I'm usually pretty good at predicting these things... and that's not bragging this year, where most of the categories appear to be coronations. But there will be a surprise or two.
Best Picture - Little Miss Sunshine
Yes, I'm afraid so. It's all Crash's fault. The Academy voters are developing a taste for overrated, obvious, Sundancey films with ensemble casts. Just as Crash was awarded for finally exposing America's ugly racist tendencies, Sunshine will be rewarded for knocking those tasteless children's beauty pageants down a peg or two. I realized a few months ago that the most painful film festival imaginable would be a retrospective of the last 15 years of Best Picture Oscar winners, shown in chronological order (or shown in one marathon event, with Roberto Benigni set loose in the theatre as a bonus).
Best Director - Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Finally. Although it would be hilarious if Eastwood beat him again.
Best Actor - Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
This would be gratifying for me to see, having lost all hope for Forest a few years ago during his wilderness years (directing Waiting To Exhale, co-starring in Battlefield Earth). There was talk early in the race of it being between Whitaker and Peter O'Toole but that talk has since died down.
Best Actress - Helen Mirren, The Queen
Best Supporting Actor - Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
The beneficiary of the 'Anyone But Norbit' movement, which also works out to be a semi-career achievement award for him. I wish the Academy had the good sense to give it to Mark Wahlberg, who was fantastic in The Departed, basing the abusive character he played on a real life cop who continually busted his balls when he was a young punk in Dorchester.
Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
People love that "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" song and want to give someone an award for belting it out.
Al Gore will win for documentary. Children of Men will win for cinematography. Original screenplay will go to Sunshine, despite its similarities to National Lampoon's Vacation. The Departed will win for editing and adapted screenplay. The Lives of Others will get foreign language film. Celine Dion will do her best to fuck up the Ennio Morricone lifetime achievement award. And Britney Spears will show up unannounced, painted from head to toe in gold.