Jason Reitman’s Juno, they tell us, is a possible spoiler in the Best Picture race, but few seem to think its director stands a chance of winning here. Either fans of the film are content perpetuating the myth that comedies, like Little Miss Sunshine, direct themselves, or they really think Juno is only as good as Diablo Cody’s screenplay. Except Reitman accomplished what Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris could not, and that was scoring an actual nomination in this category, suggesting that even the most sensible Academy branch likes the film more than just for Juno’s screechy verbal pyrotechnics. Still, the consensus seems to be—and we didn’t need the Globes to tell us this—that folks are more fond of the effusive visual textures Julian Schnabel applies to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly like a gauze than they are of Reitman’s Crayola set. Even without a Best Picture nomination, Schnabel shouldn’t be discounted, though Tony Gilroy’s impeccable aping of Sydney Pollack’s sleepy-time career work probably should. And with There Will Be Blood slowly climbing to the very tippy-top of IMDB’s Top 250 (this week it’s at #18), you’d have to be a loon to think the Coens have this one locked. For all its acclaim, No Country for Old Men simply doesn’t inspire the same fervid, almost-certifiable affection fanboys (and fangirls) have heaped on Paul Thomas Anderson’s live-action cartoon. Of course, There Will Be Blood may also be the most divisive film in this lot, so if PTA loses here it’s not really because more people like No Country for Old Men but because there are not enough people who can stomach There Will Be Blood. But the DGA already had its say, so if you know how the DGA-to-Oscar transition rates go, you also know where to place your cards on Oscar night.
Will Win: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Should Win: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men