Predicting the 2009 Oscar Snubs

Prognosticating Oscar nominations is such a huge racket that people build entire careers around it. And on the day before they’re announced, speculation has hit a fever pitch. But we’re not gonna go there. Rather than wait until tomorrow to find out who Oscar punk’d, here’s BlackBook’s list of who won’t get wake-up calls from their agents tomorrow morning.

1. Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) – This isn’t really a snub, since Gran Torino isn’t the masterpiece people think it is (annoying Asian kid’s fault), so Clint can forget about a Best Picture or Director nod. As for acting, he basically plays himself with some racist mixed in, and making this his last role won’t elicit sympathy from anyone. Nice try, Clint, but you’ll have to settle for a Best Original Score nomination.

2. Angelina Jolie (The Changeling) – Ms. Jolie will be nothing more than arm candy on Oscar night. The Gods won’t let her have this. She can’t have Brad, Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Vivienne, Knox, and Oscar! If she couldn’t get a nomination for A Mighty Heart, then she can’t for this. Besides, Kristen Scott Thomas’ very inspired, very French performance in I’ve Loved You So Long surely out-charmed the Academy.

3. Andrew Stanton (WALL-E) – Most Oscar-voyants aren’t even including his name on their Best Director ballots, which is the biggest insult of all. WALL-E is the best-reviewed film of the year, and according to Rotten Tomatoes, one of the best reviewed films in Pixar’s lauded history. Since they tend not give credit to animated films, the Academy will toss him a Best Animated Feature award and be done with it, but the man deserves more.

4. Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road) – It’s Titanic all over again, with his costar Kate Winslet getting all the nomination love, while Leo will be left with nothing but his choice of supermodels to console him. He held his own against the formidable Winslet, and deserves a nomination for that alone. Ironically, it is her performance that probably washed him out.

5. Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) – It’s a shame too, because this could have been one of those feel-good picks, giving an unheralded actor like Jenkins his due after years of solid work in supporting roles. No matter, because his heartbreaking performance and the film’s surprise success will raise his profile anyway.

6. Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) – Her scene-stealing performance as Benjamin’s loving mother Queenie was the film’s acting high point. She made falling in love with an animatronic geriatric baby plausible and moving. There’s no particular reason we can think of for this snub, so call it a hunch.

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