In about two hours, I'm going to be in the car on the way to Atlanta for a fun weekend of Oscar and Kate. But first, I thought I should put my picks out there...because it's nice to have proof ahead of time about how right I was. Haha, just kidding. Every year I'm surprised when someone I wasn't expecting takes home Oscar. Well, except the year LOTR: The Return of the King won. No one was surprised about anything that happened that night.
Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog has the best chance of winning. It's the little film that could. No matter the hype, the hype worked. There weren't a lot of TV or even in-theatre previews; this movie can owe its success to word of mouth and a famous fan-base (e.g. winning awards left and right). I will cheer when it wins, and I'll be downright flabbergasted if it doesn't.
Best Director: Danny Boyle
Just like Slumdog, he's the little director that could this year. I would love to see Ron Howard win, but he's an extremely long shot that's not going to happen.
Best Actor: Sean Penn
I would love to see Frank Langella go home with this one. His performance in Frost/Nixon was spectacular. I also had tears in my eyes watching Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. But I think the Academy is leaning more towards Penn. He too gave an incredible performance, but I wouldn't be disappointed to see Rourke up there thanking his dogs again.
Best Actress: Kate Winslet
This is Winslet's year. The woman has been nominated six times. SIX! And she's not even 35 yet. As of now, I haven't seen The Reader (I'm seeing it tonight), but I have no doubt that she deserves it. Speaking of Doubt, Meryl Streep is the only one who could push her out, but I'm pretty sure that her 15 nods didn't matter when the votes were coming in. The jaw-dropping surprise winner would be Anne Hathaway, but I wouldn't put any money on that at all.
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger
There are people that say he's getting all this posthumous glory because...well, because it's posthumous. Though I believe that, had he lived, he still would've gotten all the nominations he's gotten. His Joker was spooky and surreal and the absolute best work of his career. He may not have won the Oscar if he'd still been here, but he's definitely winning it now.
On a side note, Josh Brolin just worked his way into Rule #3 on my "How to Win an Oscar" book because his performance in Milk was good, but his performance in No Country for Old Men last year was better.
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis
I hate this category. There has yet to be a year where I've gotten this right. This year, though, I'm going with my gut...not the populous. I loved Davis. She kicked ass on screen. She deserves the "Judi Dench" award, dammit. Penelope Cruz is the front-runner for this one, but I don't think she could've possibly been as wonderful.
Best Original Screenplay: Milk
Mostly because it's the only Best Picture nominee, but also because there are a lot of speeches. I've only seen two others in the category. Wall-E is mostly silent; it could win, but I doubt it.
And In Bruges is hilarious not necessarily for the words but for how Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson deliver said words.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
I think this is a close race. This could easily go to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The Academy isn't huge on adaptations from plays, so Doubt and Frost/Nixon are out. The Reader's attention has all been focused on Kate Winslet and nothing else, so I think it's really out.
Best Animated Feature: Wall-E
There's no need to explain. It's a Pixar movie up against Bolt and Kung-Fu Panda.
And the rest...
Editing: The Dark Knight should win, but Slumdog will probably win.
Cinematography: Benjamin Button deserves this one, but Slumdog could slip in here as well.
Art Direction: I'd love to see The Dark Knight take this one, but I would be equally happy to see the more traditional Benjamin Button win as well.
Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire and Wall-E are the only two in which the score stood out for me. My money's on Wall-E.
Original Song: Slumdog and Wall-E are the only two up in this category, and I'm giving this one to Slumdog for its closing song "Jai Ho." Everyone should have a little Bollywood in their lives.
Costume Design: The Academy never disappoints here. If it's big and lavish, it wins. The Duchess has it.
Makeup: Though a lot of it involved CGI, there was definitely some great aging makeup in Benjamin Button. I think it will beat out it's superhero competition.
Sound Editing: Wall-E...because a mostly silent movie has to have impeccable sound.
Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight because an action movie full of explosions, raspy-voiced Batmans, and car chases should blend beautifully.
Visual Effects: I'd like Iron Man to take this one home because those effects were amazing, but everyone's been going on and on about Benjamin Button, so it's probably going to win.
Foreign-Language Film: Entertainment Weekly picked France's The Class. I'll take them as the authority on this one.
Documentary Feature: Man on Wire is the only doc I've actually heard of, so that's the one I'm choosing.
Doc Short: Again, I've got to turn to Entertainment Weekly and say The Witness--From the Balcony of Room 306...which I would really love to see. Hopefully, it will be available on DVD.
Animated Short: Presto, the Pixar short before Wall-E seems to be a shoe-in.
Live-Action Short: When there's a Holocaust film, you have to automatically assume it will win. And there is: Spielzugland (Toyland)
And my final prediction? Hugh Jackman is going to be entertaining, but everyone's going to compare him to Billy Crystal. Enjoy Oscar night everyone!