The first big awards ceremony of the season is upon us and it's time for Yours Truly to make his predictions. The same rules apply like last year: predictions are only made in categories where I have seen at least three of the nominees. There are two predictions for each category: those who, in my opinion, should win and those who probably will win tonight.
BEST MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: An award-worthy film in every sense of the term. After seeing this film, I am convinced that it will be a one-horse race.
- Frost / Nixon: This also smells of awards - and deservedly so - but it doesn't go that much beyond a filmed play, which could be its downfall.
- The Reader: Holocaust-themed movies always do well in awards, but this one left me a bit short-changed with its early climax.
- Revolutionary Road: A flawless film with flawless performances, but it's not an experience I would like to repeat again - it is too dark to be a winner, unfortunately.
- Slumdog Millionaire: This year's pseudo-Indie hit is the definitive feelgood film with great performances and directing.
My heart says ... Slumdog Millionaire
My brain says ...The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
BEST MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
- Burn After Reading: Coens' are back to their prime and with a big-name cast they delivered a very solid effort.
- Happy-Go-Lucky: You argue whether this film could have been as good without Sally Hawkins, but either way it was a brilliantly written and directed film.
- In Bruges: This refreshingly un-PC comedy ticked all the boxes and was also emotionally satisfying too.
- Mamma Mia!: I haven't seen it and, frankly, I have no intention to see it in the near future.
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Sadly, I missed this in the theaters.
My heart says ... Happy-Go-Lucky
My brain says ... Mamma Mia!
BEST ACTOR MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
- Leonardo DiCaprio for Revolutionary Road: Another solid performance from Leo, where the intensity we have got used to lately is up to 11.
- Frank Langella for Frost / Nixon: It's to Langella's credit that he doesn't succumb to parody, but we are often reminded ourselves that he is playing a real-life character rather than "being" one.
- Sean Penn for Milk: Penn manages to make the role his and hides successfully behind the real person.
- Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Perhaps Pitt's most award-worthy performance that sees him play the different ages of the titular character note-perfect.
- Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler: This isn't out yet in Portland.
My heart says ... Leonardo DiCaprio
My brain says ... Mickey Rourke
BEST ACTRESS MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
- Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married: I haven't seen this yet.
- Angelina Joley for Changeling: This is the first time I was impressed with Jolie's acting, but she is trying WAY too hard here.
- Meryl Streep for Doubt: Streep, once again, proves that she can nail any role she tackles.
- Kristin Scott Thomas for I've Loved You So Long: A brilliant performance from the ever-so-reliable Thomas, she reaches an emotional intensity unlike anyone I've seen this year. A sublime performance.
- Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road: Kate Winslet is set to be the most-nominated actress ever if she keeps this up. Another great turn by her.
My heart says ... Kristin Scott Thomas
My brain says ... Kate Winslet
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Tom Cruise for Tropic Thunder: The Cruiser re-iterates what a good actor he can be when given good material. Hilarious.
- Robert Downey, Jr. for Tropic Thunder: The year of the Downey comes to a close and "you people" embraces him with both arms open wide.
- Ralph Fiennes for The Duchess: I haven't seen it, but knowing that Fiennes is always brilliant gives me an idea.
- Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt: "The Greatest Actor of His Generation" is at it again - his Father Flynn is as enigmatic a character as can be.
- Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight: It's hard to gauge this role with hindsight, but a fantastic performance regardless of what happened.
My heart ... Heath Ledger
My brain says ... Heath Ledger
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Amy Adams for Doubt: Perhaps the best casting decision of the year sees Adams' innocence clash with the unthinkable.
- Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Now I really regret not seeing this!
- Viola Davis for Doubt: More a cameo than an actual part, Davis comes thumbs up in the most powerful scene in the film.
- Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler: Tomei as a stripper ... I say "Hell, yeah!!"
- Kate Winslet for The Reader: Winslet is the shining star of this dull drama and she nails the accent too.
My heart says ... Kate Winslet
My brain says ... Viola Davis
- Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire: Boyle is the master of every genre and he comes up victorious from this one too.
- Stephen Daldry for The Reader: Daldry's third feature had everything going for it, except for a more consistent script.
- David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: This is a very conventional story in an unconventional director's hand he does a fantastic job of it.
- Ron Howard for Frost / Nixon: Howard is always nominated for his "safe" directorial style and this is no different.
- Sam Mendes for Revolutionary Road: Mendes is at his best once again, he carves out a film out of an unfilmable story.
My heart says ... David Fincher
My brain says ... David Fincher
- Eric Roth and Robin Swicord for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: They took a lot from Roth's own Forest Gump, so the credit should go to F. Scott Fitzgerald for the idea.
- John Patrick Shanley for Doubt: As far as dialog goes, it has no peers.
- Peter Morgan for Frost / Nixon: Morgan's latest shines when the titular characters aren't facing off each other.
- David Hare for The Reader: I am a little disappointed, considering what Hare can be capable of.
- Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire: Kudos to Beaufoy for not falling into a trap by making this an episodic drama.
My heart says ... John Patrick Shanley
My brain says ...John Patrick Shanley
I'm not predicting any television categories, because I don't religiously watch any TV shows while they are on.