Oscars in bag for Day-Lewis, Christie: critics
By Stephen Galloway
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - If the opinions of the nation's critics are anything to go by, Daniel Day-Lewis can pretty much pick up his best actor Oscar right now.
The leading critics were almost unanimous in citing the English actor for his performance as an implacable oilman in Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood," one of a number of movies that came up repeatedly as a favorite.
Almost as popular was Julie Christie in "Away From Her," indicating that two English performers lead the acting pack this awards season. Nominees will be announced on Tuesday, and the 80th annual awards ceremony will take place on February 24.
This year, the critics were surprisingly uniform in the films they praised, especially the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men" and the comedy "Juno."
Unlike previous years, when the critics lamented bitterly the dearth of high-quality movies, this time around, by and large, they praised the offerings in theaters. At the same time, they criticized the studio specialty divisions for top-loading so many good movies into such a narrow time frame at the end of the year.
"The discouraging trend I find is that good smaller movies come along, and it's a Herculean effort to get people to go out and see them," says Leonard Maltin of "Entertainment Tonight."
"When a 'Spider-Man 3' opens, everybody feels they want to be in the loop, even if they don't particularly care about the films. They rush out to see them right away. But there is no imperative for them to see a film like 'Waitress' or 'The Lookout' or 'Starting Out in the Evening.' And that's a real shame."
What follows is the leading critics' picks for their very top choices in the major categories. Continued...