******* Update: Complete official list of oscar nominations 2009 ***********

We’re less than 24 hours from the most gripping five minutes in filmdom: Oscar morning. After months of speculation we’ll finally know who’s in the running for the Academy Awards.

All Oscar season, we’ve tracked the contenders in these power rankings, and today is no exception. Below is the final list of power rankings which are, as always, listed in order of likelihood of a nomination. It’s no longer time to check where they’ve been on the list before, all that matters is where they’ve ended up.

This is it. So here’s who we think is in, who is out, and why:

Best Picture

Rank Movie Comments
1 Slumdog Millionaire Why it’s in: It’s gotten more precursors than any other film, it seemed like everybody in the room at the Golden Globes was happy it won, and the critics are raving. Need any more evidence?
2 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Why it’s in: This is one of those films that everyone sort of pre-ordained as a nominee before it even hit theaters, and while it didn’t do anything to improve its stock after being released, it never really hurt it either.
3 The Dark Knight Why it’s in: It’s the second-highest grossing film of all time, and the Academy would really look out of touch for missing out on a film that was so popular and earned such high accolades including a WGA, DGA and PGA triple.
4 Frost/Nixon Why it’s in: It just kinda is. This movie doesn’t really have much of a shot at winning but it seemed to be fourth or fifth place at critics and industry awards all year long. This gets in based on volume of buzz rather than quality.
5 Milk Why it’s in: The most vulnerable of the bunch, but “Milk” gets in based on its WGA, DGA, and PGA sweep, plus the huge buzz for Sean Penn. There hasn’t been a lot of buzz on this film as of late, but it never dipped low enough to miss out.
6 The Wrestler Why it’s out: The buzz is rapildly growing for this film, but all those raves and attention probably came a bit too late.  If the nominations were at the beginning of February like they used to be this would have a shot.  As it stands, it’s more contender than champion.
7 Doubt Why it’s out: It got a ton of SAG award nominations, but that was about it. Seems that everybody loves the script and performances, but not the movie itself – blame that on the director.
8 Wall-E Why it’s out: It’s animated.
9 Revolutionary Road Why it’s out: This film never really took hold, popping up for brief moments as it earned a slew of Golden Globe nominations and one or two critics awards nominations, cut that was about it.
10 The Reader Why it’s out: Never got very good reviews despite a great pedigree and a surefire nomination for Kate Winslet. The Golden Globe love now looks like an albatross.

Best Director

Rank Director – Movie
1 Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire Why he’s in: Best Picture and Best Director usually match up, and he has directed the top pick in the former. A certain nominee.
2 Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight Why he’s in: Other than Heath Ledger, Nolan received the most praise from this film as many saw it as a directorial triumph. He got the required DGA nomination and a slew of other precursors to boot.
3 David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Why he’s in: He actually didn’t get a lot of precursor love, but he seems like sure thing due to his film’s being a sure thing. Plus it seems like there’s an “it’s about time” factor with Fincher.
4 Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon Why he’s in: Beloved Ron Howard + DGA nomination + Movie That Will Get Nominated For Best Picture = He’s in.
5 Gus Van Sant - Milk Why he’s in: Just like “Milk”, this seems like a logical fit, not because the buzz or praise is overwhelming, just because nothing else beat out Van Sant.
6 Darren Aronofsky – The Wrestler Why he’s out: Much like his film, Aronofsky’s buzz came a bit too late.  Flipping off the camera at the Golden Globes doesn’t help him either.
7 Mike Leigh - Happy-Go-Lucky Why he’s out: There’s always a big cult of personality surrounding Leigh, but that won’t translate to a nomination this year – he just never quite got the accolades.
8 Andrew Stanton – Wall-E Why he’s out: His film is animated.
9 Sam Mendes - Revolutionary Road Why he’s out: Just like his film, the buzz never really took hold.
10 Stephen Daldry - The Reader Why he’s out: Despite being a past nom, and a current Golden Globe nom, his film never really got good reviews or any buzz aside from Kate Winslet.

