Friday, February 22, 2008

Final Oscar Predictions

I confess: this has been a somewhat haphazard year of Oscar coverage for me. I was really raring to go at nomination time but then... where did the time and obsession go? In an odd turn of events I think the general quality of the shortlists (so little to be infuriated by this year) prevented me from becoming too enthralled with the race. In several cases I'd be happy with more than one winner. It's hard to root for anyone in particular when you love a lot of them and when you can't even decide who you would vote for yourself (Viggo vs. Daniel / No Country vs. There Will Be Blood --both are toss-ups)


Nevertheless, predict I must.

FINAL PREDICTIONS
Read and report back? How wrong am I? ...or maybe you're more charitable and think me a wise Oscar prophet this year! (Hey I was right about Laura Linney in January)

What say ye?
*

64 comments:

roscoecashjr said...

posting off topic...but related to your previous fisk/spacek post...the Carpetbagger posts today about their daughter, the musician...who knew?

http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/22/from-where-im-standing/

roscoecashjr said...

i'm still in a quandary about swinton vs. dee vs. ryan. (i agree that it's not blanchette's, because she recently won for playing a famous person and because the film is sort of covered in impenetrability). but what do you think gives swinton the edge?

Peter said...

You forgot to put any comments about your Swinton pick!

NATHANIEL R said...

I've JUST added that. whoops

amir_uk said...

"I guess it's a shock that La Vie En Rose was nominated to begin with since the academy usually likes to pretend that beautiful actress transforming their hairlines and skin tone and everything is the power of the actress herself."

So funny Nathaniel - and so true!

Your prediction that it's a Swinton vs. Dee race in Supporting Actress fills me with much joy for I want both of them to win and can't really decide between the two. Either way, I win.

E Dot said...

I TOTALLY agree with Cotillard. I don't know why, but I'm really feeling Amy Ryan. Why is that?

Billy D said...

As soon as you mentioned the ageism of the academy when it comes to actresses, you had me rooting for Christie again. Despite the fact that Cotillard gave a great performance, the nomination has secured her the profile she needs to make some big American pics in the next few years. If she wins it now, she'll have peaked, and where will she go from here?

Is it bad that I sort of want Ronan to win the BSA? I'd love to see Swinton with an Oscar in her hand, and, let's face it, she did the most "work" out of any of the nominees, but it would be such a great spoiler.

Sam said...

Interesting choices: Swinton and Cotillard. I would love to see Swinton win but still think it'll go to Ruby Dee, even though best supporting actress is so often best supporting babe. I think Dee will win and go down in history as the exception that proves the age bias rule.

Speaking of age bias, you may very well be right about Cotillard. I really like her but will be heart broken if Julie Christie doesn't win for the most moving performance in many years.

Luke said...

I don't know. I am thinking Adapted Screenplay is much more of a lock for Coens than Directing - precisely because the former seems much more competitive and therefore I can't see any of the four rivals getting enough momentum to threat the "default" winning script. Whereas in Directing, Schnabel seems the only realistic threat. If that makes sense.

In fact, I refuse to believe that Diving Bell won't take home at least one of the following: Directing, Cinematography, Editing. How many and which ones? No idea.

I do agree that Bourne is a possible spoiler in every category it's running in. But that may be partially because I just watched it yesterday and fell totally in love with it.

Anonymous said...

lordy i hope you are wrong about best actress - and i know you hope you are too ;)

Gavrilo said...

You said that Barbra Streisand and Kate Hepburn are the only ones to have won in a tie, but what about Fredric March and Wallace Beery in 1931-32?

Anonymous said...

pite the fact that Cotillard gave a great performance, the nomination has secured her the profile she needs to make some big American pics in the next few years. If she wins it now, she'll have peaked, and where will she go from here?

It's this kind of mentality that's prevented some true landmark performances from being rewarded for a "wait-and-see what they do down the road" approach, which almost always end up paling in hindsight to the peak that they should have won for. This is Marion Cotillard's pinnacle -- I don't think she'll ever reach this point again in her career with a role and performance like this one. It feels right that that should be the performance that she should win the Oscar for.

