These were just announced this morning. Let's go through them, shall we?
Richard Jenkins - THE VISITOR
Frank Langella - FROST/NIXON
Sean Penn - MILK
Brad Pitt - THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Mickey Rourke - THE WRESTLER
Mickey Rourke is a lock for this. Now don't forget about SIN CITY 2, Mr. Rourke.
Best Supporting Actor:
Josh Brolin - MILK
Robert Downey Jr. - TROPIC THUNDER
Philip Seymour Hoffman - DOUBT
Heath Ledger - THE DARK KNIGHT
Michael Shannon - REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
Heath deserves it the most, and I'm 99% sure he'll get it. That said, how AWESOME would it be if Robert Downey Jr. won? Imagine the acceptance speech! (in character!)
Anne Hathaway - RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
Angelina Jolie - CHANGELING
Melissa Leo - FROZEN RIVER
Meryl Streep - DOUBT
Kate Winslet - THE READER
Sadly, I've yet to see any of those movies. But even without seeing her performance, I can safely say Meryl Streep should win; she's the best actress alive right now. Though I hear Kate gets buck nekkid a whole lot in THE READER, so maybe she'll win. I'm joshin' of course. Ahem.
Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams - DOUBT
Penelope Cruz - VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Viola Davis - DOUBT
Taraji P. Henson - THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Marisa Tomei - THE WRESTLER
Although she was great, Marisa already has an Oscar so I'm guessing it goes to... Viola Davis. I've heard very good things about her in DOUBT.
Best Documentary Feature:
THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON)
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
MAN ON WIRE
TROUBLE THE WATER
In a just world, WALTZ WITH BASHIR would be on that list. MAN ON WIRE will win.
Best Animated Feature Film:
KUNG FU PANDA
I prefer KUNG FU PANDA (of course), but WALL-E will win. Oh, and BASHIR should be on here also.
Best Foreign Language Film:
THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX - Germany
THE CLASS - France
DEPARTURES - Japan
REVANCHE - Austria
WALTZ WITH BASHIR - Israel
I've only seen BASHIR, and I still know it'll win.
Best Art Direction:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
BENJAMIN BUTTON should take this.
CHANGELING - Tom Stern
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - Claudio Miranda
THE DARK KNIGHT - Wally Pfister
THE READER - Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Anthony Dod Mantle
Roger Deakins was robbed last year. But how do you have two cinematographers? I'm going with Claudio Miranda. Even if you don't like BENJAMIN BUTTON, you can't look past its technical brilliance.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
THE DARK KNIGHT - Lee Smith
FROST/NIXON - Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
MILK - Elliot Graham
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Chris Dickens
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - Greg Cannom
THE DARK KNIGHT - John Caglione Jr. and Connor O'Sullivan
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY - Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz
Hmm, this one is tough. They were all great -- HELLBOY is the most obvious (just for the Troll Market sequence alone), but I was most impressed with the work on BENJAMIN BUTTON, and I can't dismiss how the Joker and Two-Face looked in THE DARK KNIGHT either... I'm going with my gut: BENJAMIN BUTTON.
Best Visual Effects:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
THE DARK KNIGHT - Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
IRON MAN - John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan
Again, a tough category. Again, it goes to BENJAMIN BUTTON.
Best Original Score:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - Alexandre Desplat
DEFIANCE - James Newton Howard
MILK - Danny Elfman
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - A.R. Rahman
WALL-E - Thomas Newman
Where the frack is THE DARK KNIGHT?! SLUMGDOG, then.
Best Original Song:
"Down to Earth" - WALL-E
"Jai Ho" - SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
"O Saya" - SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Where the frack is THE WRESTLER?! You got snubbed, Mr. Springsteen. One of the SLUMGDOG's, then. Probably "Jai Ho". Although I have a strange feeling it'll go to WALL-E.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
DOUBT - John Patrick Shanley
FROST/NIXON - Peter Morgan
THE READER - David Hare
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Simon Beaufoy
Best Original Screenplay:
FROZEN RIVER - Courtney Hunt
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY - Mike Leigh
IN BRUGES - Martin McDonagh
MILK - Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E - Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - David Fincher
FROST/NIXON - Ron Howard
MILK - Gus Van Sant
THE READER - Stephen Daldry
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Danny Boyle
I'm pulling for oh Danny Boy, although I wouldn't mind Fincher winning.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Replace THE READER with THE DARK KNIGHT and I would be very, very happy. Yes, I would take Christian Bale's annoying Bat-voice over Kate Winslet's buba anyday. I still would have gone with SLUMDOG, though.
I don't think there will be many surprises at the Oscars this year. SLUMDOG should win big, BENJAMIN BUTTON will take most of the technical awards, and the acting Oscars will probably go to the favorites. I am bummed about THE DARK KNIGHT and Christopher Nolan being snubbed for Best Picture and Best Director, respectively, and THE WRESTLER not getting much love (not even for Best Original Song? Really?!). So much for THE DARK KNIGHT transcending the superhero genre and opening doors for comic book adaptations to be taken more seriously... I guess THE WATCHMEN is our last hope.