Oscar Futures: ‘Juno’ Is This Year’s Little Movie That Could

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: Juno. Big box office, better even than Little Miss Sunshine's, makes this an almost guaranteed BP nominee. DOWN: Sweeney Todd. Have you seen it? Brilliant, sure, but depressing and unbelievably gruesome. Hard to imagine the fogeys at the Academy getting behind it.
CURRENT PREDIX: American Gangster, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men
Best Director UP: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood. Hysterical crowds and fawning profiles everywhere make him this year's Designated Auteur in the Director field. Can Paramount Vantage pull a Picture nomination out of its hat? DOWN: Joe Wright, Atonement. The movie's losing juice as more and more viewers are underwhelmed, and as a young director Wright's the film's weakest nomination link.
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: George Clooney, Michael Clayton. Things are looking rosier for Clooney, who had a respectable showing in the critics' awards and who is a master of the self-deprecating (but slyly self-promoting) campaign. DOWN: Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd. Depp's being done no favors by an ad campaign that laughably tries to sell the film as a sunny lark.
CURRENT PREDIX: Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; George Clooney, Michael Clayton; Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood; Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd; James McAvoy, Atonement; Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Best Actress UP: Ellen Page, Juno. The adorable star is everywhere supporting her movie at a time many stars, wary of strike drama, are avoiding the promotions circuit. DOWN: Keira Knightley, Atonement. "Wait a minute," viewers suddenly realize. "Her character isn't even the lead in her own movie!"
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: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. A surprise Golden Globe nom is a manifestation of the affection many have for his excellent performances this year. DOWN: Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood. Everyone loves Daniel Day-Lewis – so much so that it's getting tough to draw attention to Dano's showy role.
CURRENT PREDIX: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; 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: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone. Replaces Cate Blanchett atop the LAT's Buzzmeter, and thanks to a role on The Wire, remains in the public eye. DOWN: Jennifer Garner, Juno. We don't know why no one is paying attention to her sensitive performance, but no one is.
CURRENT PREDIX: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There; Ruby Dee, American Gangster; Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson's War; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Oscar Futures: ‘Juno’ Is This Year’s Little Movie That Could