I’m always excited about the Academy Awards — yeah, there are still a few of us left out there — but I’m guessing there won’t be a whole lot of thrilling and/or shocking moments this year. (Most any upset would go thusly: Oooh, the frontrunner didn’t win! Which means…someone or -thing completely undeserving did.)

But for the record, here are my predictions anyway. And tune in at 8:30 when, give or take some DVR-shifting, I’ll be live-blogging the entire ceremony. Or at least for as long as my cold medicine holds out.

BEST PICTURE WALL*E. Not nominated? The Dark Knight. Sigh! How about The Wrestler? OK, I’ll stop. It’s gonna be Slumdog Millionaire, though between the five that were chosen I loved Milk the most.

BEST ACTOR I’d love to see Mickey Rourke get this, but Sean Penn‘s performance as Harvey Milk was so completely transformative, it’s gotta be recognized. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Please. (In this usage, “please” is defined as “Heath Ledger.”) BEST ACTRESS I’m going with Kate Winslet, though her speech better include shout-outs to the makeup crew and her nipples for help making her turn remotely remarkable in The Reader.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Penelope Cruz has the buzz, but c’mon, she could be passionate and sensuous in her sleep. Would be nice if D.C. native Taraji P. Henson got it, but my guess is Viola Davis for her brief role in Doubt. The Academy loves those incisive knock-outs.

BEST DIRECTOR I’m torn. My gut says it’ll go to Danny Boyle in a Slumdog lovefest. But I wouldn’t be surprised if David Fincher won for his technically proficient handling of Benjamin Button.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY WALL*E would be a nice upset, and Frozen River and In Bruges were great stories. but I’m thinking this is where Milk will get its love.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM Please. (In this usage, “please” is defined as “WALL*E.”) BEST ART DIRECTION and CINEMATOGRAPHY Both to The Dark Knight.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN Period pieces = Oscar. The Duchess.


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT Total blind guess, but I’m going with The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306.


BEST FOREIGN FILM I’ve only seen two of the nominees, but I can’t imagine a doc more imaginative and affecting than Waltz With Bashir.



BEST SONG The popular opinion is that the two Slumdog noms will split the vote. But really, have you heard anything more catchy in a movie this year than Jai Ho? Sorry, Peter Gabriel, but Down to Earth is kind of a snooze.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT Presto was adorable, the Academy doesn’t really do adorable. Going with La Maison en Petits Cubes.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT No idea, but Auf der Strecke seems to be getting the praise. BEST SOUND EDITING and BEST SOUND MIXING Considering it’s nearly dialogue-free yet still the most engaging film of last year, WALL*E‘s gotta win both.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS Benjamin Button, because if you’re honest about it, the film’s strongest characteristic is its looks.