It was a pretty good year not just for movies in general but for the Oscars: this year, there isn't a single movie nominated for Best Picture that I think is out-and-out bad, as with Crash in 2006 or The Hours in 2003. Even the weakest movie nominated this year, Juno, is pretty good, probably better than Little Miss Sunshine and definitely better than Ray or Seabiscuit. So anyway, here's my list of what I think will win and what I think should win:
Best Short Film, Animated/Live-Action:
I don't know, I don't really care. None of them could be as shitty as last year's Live-Action winner, West Bank Story. I think Madame Tutli-Putli is a good title so I'll root for it, and I hear The Mozart of Pickpockets is good so let's go with that.
Best Documentary, Feature/Short:
I regret to say that I haven't seen most of these either. I understand that No End in Sight is probably the best-made feature and while I liked Sicko, it was pretty flawed, so I have no dog in this race. Let's say No End in Sight and Freeheld.
Best Foreign Film:
Since such films as Persepolis, The Orphanage, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and more didn't make the cut, it means that I haven't seen any of the films nominated, which means: pick the film that involves Nazis, so here's to you, The Counterfeiters.
Best Animated Feature:
Ratatouille is by far the best of these. Persepolis could pull off an anti-Pixar upset, but why would Hollywood choose to pick on the only company that reliably produces films that are both profitable and high-quality?
Best Visual Effects:
Michael Bay designed and edited the robots in Transformers in such a way that you could never really get a good look at them, and since the Academy already awarded the effects team from Pirates 2, I figure they'll do it again for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Best Sound Editing/Mixing:
These could possible become part of a No Country for Old Men sweep, but I'm actually going to pull for the loud insanity of Transformers for one reason: sound mixer Kevin O'Connell is on his 20th nomination and the man's streak has to end sometime.
Best Original Song:
Oscar voters love their winners to have stories behind them, which is why I figure they'll pick "Falling Slowly" from Once.
Best Original Score:
I'd prefer for Michael Giacchino to win for Ratatouille after not even being nominated for The Incredibles, but Dario Marianelli will probably win for Atonement and that'll be just fine.
La Vie En Rose wins by being neither primarily digital (Pirates 3) nor part of a noxious movie (Norbit).
The Academy tradition would be to include this as part of the Best Picture coattails, but I don't see the Academy giving an award to the fictional Roderick Jaynes, so instead Christopher Rouse will win for The Bourne Ultimatum, the film with the most editing.
Best Costume Design:
I'm going to say the Academy-traditional Atonement and that green dress, although it could just as easily be Sweeney Todd.
Best Art Direction:
This tends to go to lush period sets, so I don't see why they wouldn't give Dante Ferretti his second Oscar, for Sweeney Todd.
Elswit won the ASC award, but I'm going to say that Oscar coattails outweigh vote-splitting and give Roger Deakins his much-deserved first Oscar for No Country for Old Men. He should get it for Jesse James instead, but who cares.
Best Original Screenplay:
I predict to be pissed off when Diablo Cody goes up to win her trophy for a movie that was rescued from its own screenplay by its director and cast. I'd love to see an upset from Tony Gilroy but my real favorite is Ratatouille.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
I have a feeling that this is where Paul Thomas Anderson gets his recognition, which is fine with me. If the Coens win, we know for sure what wins Best Picture.
Best Supporting Actor:
There's an outside chance for a Hal Holbrook upset, but it's almost certainly going to be Javier Bardem, as well it should.
Best Supporting Actress:
The year's most wide-open category, my preference is for Tilda Swinton but I have a feeling it'll go to awful mom Amy Ryan. Blanchett won just a few years ago, Ronan is too young, and Ruby Dee's role just isn't big enough.
How can it not be Daniel Day-Lewis? In your face, David Poland's predictions from over a year ago.
I'd love for Marion Cotillard to win, but it's very rare for a foreign-language performance to win here. Julie Christie is the likely winner, especially because she's an Academy veteran and her movie hits home with their voters, but I won't be shocked if Ellen Page upsets here.
Les Freres Coen.
No Country for Old Men. While I have an idiosyncratic preference for the insular epic There Will Be Blood in this category and director, I won't be sorry at all if the Coens' lament in the form of a thriller takes the top price. I can imagine possible upsets from the popular Juno or the more Academy-friendly Atonement, but this seems to be the Coens' year.