“The Oscars maintain the capacity to surprise,” N.Y. Times Oscar blogger David Carr reminded this morning. “This year it is writ that No Country will win best picture, that Javier Bardem is a lock for best supporting actor and that Daniel Day-Lewis‘s name will be announced when they open the envelope for best actor. But chances are, at least one of those things won’t happen.

“Two years ago we were all humming the Brokeback Mountain music at the end of the show when Jack Nicholson surprised everyone, including himself, by saying the word Crash. It is that moment we all wait for.”
Last licks — what will the big surprises be this evening? Is it fair at this stage to call Michael Clayton‘s Tilda Swinton winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar a surprise? Are we far enough along in this game to call Swinton not winning tonight a surprise?
If the charming Ellen Page, a first-rate actress, wins the Best Actress Oscar for Juno it won’t be as bad as if Eddie Murphy had won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar last year for Dreamgirls, but it sure won’t be cause for celebration. What it will be, plain and simple, will be “wrong.” If it happens, I will light a candle for Marion Cotillard, and my soul will become a living embodiment of Mudville.