWN: Denzel Washington, American Gangster. No SAG nomination, and he doesn't have a batch of fresh press this week to dry his tears on.
CURRENT PREDIX: Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood; Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd; James McAvoy, Atonement; Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises; Denzel Washington, American Gangster
Best Actress UP: Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart. An SAG nomination adds to this overlooked performance's sudden heat. DOWN: Amy Adams, Enchanted. An SAG nomination gave her Junebug candidacy legitimacy, and her SAG snub hurts her this year.
CURRENT PREDIX: Amy Adams, Enchanted; 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: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War. Even those critics who find the movie too lightweight praise his performance. DOWN: Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood. This is the kind of showy performance that other actors love, but Dano is hurt by Miramax's Paramount Vantage's failure to send out Blood screeners to SAG members.
CURRENT PREDIX: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men; Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War; Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Best Supporting Actress UP: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton. A month ago, observers wondered if her intense performance would be overlooked, but Golden Globe and SAG nominations place her firmly in the final five. DOWN: Saoirse Ronan, Atonement. Probably the primary victim of Atonement's complete whiff in the SAG noms.
CURRENT PREDIX: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There; Ruby Dee, American Gangster; Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson's War; Saoirse Ronan, Atonement; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton