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 ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Slumdog.

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
Man on Wire.

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

BEST FILM EDITING
Slumdog.

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.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
Ben Button.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Slumdog.

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.

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