Boyd said...

Holy moly! What's with the sudden late surge of Cotillard love? I mean, her performance is fantastic and all, but I didn't see that one coming - for a French actress!

adam k. said...

OK Nathaniel, I will be blunt with you here: I think it's becoming increasingly transparent that you are afraid to predict a Christie win purely because you love the performance and are afraid to see it lose. I mean, if it lost AND you were predicting it, your head might explode, right? But that doesn't mean she's not gonna win. She will.

She didn't sweep, per se, but she came DAMN close. If she'd won the BAFTA, there would be zero doubt that she'd win the oscar... but then when did the BAFTA become so predictive of anything? Is the f***ing BAFTA enough to offset winning...

A) the most critics (yes, Christie won a solid majority of the critics groups... 3 of the big 4, plus most of the little ones)
B) the BFCA
C) the drama GG (I'm reasonably confident that Christie would've won even if competing against Cotillard directly)
D) the SAG

Critics + BFCA + GG + SAG = Oscar gold. Especially when the challenger is a foreign language performance, and a divisive one at that. I think the Brokeback loss has traumatized you in ways that are affecting your judgment. This would be an upset of similar proportions. But people have no homophobia toward Julie Christie, and not everyone in Hollywood starred in Cotillard's movie. In fact, none of them did, cause it's French, and it's all about her.

Sorry if I sound needlessly snarky here, but I feel the need to talk some sense into you. I hope you breathe a HUGE sigh of relief when Christie accepts her 2nd oscar on sunday.

adam k. said...

Also, I find it rather silly that you're ridiculing people who are predicting a Blanchett win (in supporting). I think it's neck and neck and neck (her vs Swinton vs Dee). I personally am predicting Swinton cause I love love love her and I think a lot of voters feel the same way, and want Michael Clayton to win something.

But I see why Blanchett is still the consensus choice. It's the baitiest role, and the assumed frontrunner all season. And you could make an argument that each time she lost, there was a specific reason why someone else won that particular award, i.e.:

Ryan won the BFCA cause they decided to go with the ACTUAL critical fave (like they did the year Madsen and Church won).

Dee won the SAG cause she was the only one in a well-liked, widely seen film (SAG is populist).

Swinton won the BAFTA cause she's British (or Scottish? whatever, same diff).

Whereas Blanchett won the globe simply because she was baity an deserving and "supposed to" win, all things being equal.

And lest I remind you that you were in fact wrong every time you said "Blanchett won't get another lead nom at BFCAs/Globes/SAGs/BAFTAs/Oscars. And yet she kept getting them. Underestimate her at your peril.

Again, not saying she'll win, but it'll be very close and her winning wouldn't surprise me at all.

daveylow said...

Nathaniel,
I wish you hadn't given up on a Christie win. Yours was one of the few blogs who was steadfast about her winning until now.

I'm still hoping that she wins.
I'm still putting her down on my Oscar ballot, even if it means losing the Oscar pool this year.

I'm hoping the upsets are in other categories.

Sid said...

Cotillar is my predicted Actress winner as well Nat. It just seems to make the most sense (given the performances that are nominated).

Supporting actress is a really tough guess but I honestly believe Blanchett won't win this. My current guess is Ryan but I'm not really sure??? This category is killing me.

Sid said...

Oops... I meant CotillarD of course

daveylow said...

Nathaniel,
I wish you hadn't given up on a Christie win. Yours was one of the few blogs who was steadfast about her winning until now.

I'm still hoping that she wins.
I'm still putting her down on my Oscar ballot, even if it means losing the Oscar pool this year.

I'm hoping the upsets are in other categories.

Amanda said...

Im in love with your Film Bitch picks. Ratatouille for Best scene? You're amazing.

NATHANIEL R said...

me predicting it doesn't change what will happen. I don't have that kind of power --HEE.