Best Actor

Actor – Film Comment
1 Sean Penn – Milk Why he’s in: He’s been getting the best reviews of his career (which is really saying something) and is single-handedly carrying the film to nominations in several other categories.
2 Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler Why he’s in: He’s been getting massive praise and buzz all year.  In any other year he’d be number one – it’s a virtual tie anyway.
3 Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon Why he’s in: Just kind of a sure thing. He hasn’t really won anything (no shame considering the top two have been trading awards all season) but his performance received excellent reviews, and everybody seems ready to nominate this old warhorse.
4 Clint Eastwood - Gran Torino Why he’s in: Speaking of old warhorses, they don’t come saltier or more revered than Clint. This is most likely his last acting role, his film gave him his best box office opening yet, and, well, he’s Clint!  Precursors would say otherwise, but sometimes you have to look beyond the stats. Still, he’s not a lock by any stretch – the first in these lists so far.
5 Richard Jenkins - The Visitor Why he’s in: Call it a hunch. There’s nothing to distinguish him from Pitt, other than more notices from small awards groups, but this performance has earned him praise all year – plus he kept his profile up with small roles in “Step Brothers” and “Burn After Reading” so nobody forgot about him.
6 Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Why he’s out: Remember when everybody was talking about this movie in early December and then when it came out suddenly the buzz ceased? Well, that’s probably because the movie isn’t very good and Pitt is likely to suffer as a result. Plus, many voters will see his performance as a special effect and not real acting.
7 Leonardo DiCaprio - Revolutionary Road Why he’s out: Seems Kate got ALL the acting buzz from this movie.  Somehow Leo’s only gotten two nominations since “Titanic” – does the Academy not like him?
8 Josh Brolin – W. Why he’s out: Got some good reviews and a few precursor nominations, but nearly enough of either to propel him to a nomination.
9 Colin Farrel – In Bruges Why he’s out: That Golden Globe is the only award he’ll get this year, but he’s come a long way already from drug-addled bad boy.
10 Robert Downey, Jr. - Iron Man Why he’s out: Hollywood loves a comeback story, but they’ll honor him at supporting actor instead.

Best Actress

Rank Actress – Film Comments
1 Meryl Streep - Doubt Why she’s in: She’s Meryl Streep in a well-reviewed movie that earned her a lot of precursor nominations.  That formula never misses.
2 Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road Why she’s in: You don’t win two Golden Globes in one night and not get nominated for a performance about which everybody is raving.
3 Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married Why she’s in: She’s been getting huge buzz and praise all year. It’s died off a bit in recent weeks but nearly enough to make her anything less than a lock.
4 Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky Why she’ in: She may have missed out on a SAG nomination but that didn’t stop her from earning more precursor awards than anybody else in this category. That Golden Globe comedy win just about sealed the nomination for her.
5 Melissa Leo – Frozen River Why she’s in: She actually got more awards and nominations in this category than Kate Winslet! Plus, she got a SAG nomination for her efforts – doesn’t seem like it will matter that nobody saw this movie.
6 Angelina Jolie – Changeling Why she’s out: When was the last time Jolie racked up a SAG and Golden Globe nomination alongside great reviews and a bunch of precursors? Why, it was last year when she didn’t get nominated for “A Mighty Heart”! This one seems a bit more likely, but not enough to put her in.
7 Michelle Williams – Wendy & Lucy Why she’s out: She started to pick up some late-season critics awards, but then the buzz kind of fell dead. This movie was too small and came out too late to get enough of a campaign together.
8 Cate Blanchett – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Why she’s out: Despite the huge box office and once-upon-a-time buzz for the film, Blanchett never really got any love. Absolutely shocking seeing as she could get nominated for a documentary about her doing laundry.
9 Kristin Scott Thomas – I’ve Loved You So Long Why she’s out: Got a lot of buzz early, but it petered out quickly. Has it really been twelve years since her last nomination?
10 Rebecca Hall – Vicky Cristina Barcelona Why she’s out: Probably should have gotten more buzz than she did for her role in this Woody Allen classic, but, as it stands, she’s got no chance.

