Forest Whitaker in Last King of ScotlandIf the past few days have made anything certain, it's that Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker are absolute locks for Golden Globes and Academy Award nominations in the best acting categories. The two respected actors, who each played real-life rulers (Mirren was an eerily dead-on Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Queen' and Whitaker mastered the megalomaniac aura of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 'The Last King of Scotland') in Brit-directed dramas. They've received top honors from the National Board of Review, the L.A. Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and now the Boston Circle of Critics and the Washington DC critics too.

But let's not forget the honorable mentions on these lists, because they're definitely award contenders as well. My personal faves are Ryan Gosling, who gives a harrowing performance in 'Half Nelson' as an inspiring junior-high teacher who just so happens to be a crack addict and Meryl Streep, who never needs a rabbit's foot to get nominated for anything. As the deliciously wicked editrix in 'The Devil Wears Prada' she is so fabulous, how could she not get a nod?

Jennifer Hudson in DreamgirlsOther recent critics' list winners include first-time actress Jennifer Hudson, whose standout performance as Effie in 'Dreamgirls' is so amazing you can't help but cry when she belts out 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.' And there's Mark Wahlberg, who despite having one of the smaller roles in 'The Departed' is one of the few actors in the ensemble who didn't have to fake his accent and is brutally good as a foulmouthed (is there any other kind) detective.

My pal Angie finally got her wish for Martin Scorsese to make a list, with both New York and Boston giving Marty the nod as best director. Of course, he's THE New York director (well, in addition to Allen and Lee) and he movie is set in Boston, so that had to help. But I echo Angie's sentiments that the man needs his Oscar gold.

In the end, I say critics, schmitics (OK, I already said that in my subject, but it bears repeating). Who do YOU think deserves a Golden Globe/Oscar nomination this year?
categories Features, Cinematical