||UP: Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon. Better-than-expected reviews for the movie say it's his best work ever, and some claim he even improves Peter Morgan's stage version.
||DOWN: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Running around smacking people may not be the wisest campaign strategy.
|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: Sean Penn, Milk. Great reviews across the board: "Sean Penn amazes me," says Roger Ebert.
||DOWN: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler. Controversy over that Times Magazine profile might not have helped his case.
|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: Melissa Leo, Frozen River. The movie's surprise honors from the Gotham Awards, and lots of nominations for Independent Spirit Awards, put its star right back in the mix.
||DOWN: Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road. What movie does she want to win an Oscar for? This one or The Reader? Why won't she tell us? She can't have both!
|CURRENT PREDIX: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married;
|Angelina Jolie, Changeling; Melissa Leo, Frozen River; Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long; Meryl Streep, Doubt; Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
|Best Supporting Actor
||UP: Josh Brolin, Milk. The National Board of Review named him Best Supporting Actor yesterday — maybe he's the Milk star who'll get a nod in this category.
||DOWN: Josh Brolin, Milk. Too bad he will definitely lose to Heath Ledger.
|James Franco, Milk; Josh Brolin, 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. Awards from NBR and the Gothams this week mean she's made it all the way to December with her front-runner status intact.
||DOWN: Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The more we hear, Button starts to feel less and less like an actors' movie. Plus, her screen time is apparently minimal.
|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