Jeff Bridges in The Contender
PRO: He still counts as a Hollywood kid, doesn't he? Maybe he and Kate Hudson can hang out.
CON: This movie died, at least in New York. We think more people saw Wonder Boys the first time.
William Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire
PRO: Martin Landau won for playing Bela Lugosi, so what the heck?
CON: Would have to spend a great portion of acceptance speech thanking Lee Press-On Nails. Movie so bad ( Battlefield Transylvania ) that we actually walked out.
Benicio del Toro in Traffic
PRO: He can finally tell the story about de, uh, hooker with the-um dysentery.
CON: We got about three lines of intelligible dialogue out of this guy for the whole picture.
Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich
PRO: In charming movie that may make big sweep; gets "old man" vote.
CON: This guy played Daddy Warbucks! Who the hell are you kidding?
Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator
PRO: Clearly enjoys being evil villain; unpronounceable name ("Phoenix") lends air of mystique.
CON: Was much better in Quills, a movie that got shafted this year. Also, where's Tobey Maguire? What's WRONG with you people?
Judi Dench in Chocolat
PRO: She's Judi Dench, for god's sake. That's Dame Judi to you.
CON: Un-characteristically non-regal role; does not get to play Victoria, Elizabeth, or even M.
Marcia Gay Harden in Pollack
PRO: More fun than watching paint dry (try the veal, it's terrific tonight.)
CON: Outshone by co-star Ed Harris, who has a much stronger shot than she does.
Kate Hudson in Almost Famous
PRO:Famous kid bit worked for Gwyneth.
CON:Several Academy members probably slept with groupie on whom her character is based.
Frances McDormand in Almost Famous
PRO: Not a super-strong field, will be helped by her track record and extra momentum from "pow" performance in Wonder Boys.
CON: Does not really do much in movie; could split vote with whippersnapper Kate Hudson.
Julie Walters in Billy Elliot
PRO:Gives fab performance as poor man's Brenda Blethyn.
CON: Least well-known actress in field; small movie.
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