Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond
PRO: Finally puts pretty-boy, model-shtupping rep behind him with gritty performance as conniving smuggler.
CON: International diamond cartel/conspiracy might plot against him due to his role in international diamond cartel/conspiracy thriller Blood Diamond.
Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson
PRO: Longtime critical favorite finally gets a role that lives up to his potential; has pop-culture street cred from being name-checked in "Lazy Sunday."
CON: No one saw his movie, and if anyone pretty is winning an award for going gritty this year, it's DiCaprio.
Peter O'Toole for Venus
PRO: As a senior citizen who falls for a sweet young thing, puts in a solid, career-capping performance in Woody Allen movie … oh, wait …
CON: Roman Polanski still waiting for his call.
Wyll Smyth for The Pursuit of Happyness
PRO: Steps over Tom Hanks to become new Jimmy Stewart (or is that "new Jymmy Stewart?") in heartwarming fact-based family-friendly film.
CON: The hero doesn't die, he's a good dad, and he wins by becoming a … stockbroker? Plus, Akeelah and the Bee partisans pissed off.
Forrest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland
PRO: As Idi Amin, simply devours the competition
CON: Wait a minute, the last king of Scotland was black?
Penelope Cruz for Volver
PRO: United against United Artists, Hollywood eager to reward another of Tom Cruise's exes.
CON: Difficult to understand; it was like she was talking in a foreign language or something.
Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal
PRO: Like fellow nominee Mirren, a pedigreed British actress; voters ready for some Dame-on-Dame action.
CON: Not an obvious lead as splits movie with voter favorite Cate Blanchett; has already been rewarded for far less screen time (eight minutes in Shakespeare in Love).
Helen Mirren for The Queen
PRO: Hollywood loves queens … and royalty, too.
CON: Possibly repetitious since Philip Seymour Hoffman won for portraying Capote last year.
Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada
PRO: In the Wintour of her career, Streep scores record fourteenth nomination.
CON: If Hollywood starts rewarding spunky-assistant stories, entire power structure might crumble.
Kate Winslet for Little Children
PRO: Non-skeletal actress rewarded for track record of thoughtful, inspiring work;
sucks up to Academy by spelling Kate the proper American way, though she is not in fact, American.
CON:Prospect of "Kate Wins-it" headlines terrifies us; trend of actresses eating could cause craft services/catering costs to skyrocket.
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