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A big Oscar upset in the works?

“Frozen River” star Melissa Leo could walk away with 8-1/2 pounds of golden Academy love in her hand. Academy voters, unable to decide between Kate Winslet or Meryl Streep, say they voted for Leo.
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The buzz about an Oscar upset in the Best Actress category is too great to ignore. Perhaps everyone just wants something new to talk about at this point, or maybe it’s true — “Frozen River” star Melissa Leo could walk away with 8-1/2 pounds of golden Academy love in her hand. One voting member of the Academy echoed sentiments I’ve heard several times this weekend. “I couldn’t decide between Kate (Winslet) or Meryl (Streep) so I went with Melissa.”

A win for Leo might send Winslet to go play in traffic, but judging from the crowd’s support of her victory at Saturday night’s Independent Spirit Awards, a win Sunday would be well received.

‘Button’s’ only OscarFrom the sound of it, the only category in which “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is expected to be the winner is art direction. Voters here in L.A. are saying that “It’s the only category that has “Button” and no “Slumdog.’” Actually, the costume design category fits that criteria as well, but it’s got period drama “The Duchess” among the nominees, which will most likely win.

Who’s presenting?Publicists aren’t helping to keep the secret, but I’m not going to be the person who ruins the surprise of who is presenting. But a note to producers: If you try this next year, you might want to send a memo to the actors’ publicists to try to contain their enthusiasm. Several handlers have seen their clients off with a loud “have a great rehearsal!” Um, if you’re trying to keep it a secret, don’t shout that at the crowded hotel valet desk. Just saying.

However, Bill Maher revealed Friday night on the season premiere of “Real Time With Bill Maher” that he was going to present the documentary prize.

Nominees relaxed pre-show“Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle, “Curious Case of Benjamin Button” star Taraji P. Hensen and director David Fincher weren’t showing any signs of pre-Oscar stress Sunday morning. Hensen was up early and working out with a trainer, and Boyle had a similar idea. He hit the treadmill and watched basketball as he ran, eschewing an interview of himself that was being broadcast on a morning show. And the topic foremost on Fincher’s mind was the traffic. “I can’t believe they haven’t figured out some public transportation situation so that we all weren’t leaving at 2:30 to avoid the traffic queue,” he said.

Courtney Hazlett is delivering the Scoop from the Academy Awards all weekend.