For a nail-biting couple of months, it looked as if Hollywood might not stage an Academy Awards because of the writers’ strike. Luckily, the labor dispute is likely to be resolved in time. With the Oscars’ red carpet ready to roll, here’s my list of nominated performances and films I think most deserve to win. They won’t all triumph—though most are good bets—but they’re the ones I’d love to see take home a golden boy on Feb. 24 (ABC, 8 p.m. ET).
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
There’s not a clunker on the list, meaning it was a swell year for moviegoers. Atonement was a classy literary adaption (and could yet turn out to be the surprise winner), Juno chirpy fun, Michael Clayton an elegant, smart thriller and There Will Be Blood a bold, singular vision. I’m pulling, though, for No Country for Old Men, a modern day western about what happens after a man finds a suitcase stuffed with cash. Easily directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s most mature film, this darkly comic drama balanced unbearable suspense with laughs, all the while building inexorably to an emotionally devastating finale.