||UP: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight. As Anne Thompson points out, "no director submits to a long interview in the LAT in advance of a DVD release unless Oscar is at stake" — and Warner Bros. is mounting a full-scale campaign.
||DOWN: Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino. Did you know he's never won an Oscar for acting? That's what he'll campaign for.
|CURRENT PREDIX: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire;
|Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino; David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road; Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight; Gus Van Sant, Milk
||UP: Sean Penn, Milk. His performance earns the week's biggest rave: "I felt a genuine gayness from Sean Penn … that I didn't think he had in him."
||DOWN: Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon. It's a crowded field and if anyone from F/N gets in, it'll be Langella. Like Tom O'Neil says, Sheen would be better off in the supporting category.
|CURRENT PREDIX: Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; Sean Penn, Milk; Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
||UP: Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long. Stellar reviews make this one feel like a lock.
||DOWN: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married. This category is getting pretty competitive — was she really as good as everybody thought two weeks ago?
|CURRENT PREDIX: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie, Changeling; Kristen Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long; Meryl Streep, Doubt; Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
|Best Supporting Actor
||UP: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire. Everyone loves his movie, plus he's a lead actor competing in the supporting category.
||DOWN: Josh Brolin, Milk. Those who saw the film this week seem more excited about James Franco's performance.
|Josh Brolin, Milk; James Franco, Milk; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt; Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight; Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire; Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
|Best Supporting Actress
||UP: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It's a weak field this year and she's still the consensus front-runner.
||DOWN: Catherine Keener, Synecdoche, New York. Mixed reviews for the movie make this long shot a really long shot.
|CURRENT PREDIX: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married; Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler; Kate Winslet, The Reader