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Oscar buzz

An offshore gaming company puts 4-to-7 odds (a $7 dollar bet wins $4) on The Aviator winning Best Picture, followed by Million Dollar Baby (2-to-1) and Sideways (5-to-1).
For Best Actor, the prohibitive favorite is Jamie Foxx for "Ray," at 1-to-5 odds, followed by Leonardo DiCaprio at 6-to-1 and Clint Eastwood at 10-to-1. For Best Actress, Hilary Swank is the favorite at 3-to-5, followed by Annette Bening at 9-to-5 and someone named Imelda Staunton at 6-to-1.

I asked some experts for their opinions.
My Style colleague Teresa Wiltz says, "I think it's great that Jamie Foxx was nominated in two categories. He's outrageously talented, and his work in both films--two hugely divergent roles-- demonstrates that he's got major acting chops. I'm thinking that he'll take home at least one of those statues, and most likely the Best Actor one. And he deserves it. Still, I have to admit that I've got a soft spot for Don Cheadle and his work in Hotel Rwanda. It's a much quieter performance. Other actors might have opted to masticate the scenery, but Cheadle plays it quiet, to stunning effect."

Our movie editor, Leslie Yazel, lists her favorites (the ones she'd like to see win):
"The Aviator: the only truly epic film of 2004.
Jamie Foxx -- although I am a freak Depp fan.
I'd say Best Actress is wide open: Everyone loves Bening but no one saw her movie, "Maria" was too long ago, Kate Winslet SHOULD win but hasn't in her last three noms and Hilary Swank is just overrated.
People who will win b/c it's just time: Martin Scorsese and Alan Alda.
And if Eternal Sunshine doesn't win best original screenplay there really is no God or Santa Claus or Toothfairy or Oscar fairy or whatever!"

My movie-crazy friend Lauri Menditto writes, "I'm not surprised that The Aviator scored so many Oscar nods. The Academy loves a good bloat after all. Remember Braveheart, Gladiator? Remember Titanic? Leopnardo Dicaprio seems to have taken a liking to these mammoth, period piece films. I don't think this is a positive thing. Remember his hair in Gangs of New York? Okay I didn't actually see Gangs of New York and I didn't see the Aviator either but I don't have to because I saw the trailer which was enough to let me know that it doesn't deserve to win Best Picture over Ray, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which wasn't nominated but should have been)."

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 25, 2005; 5:05 PM ET
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