Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Richard Jenkins for The Visitor
Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn for Milk
Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie for Changeling
Melissa Leo for Frozen River
Meryl Streep for Doubt
Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin for Milk
Robert Downey, Jr. for Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Dev Patel for Slumdog Millionaire
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams for Doubt
Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis for Doubt
Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Kate Winslet for The Reader
Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
After last year's bizarre and left-field nominations, these nominations are fairly safe and reflect the general consensus of thought. I'd say that stems out of a lack of quality in the overall year, and a lack of movies that people feel passionately about.
"Doubt"'s five nominations does not surprise me at all; I would have been surprised if it had anything less. I think all four of its acting noms are potentials for Oscar noms. The film does not have the supporters it needs for a Picture nom (right now, let's see how the guilds play out).
"Benjamin Button" builds off its Globe surge to secure its nomination for Best Picture. The acting nods could go either way, especially Pitt. The Actor category seems fairly sewn up. I can see Pitt or Jenkins getting dumped for Eastwood or DiCaprio, but that's about it.
I'm so happy Melissa Leo got the SAG nod, and hopefully she'll be in for Oscar. Sally Hawkins is the outside threat to knock down one of these women (I'd bet on Jolie).
Supporting Actor again seems 4/5 locked up; Dev Patel is a weird nom since he's obviously the lead role in the film. Michael Shannon or James Franco will probably usurp him at the Oscars, unless they really just don't get Downey's performance.
In Supporting Actress, Marisa Tomei will get nominated if the Academy likes The Wrestler, and Rosemarie DeWitt could get a nod if they love Rachel Getting Married.
The winners in the acting categories are far from locked up, but the noms seem pretty easy.