Pssst. You. You in an Oscar pool? Yeah? You wanna win? Good, good. Come closer. Now, read below.
These are Your Movie Dude's predictions, not who he wanted to win. If it was up to him Paul Giamatti would win Best Actor and Finding Neverland wouldn't sniff an award except Best Gilded Crap. This is an especially tough year, as their is no clear-cut runaway TITANIC, RETURN OF THE KING, or DANCES WITH WOLVES. The cumulative domestic box office of the best pic noms is the lowest in forever. Which means you need me even more! The predictions are based on the psychic statuette bio-rythyms that only Your Movie Dude is tuned into. Comments are available if necessary, look out for overusage of "momentum," "consolation," and "buzz."
Best Pic: MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Personally, I'm a huge fan of SIDEWAYS (What pathetic critic isn't?). But Clint's pic has more momentum.
Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, RAY
This isn't brain surgery, the man's on a roll. I would have voted for Paul Giamatti or Don Cheadle.
Best Actress: Hilary Swank, MILLION DOLLAR BABY
This is toughie (my gut was nagging at me to pick Imelda Staughton in VERA DRAKE). Every year there is an upset in one of the actress categories, but it's usually in the Supporting category (see below).
Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman, MILLION DOLLAR BABY
My personal vote would have been for Thomas Haden Church. But BABY is far out-distancing it's competition in key categories: late season awards, buzz momentum and Oscar-nominated box-office resurgence.
Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman, CLOSER
This category is a perennial wild card. Anything is possible. I have a gut feeling for the pick and any gut filled with booze, various cheeses and fried foods is never wrong.
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, THE AVIATOR
There are a few Oscar rules to note: 1. Best Picture often translates to Best Director; 2. Oscar likes actor/directors (both of which point to Clint). However, as mentioned above, this is not like any other year. Although by far not his best film, I think Marty wins doubly based on consolation for past wrongs and as second place for this year's Best Picture.
Best Screenplay (Original): ETERNAL SUNSHINE (Charlie Kaufman)
If there is a tenant in heaven, ETERNAL gets the nod. Screenplay is usually the one place where a small film will get noticed and ETERNAL was one of favorites of the year; the rare occasion where my gut and my heart lie together. Awww!
Best Screenplay (Adapted): SIDEWAYS (Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor)
See above re: small films. This is where SIDEWAYS collects it's consolation prize. Congrats to BEFORE SUNSET on the nod.
The rest (aka "The Guess Landmine"):
Art Direction: THE AVIATOR
Visual Effects: SPIDER-MAN 2
Original Score: FINDING NEVERLAND
Original Song: "Believe" THE POLAR EXPRESS
Animated Feature: THE INCREDIBLES
Animated Short: BIRTHDAY BOY
Live Action Short: TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT
Costume Design: THE AVIATOR
Makeup: THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
Cinematography: THE AVIATOR
Editing: THE AVIATOR
Best Documentary: BORN INTO BROTHELS
Best Documentary, Short Feature: SISTER ROSE'S PASSION
Foriegn Language Film: THE SEA INSIDE
Sound: THE AVIATOR
Sound Editing: SPIDER-MAN 2
In sum, I think THE AVIATOR will carry a ton of the "technical" awards usually awarded to the biggest epic. The rest are educated guesses (industry jargon for "bullsh*t coin-flipping"). Good luck!!