||UP: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Nobody's seen his movie yet and it's still a perceived front runner for Best Picture, mostly because nobody thinks he'll screw this one up.
||DOWN: John Patrick Shanley, Doubt. Those who've seen it are raving... about its performances (most of them, anyway). But is Doubt more than just an actors' showcase? The jury's still out.
|CURRENT PREDIX: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire; David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road; Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight; Gus Van Sant, Milk
||UP: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor. The Oscar pundits at Gold Derby suddenly have him tied with surefire nominees Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke.
||DOWN: Dustin Hoffman, Last Chance Harvey. His is a low-key movie from a smaller company, and its trailer came and went last week without much fanfare.
|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: Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road. Sure, her role in The Reader could muddy the waters, but this is the category in which she'll campaign — she certainly didn't take her clothes off in the new Vanity Fair to win a supporting Oscar.
||DOWN: Meryl Streep, Doubt. Uh oh! Variety's Todd McCarthy calls her "questionable" performance the film's only "iffy element."
|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: Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road. In a film with no shortage of star power, the Times credits him with "some of the movie's most thrilling fireworks."
||DOWN: Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder. Yes, he's great, and Paramount is campaigning. But come on, this nomination will never happen in a billion years, right?
|CURRENT PREDIX: James Franco, Milk; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt; Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight; Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire; Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
|Best Supporting Actress
||UP: Viola Davis, Doubt. In a cast loaded with Academy favorites, she's allegedly responsible for the film's most powerful scene.
||DOWN: Amy Adams, Doubt. Will she be overshadowed in this category by her co-star? Her role's certainly not as flashy!
|CURRENT PREDIX: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Viola Davis, Doubt; Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married; Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button;
|Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler; Kate Winslet, The Reader