I WILL BE THE HAPPIEST MEN WATCHING IF CHRISTIE WINS. I really do think she's head and shoulders superior to the rest of the nominees ... ok maybe only "heads" when it comes to Laura Linney.

but it's always an "if" with Oscar --it's never a "when" unless they've won everything (Christie hasn't)

Adam --I don't think I was "ridiculing" people for predicting Blanchett. I just think it's odd that people have never let her "frontrunner" status go, despite that she really hasn't done that well this season (in terms of wins) and she's not in a widely seen or accessible movie. Consider that I'm a Todd Haynes junkie and I couldn't even really love it.

AS FOR PAST TRAUMAS...

you have a point that the Brokeback loss did traumatize me --not because i need to be right (i don't actually care that much about statistics) but because it so clearly deserved to dominate the season and it had everywhere else.

but in this case the trauma is more from the past 12 to 15 years of total unmitigated biopic passion on AMPAS's part. The Oscars go in waves just like filmmaking (we don't see a lot of "mental retardation" nominees or wins anymore nor, come to think of it, hookers with a heart of gold) and if both Cotillard and Blanchett lose this year I think it will signify something.

...at the very least it will signify a big smile on my face. (NOT BECAUSE THEY LOST --i know people love them so no offense. But because it will finally mean that BIOPIC performances aren't "givens" anymore. Even if you love biopic performances in general I think you'll agree that it's wrong for any one type of performance to be a "given" ---it spoils the true discernment about art and it definitely kills diversity in Oscar nominations.

anyway, I just gave Cate Blanchett my bronze medal and even though she's my second favorite in the category in terms of those 5 performances, I just don't want her to win. She just won the Oscar and Tilda is so much better.

If it can't be Tilda I hope it's Ruby Dee for a career tribute.

Anonymous said...

It's not a damn precursor formula to compute in the lead actress category. Marion Cotillard can most certainly win the Oscar, and just b/c you hate the performance doesn't mean anything. She has tons of positives in her favor right now, most being the late surge and the nature of her Oscar-bait friendly performance. Academy voters have been just as known to go against the grain as follow the herd.

The only negative I can see is the foreign language component, but I see people getting over that. They nominated it, they've been more receptive to foreign-language performances, the Academy has been moving into a diversity-accepting phase as the membership is growing and becoming more global. This is a three-person race whether you like it or not, and until the envelope is read, it could just as easily be Marion Cotillard's name read as anybody's.

Maureen Stapleton Fan said...

This is how I see it and I'm sure nobody gives a rat's behind but here I go ...........

Christie vs Cotilarrd :

Cotilarrd's performance struck me as way too over the top - a little too much chewing of the furniture for me. Christie's performance very quietly and gently broke my heart ; amazing.

Swinton vs Dee vs Ryan :

I saw American Gangster w/Ruby Dee last night. Will someone PLEASE tell me why she was nominated ? I'm left scratching my head. She is a sweet lady - a legend - but enjoy the SAG award. You got yours. NEXT!!

Amy Ryan in GBG also left me scratching my head. I didn't see anything special there. I found her character to be a bit of cliche and a little over-the-top.

Tilda is the real deal ; I love how we see the insecurities of Karen especially when she is alone in her hotel room ; the scene w/her and Clooney at the end is great. Amazing.

I feel better - I've added my two-cents! LOL

NATHANIEL R said...

anonymous --who r u addressing? i'm the one predicting cotillard but i'm also the won who doesn't like the performance...

so i'm confused about who you're commenting to.

NATHANIEL R said...

maureen stapleton fan agreed on Tilda. But then, that's been obvioius for some time. I'll stop campaigning for her now ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

amanda --thank you! but I just realized that the wrong draft of the awards was posted a couple hours ago. it should all be perfect now.

but don't worry. RATATOUILLE still has the gold in the "scene" category.

NATHANIEL R said...

oh those awards (mine not oscars) are here

and now i'll stop commenting endlessly. sorry...

Anonymous said...

