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Here we have the first full-blown performances of the year magazine cover.  It's hard to argue with most of these - Denzel Washington ("American Gangster"), Cate Blanchett ("I'm Not There"), Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men"), Robert Downey, Jr. ("Zodiac"), Jake Gyllenhaal ("Rendition") and Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild") - the obvious exception being Gyllenhaal.  He was good in both "Zodiac" and "Rendition," but the later was  real stinker of a film.  It's nowhere on Oscar's radar screen. 

I'm particularly pleased to see someone stepping up to recognize Mr. Downey for his performance, which was truly brilliant, in a film that is absolutely one of the best of the year.  Same for Mr. Hirsch.  He's Oscar stock, along with that of his film, keeps climbing.  Two magnificent performances.  They are not to be missed.

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