Normally, I'd have had my Oscar predictions up earlier in some sort of epic form spanning over multiple days and analyzing multiple categories.

Not this year, because Greg Ellwood is HitFix's awards expert and he does a darned fine job of it. In fact, check out his complete predictions here.

Just because I'm not an official awards expert (or Oscar pundit) doesn't mean I can't play along, though. After all, my blog subject line does say that I'll talk about TV and Movies.

Click through for my complete predictions, including who I think ought to win the big awards versus who's going to actually win.

 

BEST PICTURE

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

"Frost/Nixon"

"Milk"

"The Reader"

"Slumdog Millionaire"

 

Should Win: Of the nominees, the only one I didn't think was at least a good movie is "The Reader," but I didn't think that any of the five nominated films was a very good movie or a great movie. So I'm going to say that "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" ought to win here just for the epic scope of its narrative and technical ambition. And all of you people who are saying that "Benjamin Button" is exactly like "Forrest Gump"? You have a very weird and fundamental misunderstanding of both movies.

Will Win: "Slumdog Millionaire" is nearly a sure thing.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," David Fincher

"Frost/Nixon," Ron Howard

"Milk," Gus Van Sant

"The Reader," Stephen Daldry

"Slumdog Millionaire," Danny Boyle

 

Should Win: I could say David Fincher for the reasons mentioned above, but other directors could have helmed "Benjamin Button" and it might still have been an Oscar movie. In fact, if a more sentimental and simplistic director had made it, it probably could have won. But if Boyle hadn't brought his energy to "Slumdog Millionaire," it's doubtful anybody ever would have seen the movie at all.

Will Win: Danny Boyle will win, even if he's biting his own moves from "Trainspotting."

 

BEST ACTOR

Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"

Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon"

Sean Penn in "Milk"

Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler"

 

Should Win: Mickey Rourke. 

Will Win: It an odd Hollywood truth that honoring an actor with Penn's volatile past for playing an outspoken gay activist would actually be the safe choice here. And there wouldn't be anything wrong with Penn winning. but I think Rourke will sneak in. He has the best personal story, a great performance and he's got that Roberto Benigni factor, where some people will vote for him just to see what he does if he wins.

 

BEST ACTRESS

Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married"

Angelina Jolie in "Changeling"

Melissa Leo in "Frozen River"

Meryl Streep in "Doubt"

Kate Winslet in "The Reader"

 

Should Win: Melissa Leo, but it's just her honor to be nominated.

Will Win: I'm not sure I've ever appreciated Kate Winslet any less than I did in "The Reader," where her performance (or the transition of the character from book-to-screen) baffled me at every turn. She's probably deserved to win two or three Oscars previously and she may even deserve to win this year, but for "Revolutionary Road." She's due, so she's going to get her lifetime prize.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Josh Brolin in "Milk"

Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder"

Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt"

Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight"

Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road"

 

Should Win: Heath Ledger, though all of the performances in this category are mighty good, even if Brolin should have been replaced by James Franco.

Will Win: Ledger

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams in "Doubt"

Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"

Viola Davis in "Doubt"

Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler"

 

Should Win: Marisa Tomei, but everybody's so darned distracted by the stripping that they've ignored her quieter scenes, particularly the clothes-shopping scene.

Will Win: You have to know that one of the two supporting categories will be an upset. It won't be Supporting Actor. Because Winslet won the precursor awards for "The Reader," anybody other than Cruz winning here will count as an upset. The trendy pundits like Greg are picking Davis, which would be well-deserved. The only person who would absolutely flabbergast me is Adams. My pick? Taraji P. Henson, but I can't justify the choice at all.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

"Frozen River" - Written by Courtney Hunt

"Happy-Go-Lucky" - Written by Mike Leigh

"In Bruges" - Written by Martin McDonagh

"Milk" - Written by Dustin Lance Black

"WALL-E" - Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

 

Should Win: Because most people think that screeplay=dialogue, it's verging on ironic that I'd give this category to "Wall-E," but only for the first 45 minutes, which are dialogue free. In general, it isn't actually ironic at all, since the wordless storytelling in those first 45 minutes is screenwriting at its very finest. Incidentally, though, if this actually *is* a dialogue prize, Martin McDonagh should win.

Will Win: Dustin Lance Black, for his respectable, but unremarkable "Milk" screenplay.

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord

"Doubt" - Written by John Patrick Shanley

"Frost/Nixon" - Screenplay by Peter Morgan

"The Reader" - Screenplay by David Hare

"Slumdog Millionaire" - Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

 

Should Win: I'm not a huge admirer of any of these pieces of adaptation, which either didn't expand on stage plays ("Doubt" and "Frost/Nixon"), had nothing to do with their source material and could just as easily have been deemed original ("Benjamin Button") or weren't very good ("The Reader"). The leaves Simon Beaufoy for "Slumdog Millionaire."

Will Win: Simon Beaufoy

 

My other Oscar picks...

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

"Waltz with Bashir"

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

"Man on Wire"

 

ANIMATED FILM

"WALL-E"

 

ART DIRECTION

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

"Slumdog Millionaire" - Anthony Dod Mantle

 

COSTUME DESIGN

"The Duchess" - Michael O'Connor

 

FILM EDITING

"Slumdog Millionaire"

 

MAKEUP

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

 

MUSIC (SCORE)

"Slumdog Millionaire" - A.R. Rahman

 

MUSIC (SONG)

"Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire"

 

SOUND EDITING

"WALL-E"

 

SOUND MIXING

"The Dark Knight"

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

"The Dark Knight"

 

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

"The Conscience of Nhem En"

 

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

"Presto"

 

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

"Spielzeugland (Toyland)"

 

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