This is the most predictable. Zzzzzzzzzzzz
The Top Five
1 - Javier Bardem has high praise for his formidable turn in “No Country for Old Men”. The Academy likes him enough to nominated him for a foreign performance, plus he has won almost everything he can. A lock if ever there was one.
2 - Tom Wilkinson is wonderous in "Michael Clayton". He takes a character who could have easily been cartoonish and makes him sympathetic yet grounds him firmly in reality. With being nominated for everything, expect him to get his second career nomination to date.
3 - All I have heard about “Into the Wild” is how amazing Hal Holbrook is in his small scene. With every review singling him out he is in. He missed the GG nom, but the SAG and BFCA will see him through safely, even if the film itself does not spark with the Academy.
4 - Philip Seymour Hoffman is apparently wonderful (in a scenery chewing kind of way) in “Charlie Wilson’s War”. He has 3 potential nominations this year, but this one seems the most likely. He is bound to show up somewhere in this race, best bet on here.
5 - SAG gave Tommy Lee Jones a HUGE boost for his apparently amazing work in this film. His other bet ("In the Valley of Elah") seems to not be happening so he could swing this nomination based on his body of work for the year.
The Next Five
6 - Casey Affleck has impressed critics not once, but twice this year. He will likely get a nomination for his disturbing and creepy work in "The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford". It does not hurt that he is the actual lead, and neither doesthe GG, BFCA and SAG noms.
7 - This would be a total case of gimmick over performance. While it was fun seeing Travolta dance again in "Hairspray" the performance totally missed the mark. However the Golden Globes nominated him so he could still slip through with that and Academy support, however unlikely.
8 - Max Von Sydow is a legend, and he is supposed to be wonderful in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. Sentiment could get him in and he has been nominated before. The only thing working against him now is lack of precursors.
9 - “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead” has been getting pretty ravy advance notices across the board, and for all actors involved. If there is one cast member that should really be winning an Oscar it is Albert Finney. The man is overdue and this could be the film to do it.
10 - Philip Bosco could get the grumpy old man vote for “The Savages”…they certainly love em! His only problem is there are alot of veterans in this category vying for the top spot. Right now is is simply a question of how big a slash his film made.