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Oscar Nominations, 2008

With the big awards just a few days away, Rediff critics Arthur J Pais, Aseem Chhabra and Raja Sen gaze into the crystal ball and come up with their Oscar predictions.

The awards are on February 25. Bets, anyone?

Best Motion Picture

Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Arthur: No Country, an atmospheric thriller which is more than a hard-hitting, violent film as it explores the wages greed extracts from an ordinary man.
Aseem: No Country's dark vision might be a tad too violent for the older Academy members, but it has a lot of energy behind it.
Raja: No Country may well be the odds-on favourite, but I'm backing There Will Be Blood, an authentic masterpiece.

Best Director - Motion Picture

Julian Schnabel The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Jason Reitman Juno
Tony Gilroy Michael Clayton
Joel & Ethan Coen No Country For Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

Arthur: Joel and Ethan Coen, among the few fiercely independent directors in Hollywood, are enjoying their biggest hit yet.
Aseem: The Coens are independent filmmakers, who still work within the Hollywood system and the Academy likes that spirit.
Raja: The Coens, come on. If the verdict is unanimous, it is so for a reason. They've deserved Oscars for years now.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie Away From Her
Marion Cotillard La Vie En Rose
Laura Linney The Savages
Ellen Page - Juno

Arthur: Julie Christie. There isn't one critic who has not been enthralled by her luminous performance.
Aseem: Cotillard is brilliant, but that's a foreign film. Christie gave a quiet, heart-wrenching performance, and the Academy loves her.
Raja: Christie -- and Cate -- are fine actresses with Oscars already on their shelves. I'm rooting for Juno's Ellen Page, come what may :)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

George Clooney Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones In The Valley Of Elah
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

Arthur: Daniel Day-Lewis. The British actor is a treasure house. You just cannot take away eyes from the screen.
Aseem: There will be a lot of drinking in pubs across Ireland. Day-Lewis is definitely going to win.
Raja: Daniel Day-Lewis is in such a different class of his own that he could tutor the other nominees. He'll drink them all up.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role

Cate Blanchett I'm Not There
Ruby Dee American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan Atonement
Amy Ryan Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton

Arthur: Ruby Dee. Hollywood makes up finally for not recognizing this enormous talent for more than three decades.
Aseem: This year belongs to Cate Blanchett who was amazing as a Bob Dylan persona in the otherwise incomprehensible I'm Not There.
Raja: Possibly the most debatable category this year. I loved Ronan, Ryan and Blanchett, but my vote goes to Tilda Swinton, really. Wow.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role

Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem - No Country For Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook - Into The Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

Arthur: Javier Bardem. A villain so evil and complex, we have no choice but to love him.
Aseem: Javier completely transformed himself into an absolutely frightening character. He deserves the award.
Raja: Bardem is delectably vile -- and will likely win -- but he was the lead actor in No Country. This award, in all fairness, should go to Tom Wilkinson.

Best Foreign Language Film

Beaufort (Israel)
The Counterfeiters (Austria)
Katyn (Poland)
Mongol (Kazakhsthan)
12 (Russia)

Aseem: This is tough category, but I think The Counterfeiters has an edge because the Academy likes World War II dramas with nasty Nazis, barking dogs and conflicted human beings who eventually work for the good side.
Raja: Andrzej Wajda's Katyn. A brave, strong and very conflicting film, excellently made and consistently compelling.

Adapted Screenplay

Away From Her
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Arthur: Joel and Ethan Coen make a brilliant book work splendidly on screen, at once a thriller and a meditation on greed and human decency.
Aseem: If the Coens win the Best Director award, the Academy may be inclined to reward Paul Thomas Anderson for his bold adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil.
Raja: The Coens did well, but Anderson's Blood took barely the first 150 pages of Sinclair's novel and reinterpreted the rest with great mastery, creating a fascinating character study.

Original Screenplay

Lars And The Real Girl
Michael Clayton
The Savages

Arthur: Tony Gilroy's Michael Clayton is a brooding but thrilling script about the corruption of a soul. The cohesive script also does an excellent job of portraying the redemptive aspects of human beings.
Aseem: The Academy likes to vote for the most creative film script of the year, and Juno is certainly one of the best-written American films in a long time.
Raja: Juno will win, no question. The script crackles by on spectacular quips alone, but also accurately pieces together a fragile young character with intelligence and insecurity.

What's your take on the Oscar nominations? Check out the full list, and go predict and win!

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