I was talking to adam k. His pompous dismissing of Marion Cotillard was getting on my nerves.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. R.,

consider listening to your heart and predict Christie. She is going to win it.

Marcelo - Brazil.

E Dot said...

The real head scrather is Cinematography. I put TWBB too, but it's extremely competitive this year!

JS said...

gavrilo - Streisand and Hepburn's was a true tie. March and Beery's was a technical tie because the old Academy rule was if someone won by three or less votes over the runner-up (which happened in that case), it would be declared a tie.

I can't believe most of my clip picks made it in! I chose DDL's "just a bastard from a basket" clip because I want to see someone in the audience go "oh sh!t, I voted without seeing the movie because everybody said I should vote for Day-Lewis." As for Christie and everyone else's, well we've seen all the nominees at their "best" in every awards show clip so I think, as the "culmination" of awards season, the Academy could stand to show the nominees at their "worst."

adam k. said...

anonymous My pompous dismissing of her performance??? Read my comment again and you'll see that I never once referenced any feelings I might have about the performance's quality or lack thereof. I haven't even La Vie En Rose.

I was only being dismissive of her chances of winning. Quite frankly, I don't understand why anyone is not predicting Christie. You can say there's no formula for winning, but when's the last time someone won:

National Board of Review
NYFCC
NSFC
BFCA
GG (drama)
SAG

...and lost the oscar? The closest thing to that in recent memory was Eddie Murphy's loss and that could be explained easily in terms of Norbit, the lack of Dreamgirls love, and Alan Arkin's status as a never-winning veteran. And Eddie Murphy is no Julie Christie.

I just don't understand why anyone would not be predicting Christie if they're really trying to be objective. I may be eating my words come sunday night, but right now, I'll say it: JULIE CHRISTIE HAS WON THE BULK OF AWARDS THIS YEAR AND THERE'S NO REASON WHY SHE SHOULDN'T WIN THE OSCAR. So there.

roscoecashjr said...

The conventional wisdom *should* still be on Christie (for all the reasons cited by Adam as he bangs his fist on the table)...but this is an unconventional year. I liken Cotillard over Christie to Halle Berry over Sissy Spacek. The love for the veteran is there but the excitement stirred up by the gorgeous newcomer will tip the scales. (And Marion C. is far superior to Ms. Halle, so...)

I somehow think that the foreign language problem will be hurdled by the fact that it's Edith Piaf we're talking about, and we already know the songs -- or at least a couple of them -- which dilutes the "foreign" aspect.

Anonymous said...

The best similar example is the Halle Berry/Sissy Spacek year. Anything's possible, and just b/c Julie Christie has won the bulk of the precursors, it doesn't mean that the Oscar has her name on it yet. Precursors can be faulty. It's not a damn formula to solve. It could just as easily go to Marion Cotillard or Ellen Page. I'm predicting Marion Cotillard to win -- it's the prediction I've had all along, and that's the one I'm staying with until the end.

Anonymous said...

Marion Cotillard MUST win. She was brillant, she cant lost because she speaks in french, if that matters, why they bother to nominated her???. Make the Oscar just for american people, and its over. If this boicot to an amazing performance for her language continuos, stop nominated intenational people, why they give that chance if they know, they are no voting for them, just for their language.
Just a Felling.
I HOPE she wins.

adam k. said...

The Sissy/Halle example is actually a very good parallel. Julie, like Sissy, is a well-loved legend who has already won, and now stars in a film about a couple where she is getting the bulk of the praise despite having less screentime (and being less of a lead) than her co-star. Marion, like Halle, is the hot young thing deglamming, who hasn't won much.

But there are major differences. First off, Halle was American (and a big star, at that). She also won the SAG (the first and only bellwether that she might win the oscar... but sorry, SAG is much more predictive than BAFTA). And of course, she had the history-making thing on her side. Marion I suppose would also sort of make history by being only the second foreign language actress to win, but she's not the FIRST, and it also wouldn't exactly break down barriers like Halle did.

