Unlike last year, when Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ran circles around the competition, the 2005 Oscar race looks like a dogfight. The Aviator swooped in to lead the field with 11 nominations, but faces heavyweight competition from Million Dollar Baby, as well as scrappy contenders like Sideways, which racked up win after win on critics’ scorecards.
Intriguing stories and personalities spice up this year’s race. Can Jamie Foxx win two Oscars? Are ’99 winner Hilary Swank and runner-up Annette Bening ready for their rematch? Will Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen turn wine into wins? Get ready for the Feb. 27 ceremony with the following interviews, insider info, and speculation on all 30 contenders in the six top categories.