Okay, I just got back from seeing "The Lives of Others" and "Volver". Both excellent movies. Now let's continue.
Actress in a Leading Role:
It has to be Helen Mirren. Interesting note, Kate Winslet is now the youngest actress to pick up six nominations, and still no win. If she continues picking up nominations at the same rate until she's 87 (the age that her "Titanic" co-star Gloria Stuart was when she was nominated), she'll have 36 nominations, with zero wins. And there's no chance she'll win this year. The London bookmakers even stopped taking bets on this category. Traditionally, the last year's best actor winner announces the best actress and vice-versa. If Philip Seymour Hoffman comes out on stage, tears off his human shell to reveal he is actually a crab person, it would not be as shocking if he retained his human form and announced Kate Winslet won. By the way, in the interest of disclosure, I saw Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada" on DVD instead of the big screen. I don't think that matters.
Actress in a Supporting Role:
Oh, I really, really want it to be Abigail Breslin. So what the hell, that's my pick.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say I saw "United 93" on DVD. This might in fact matter, because I couldn't sit still while watching it. I think this'll be "Babel". Actually, this is one of the toughest for me to call. I also have a feeling it could be "The Departed" or "Children of Men". But "Children of Men" was more noteworthy for not editing (see my comment on best cinematography). If "The Departed" wins this, then it'll be Scorsese's night (finally), but I'm just not feeling it.
Gotta be "Pan's Labyrinth". By the way, I'm still pissed that "Click" is nominated for anything. Okay, they put Adam Sandler in a fat suit and then in old man makeup. Both been done before, but has anyone ever done both in the same movie? Who cares?
"Pan's Labyrinth". It was the only tune I still had in my mind when I left the theater, and if you played all the scores, it'll probably be the only one that'll bring me back to the movie.
I guess I could be cheesy and say "Dreamgirls" without specifying the song. But I think they'll actually split the vote. "Our Town" from "Cars" is exactly the stuff the academy likes. But I think they'll go political with "I Need to Wake Up" from "An Inconvenient Truth".
Here's an interesting one, "Flags of Our Fathers" up against "Letters From Iwo Jima". And some other junk in the category. For the record, I saw "Flags of Our Fathers" on DVD because no theater was cool enough to play the double feature of "Flags" and "Iwo Jima" that I wanted. I think "Letters From Iwo Jima" will take it.
And this one "Dreamgirls" will take.
It doesn't matter which will win, I'll throw up a little in my mouth whatever happens. "Pirates" looked like bad CGI, especially the ending where spoiler, highlight to read Johnny Depp threw himself in the kraken's mouthend spoiler. "Superman Returns" looked like bad CGI all the way through. I think the only reason I didn't notice the bad CGI on "Poseidon" is because I saw it on DVD and didn't really pay attention. So I'm giving the award to "The Fountain". Screw this category!
Okay, I've calmed down a little, and I'll predict "Superman Returns", but I don't like it. But on a completely unrelated point, I'm pissed "The Fountain" didn't receive the critical or popular acclaim it deserved on any front.
Seriously, can you really count "Borat" as being "adapted"...or as having a "screenplay"? I'm going with "Children of Men".
As a wild-ass guess, I'm going with "Babel".
Okay, I'm taking another break. I'll finish up with the short films, foreign films, directing and best picture tomorrow morning. And maybe some comments on the documentaries, the two categories for which I haven't seen everything.