Wow. Oscars. Billy Crystal is back. Brian Grazer is producing the show. And now, guess what? With one exception–French actor Jean DuJardin–the best actor nominees are all going to be big marquee names.
The list has shaped up remarkably week. Leonardo DiCaprio, as I suspected, is getting raves for “J Edgar.” He’s in. Brad Pitt is still strong from “Moneyball” as baseball manager Billy Beane. George Clooney has everyone clamoring from his strong dramatic turn as a cuckold in “The Descendants.” And Ryan Gosling represents the New Generation in “Ides of March.”
There are others, too. Woody Harrelson is exceptional in “Rampart.” Michael Shannon is much admired for his work in “Take Shelter.” Michael Fassbender is the talk of the town in “A Dangerous Method” and “Shame.” Ben Kingsley is his usual high quality in “Hugo.”
But it’s those first names–Pitt, DiCaprio, Clooney, Gosling, DuJardin–that I think are going to be the finalists. And then, what an Oscars we’ll have. Add them to the big name actresses–Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Michelle Williams, Viola Davis (very much a big name now)–and the Academy Awards, which looked like they might get bruised, should be a return to glamor and power. Well done.