Columnist Says ‘The Departed’ Among Oscar Frontrunners

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By: E&P Staff

“The Departed” is the best bet for best picture at next month’s Oscars, says Las Vegas oddsmaker Benjamin Eckstein in today’s installment of his “Hollywood & Line” column.

Eckstein does add that “Babel” is a close second — followed by “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.” The Universal Press Syndicate columnist places “The Queen” a distant fifth as a best-picture candidate.

Martin Scorsese is Eckstein’s choice for best director for “The Departed.”

Also, Eckstein says clear frontrunners include Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”) for best actor, Helen Mirren (“The Queen”) for best actress, and Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”) for best supporting actress. The two top contenders for best supporting actor are Eddie Murphy for “Dreamgirls” and Djimon Hounsou for “Blood Diamond,” according to the columnist.

The biggest upset would be Ryan Gosling winning best actor for “Half Nelson”; Eckstein gave that 30-1 odds.

Oscar nominations were announced yesterday, and winners will be named Feb. 25.

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