By Dave Karger
December 05, 2008 at 10:47 PM EST

Frost/Nixon, one of the top contenders for several major categories, opens today, along with a smaller film, Cadillac Records, that has an outside chance of becoming a spoiler in one of the acting categories. Here are all the best bets, possibles, and long shot chances at nominations for both films.


Best Bets

Best Picture
It’s got prestige, relevance, assured direction, and fantastic acting. The negative New York Times review stings, but most critics are loving it.

Best Director, Ron Howard
As soon as voters see his name on the credits, they’ll know it’ll be a confidently-directed film. Can he score his first nomination since winning for A Beautiful Mind seven years ago?

Best Actor, Frank Langella
Along with Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, and Clint Eastwood, Langella—who’s never been nominated for an Oscar—seems to have a slot sewn up.

Best Adapted Screenplay, Peter Morgan
Reworking his own acclaimed play for the screen, Morgan does bend the truth a bit. But his version of things sure is riveting.

Best Editing, Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
It’s Hill and Hanley’s artful cutting—between time periods and within individual scenes—that gives the film much of its intensity.


Best Supporting Actor, Kevin Bacon
One of these days, the guy will get an Oscar nomination. And as Nixon’s fierce right-hand man, he’s probably the best shot from the film’s supporting cast.

Best Cinematography, Salvatore Totino
Even though so much of the film takes place inside, it still has a rich visual palette that never feels distracting.

Best Art Direction, Michael Corenblith and Susan Benjamin
Accurate without seeming kitschy, the film’s sets are all perfectly appropriate.

Best Original Score, Hans Zimmer
The seven-time nominee (and past winner for The Lion King) created a tense score that adds to the tension.

Long shot

Best Actor, Michael Sheen
If he were campaigning as a supporting actor, he’d have a better shot. But against this year’s tough crowd (including, obviously, his own costar), he’s bound to get squeezed out.


Long shot

Best Supporting Actress, Beyoncé Knowles
Two years after scoring a Best Actress nod at the Golden Globes for Dreamgirls, Knowles goes deeper and darker as Etta James, and pulls it off impressively. But will enough voters see it?

addCredit(“Ralph Nelson”)