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Mystic River tipped for Oscar success



Story by: Jack Foley

CLINT Eastwood's thriller, Mystic River, has been tipped as an early Oscar favourite by US film critics, according to various reports.

The gripping film, starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, has been installed as favourite to win Best Picture (at 6-1) by LA Times critic, Patrick Goldstein.

According to a report on the Guardian, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which marks the final film in the trilogy, is second favourite, at 8-1.

Another strong Oscar pundit, Emmanuel Levy, author of Oscar Fever, also predicted nominations for the movie, as well as Russell Crowe's Master & Commander.

Mr Levy, a critic for Variety, also tipped Bill Murray, Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe for best actor nominations for, respectively, Lost in Translation, The Last Samurai, and Master and Commander.

Early contenders for the best actress award have emerged as Naomi Watts (for 21 Grams) and Gywneth Paltrow (Sylvia), according to Mr Levy.

Mr Goldstein's third favourite to win best picture is director, Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, starring Oscar favourite, Nicole Kidman, and Jude Law.

Good outside bets include the family favourite, Finding Nemo, and The House of Sand and Fog, starring Sir Ben Kingsley.

Mr Levy further predicted next year's ceremony would mark the year of the blockbuster, with smaller films struggling because the Academy voting pool was older than in previous years.

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