I guess I could see how Marion would win, I just think people are blowing this goddamn BAFTA win way out of proportion. I mean, come on.

E Dot said...

Hey Crew, remember this is an underdog year. The frontrunner and expected winners just don't seem to be coming out on top. With underdogs becoming key players (Obama, the Giants, the Beagle), there's no reason to discount Marion Cotillard.

How do you say 'come from behind victory' in French?

daveylow said...

Forget trying to defend Christie for the win. The Cotillard fans are relentless. Only Marion should win. Haven't you given in yet?

If Christie wins, we will just hear over and over how Cotillard was robbed, for as we all know, she gave the most amazing screen performance of 2007, and if you don't agree, you're a moron.

E Dot said...

This is all subjective people. Don't take it so seriously.

We all can agree to disagree.

NATHANIEL R said...

daveylow this is one thing I really hate about the Oscar punditry game. there seems to be a very thin line, perception wise, in prediction versus "should" so

if I predict a loss for Christie it somehow distorts itself in the cosmos as to me not having faith in how brilliant she is or whatnot.

it's very strange.

I think Christie is the best this year by a significant margin. But that has absolutely no bearing on whether or not she'll win the Oscar. I don't vote. My predictions don't influence votes, etcetera.

hee...

obviously i'm not roger ebert who can get these bandwagons started for Juno or Crash or what have you. too bad with all that power his taste isn't better ;)

certainly i won't be surprised if Christie wins at all. crossing my fingers.

bryan said...

speaking of ties, no joke, i dreamt a three-way tie in supp'tress just a few days ago. first blanchett, then ronan, and then for some reason i was there, and then for some reason i was getting an oscar -- i mean, it was just a dream. anyway, been on this site much?

JS said...

On Roger Ebert's taste: I always remind myself that he wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

daveylow said...

I really should be prepared for Christie to lose. Several of my favorite performances have lost over the years--and some weren't nominated.

Let's see: there's Heath Ledger, of course. Paul Newman in Nobody's Fool, The Verdict. Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake. Kenneth Branagh in Henry V. Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility. Laura Linney in You Can Count on Me. Isabel Adjani in The Story of Adele H. Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls. Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day (far superior to his Hannibal Lecter). Michael Caine in Educating Rita (probably my favorite performance of his, next to his pairing with Connery in The Man Who Would Be King). Audrey Hepburn in Two for the Road (not nominated). Cicely Tyson in Sounder. Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Jamie Bell in Billy Elliott (not nominated). David Thewlis in Naked (not nominated).
Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger (not nominated)....


Anyway you get the point.

Joel said...

imdb's question of the day is
"Ellen Page is favored to win the Best Actress Oscar for Juno; do you think any other nominee has a chance at winning the award?"

Since when did she become the favourite?

NATHANIEL R said...

well, it is IMDB. they're catering to their crowd is all methinks.

originally i did think Page might start surging but didn't that buzz notion quiet real quick?

N.D. said...

I'd love for Swinton to take the (well earned) gold but I really don't think she has much of a chance. Why?

If she wins that means - save for a Page upset in the lead actress category (as if...) - the four acting awards will go to Non-Americans. This is unprecedented; as far as I can tell, the most there's ever been is a 50/50 split between natives and foreigners in the acting categories and as much as the Academy lurves those transatlantic thesps with cut-glass accents and pallid complexions, they want to celebrate their own too.

Thus Ruby Dee, riding a wave of sentiment and jingoism, will probs scoop this one. To be fair she's also *quite* good considering the odious script and her miniscule sreen time. Amy Ryan could still pull through - wasn't it The Film Experience itself that pronounced on the Academy's championing of White Trash females?

I don't want this to happen... so counter-arguments/ exposure of holes in logic DEFINETLY appreciated!

Jimmy said...

