Oscar Countdown: Surprises in Store?
February 22, 2005

The final Oscar ballots are due today, which means it's time to spark up "Extra's" Oscar countdown. And we start with America's top two movie critics, Roger Ebert and Richard Roper, as they pick their own favorites for Sunday night.

"I think the biggest surprise could happen in the Best Actor category," Roeper noted. "Jamie Foxx right now is the biggest favorite. But Clint Eastwood is very popular with the academy."

"As an actor, will [Eastwood] ever be nominated again? Maybe not," Roeper explained. "So I think there might be a sentiment, 'Hey, Jamie Foxx I'll vote for him in 'Collateral' for Supporting Actor, and I'll vote for Clint Eastwood for Best Actor.' That upset could happen."

Both Ebert and Roeper see a possible "Million Dollar Baby" knockout in the top categories. For Best Actress, Ebert said, "I think that's pretty much a sure thing: Hilary Swank."

In the Best Supporting Actor category, Ebert insisted, "Morgan Freeman for 'Million Dollar Baby.' He's a great American actor."

But what about the heavyweight match up for Best Director? Will it be Clint or "The Aviator's" Martin Scorsese? Both Ebert and Roeper are pulling for Scorsese. "Scorsese is our greatest living director," Ebert said. "Why he hasn't won an Oscar I don't understand, maybe this year."

Both critics are seeing "Sideways" for Best Supporting Actress, predicting Virginia Madsen will win.

And for best picture, Roeper said, "I think it really comes down to a two-picture race between 'The Aviator' and 'Million Dollar Baby.' I'd like to see 'The Aviator' win."

And that's an "Extra" peek into the Oscar's crystal ball. Check out more Academy Awards information all week on "Extra," and if you want to get your hands on some of the goodies from this year's Oscar gift basket, just click here.


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