Best Supporting Actor

Rank Actor – Film Comment
1 Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight Why he’s in: Easily the most buzzed-about and raved-about performance of the year. Those always get nominated.
2 Robert Downey, Jr. – Tropic Thunder Why he’s in: The comeback story + great reviews and buzz.  Amazingly, this will only be his second nomination.
3 Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt Why he’s in: Part of the best-reviewed ensemble of the year. This is a very oscar-baity role for which PSH has earned a ton of precursor nominations (though all awards go Ledger’s way).
4 Josh Brolin – Milk Why he’s in: In this Ledger-dominated year he actually managed to WIN a few precursor awards this year. Buzz waned in the middle of Oscar season, but his SAG nomination puts him over the top.
5 Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire Why he’s in: People absolutely LOVE “Slumdog Millionaire” and are definitely looking for one more spot in which they can nominate it.  There isn’t a very viable fifth candidate so the film’s buzz and Patel’s SAG nomination puts him in.
6 Eddie Marsan – Happy-Go-Lucky Why he’s out: The Sally Hawkins buzz just doesn’t seem like enough to carry him through, despite some very impressive critics awards. The film is just too small.
7 Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road Why he’s out: He got a lot of buzz before the film’s release, but that all died as quickly as the movie. His campaign just never really got going with very few precursors to his credit.
8 Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder Why he’s out: He only ever got that Golden Globe nomination. The Academy still looks down their noses at comedy.
9 Bill Irwin – Rachel Getting Married Why he’s out: The buzz on the film died. The buzz on Anne Hathaway slowed down, and Irwin never got enough precursor love to weather that storm.
10 James Franco – Milk Why he’s out: Seems all the buzz for the supporting actors in this film went Brolin’s way with Franco finishing second. Unfortunately for him, the movie never got enough buzz on its own to warrant two supporting nods.

Best Supporting Actress

Rank Actress – Film Comments
1 Kate Winslet – The Reader Why she’s in: You don’t win two Golden Globes in one night ant not get nominated for a performance about which everybody is raving.
2 Viola Davis – Doubt Why she’s in: She’s notched as many precursor awards as anybody and hit all the majors (Globes, SAGs, BFCAs). No reason to think she won’t be there.
3 Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona Why she’s in: Everybody’s been calling her a lock since this movie came out in August. Her bevy of precursor awards back up that theory.
4 Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler Why she’s in: She’s been getting increasing raves as the season wears on, so she’s peaking at the right time. The lack of a SAG nomination hurts, but not enough to diminish the rest of her precursors.
5 Amy Adams - Doubt Why she’s in: She’s part of the most acclaimed cast of the year and has a Golden Globe and SAG nod to her credit. Seems a bit shaky, especially after last year’s inexplicable snub for “Enchanted”, btu she should ultimately get in.
6 Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Why she’s out: She may have gotten a SAG nomination but she’s also featured in a film whose buzz is going in reverse. This swoon will probably cost her.
7 Rosemarie DeWitt – Rachel Getting Married Why she’s out: Despite a treasure trove of precursors, DeWitt suffers from a major lack of buzz at present for “Rachel”. Looks like Anne Hathaway can’t carry her all the way to the Kodak.
8 Evan Rachel Wood – The Wrestler Why she’s out: Looks like all the buzz (and most of the awards) went to Tomei for this film.  Better luck next time.
9 Hanna Schygulla – The Edge of Heaven Why she’s out: The National Society of Film Critics win was her only precursor mention. It’s a big one, but not nearly enough to get her a nomination.
10 Frances McDormand - Burn After Reading Why she’s out: This film held up surprisingly well, but McDormand never really got her campaign rolling despite some minor precursor attention.