And now for the other categories. . . Last week we covered the races for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress here. This week, we discuss Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director. The difficult thing regarding the supporting actor/actress categories is that even when the nominations are announced, an upset on Oscar night is likely to happen. Director usually falls in line with Best Picture, but, again, it’s not always the case. So here’s a closer look!

Best Supporting Actor:

Bet on It: Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild); Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men); Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford). The Supporting Actor/Actress field is a great way for an actor to reestablish his/her presence in cinema. Enter Hal Holbrook, whose turn as a surrogate father in Wild has put him as a front runner.In fact, Holbrook’s Oscar buzz has remained fairly consistent ever since the film was released back in September. Bardem, another awards favorite this year, gives a performance which haunts you long after you have seen the film.Expect a nod.And Affleck has been a consistent player this season, with both Globe and SAG nominations.The one thing going against him is the lack of support for Assassination, however, his performance will not need it if his appeal keeps up.

Can They Ride the Buzz: Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men); Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton); Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War).

If another actor is to be nominated from Country, it will be Jones, however, his performance in In the Valley of Elah may work against him as voters might want to recognize his lead performance in that film. Hoffman, an Oscar winner, may be able to relay War’s Oscar buzz, but a last minute resurgence by any number of actors could decrease his chances. Wilkinson has the favor of the Academy, having already been nominated, but when discussing Clayton, most talk is directed at George Clooney and Tilda Swinton.

Not Their Year: John Travolta (Hairspray); Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men)

Travolta sings! Travolta dances! Travolta is not getting nominated! Hairspray’s buzz has completely dissipated, even for its spirited performers. On another notes, it is conceivable this category will have three nominees from Country. Will it happen? Probably not. Brolin has a decent shot, however, most of the attention has shifted from his career resuscitation to the award buzz of Bardem and Jones.

Best Supporting Actress:

Bet on it: Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton); Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There); Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)

As stated before, all Clayton talk has been geared towards Clooney and Swinton’s performances. If she’s not nominated, consider it a big snub. Blanchett has a greater chance of being nominated here than in the Best Actress category, and her performance in There is the most riveting. Ironically, she comes closer to the actual portrayal of Bob Dylan than many of her male costars. And Ryan, a favorite among critics, is Gone’s best thing going for it. Globe and SAG support does not hurt either.

Can They Ride the Buzz: Jennifer Garner (Juno); Saoirse Ronan (Atonement); Ruby Dee (American Gangster)

If Juno’s award hype hits its high at the right moment, Garner could expect a nomination, but she needs more attention in order to push her into that frontrunner status. Ronan would be more of sure thing, but her performance lacks a truly definitive scene which would pack an emotional wallop and remain in voters’ minds. Dee, on the other hand, has that scene, but Gangster’s award buzz has cooled putting a nomination in question.

Not Their Year: Catherine Keener (Into the Wild)

While a SAG nomination displays support, Keener has been absent from most awards this season. If she is to be nominated, Wild is going to have to sweep. Additionally, there were stronger performances this year.

Best Director:

Bet on It: Ethan and Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men); Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood); Joe Wright (Atonement).

A betting man would make these nominations almost a direct copy of the Best Picture nominations, but that’s not always the case. The Coens are a given for already stated reasons. Anderson’s film is getting the push it needs at the moment it needs it. And Wright was able to take a well loved book and turn it into a well received movie. His ability to get heart wrenching performances from his actors, even children, definitely helps his chances.

Can They Ride the Buzz: Tim Burton (Sweeny Todd); Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly); Jason Reitman (Juno).

Funny thing about musicals: they may get nominated for Best Picture but apparently they direct themselves. Just ask Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!). But Rob Marshall (Chicago) might disagree. Which camp will Burton fall under? Schnabel’s film really needs a push at this point. Otherwise, he’s out. Reitman seems the most likely candidate to be nominated out of this set, and Juno’s buzz keeps growing.

Not Their Year: Ridley Scott (American Gangster); Sean Penn (Into the Wild)

Scott’s chances decrease by the week. If his film is nominated for Best Picture, he might secure a nod, but something needs to happen to get this film back on voters’ radars. Penn directed an amazing film, no question. But again, it is hard to ignore the film’s overall snub. SAG support helps, but as is the case with most nominations concerning this film, is it enough?