Ian McKellen losing for "God's & Monsters"...Ellen Burstyn losing to Julia Roberts....Sissy Spacek losing to Halle Berry.....aughhh. This crap happens over and over in the past few years. My hope is Julie Christie wins - clearly the very best. I've read Marion Cotillard is campaigning big time & hitting the Hollywood party circuit & even has a dvd mailing of her "behind the scenes" transformation (it's also on YouTube). Actors like Julie Christie, Sissy Spacek, Ellen Burstyn - simply don't care to do stuff like that. They may not win (recently) - but good for them. BTW - good luck to Sissy Spacek's husband. I also blame Oprah for some recent bad decisions - she blabbed on & on about CRASH...Denzel....Halle...she has her agenda too. Her taste is all in her mouth....take a look at some of her "book club" slections.

Anonymous said...

daveylow, how are the Marion Cotillard fans any different than you running your mouth whenever you can about how awful Marion Cotillard is, how her fans are just silly fanboys, and how amazing Julie Christie is? You pull that same shit at AwardsDaily, so cut it out.

And no one's taking the BAFTAs to mean more than they actually do. But if that contingent of British voters (who do overlap in the Academy) voted for Marion Cotillard over their own Julie Christie, then that does indicate a strong voting block that could tip the scales in a close race (note "close" -- don't pull the "Atonement" in BP argument there, b/c that's not a close race for "Atonement" -- it is between "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood", with maybe "Michael Clayton" or "Juno" benefitting from a vote split).

daveylow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pollyanna said...

I think it's a little stupid at this point to rely on the precursor formula as of now. According to the precursors, Into the Wild was a lock, Atonement was out and Tommy Lee Jones and Laura Linney died long ago.
Cotillard doesn't have the vast majority of critics on her side, but she's picked up an incredible momentum that we can only hope will be a victory.

daveylow said...

Nice hostile post anon.

I have never said Cotillard was awful in any of my posts.

NATHANIEL R said...

but see daveylow one must never speak in any way against Marion Cotillard. It's treason! ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes you have. You've called Cotillard's performance amateur, theatrical, biopic mimicry, and have made every change to belittle and condescend to her fans as being silly, overwrought fanboys. Don't backpeddle now and act like you've never said a bad word about her or her supporters, b/c it would be a lie.

NATHANIEL R said...

anon i don't recall daveylow saying those things.

i've probably called it "theatrical" and "biopic mimicry" but I would think even her greatest champions would admit that those adjectives qualify.

and when it comes to the fan rage... well, this is not the only site who has noticed that Marion Cotillard's army of supporters are more than a little out of control in the way they attack and police any comment made about her or any praise for any of her competitors.

it's a very strange Oscar season in that way. I can't recall the last time a performance seemed to make people so angry against other fine performances.

very strange development this whole season

Anonymous said...

Page is Canadian so if she won it could still be all non-American

Anonymous said...

I'm talking about AwardsDaily. Geez, keep up.

NATHANIEL R said...

ok. gotcha. anyway... the cotillard/christie war has prompted me to post something else now.

it's an olive branch. maybe i'm more compassionate than i was in say 2004... ;) but it's sad to me that whoever wins tomorrow night... so many people will be sad.

vv said...

Such divided love can only mean one thing: they'll all cancer each other out, Cate Blanchett will win her first BA Oscar, and Nathaniel will have a stroke.

And that was today's fantasy scenario.

PS: I think it'll be Cotillard.

Jimmy said...

MARCEL!

Kamikaze Camel said...

Daveylow, Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls and Jamie Bell (sigh) in Billy Elliot were the same year so no matter who won that year there'd be a "so and so was robbed!" aspect. Which is always the way.

I read at AwardsDaily recently that they were disappointed Into the Wild was "robbed" of a best picture spot. But if it had taken Atonement's place they'd be saying Atonement was robbed.

On the Marion vs Julie factor - well, people know my stance. Marion Cotillard is Edith Piaf. Julie Christie is a COLD HEARTLESS WENCH WHO DOESN'T EVEN PORTRAY ANYONE FAMOUS!!!!! So, naturally, she's the worst actress on the face of the Earth. MARCEL!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

kamikaze, thanks for clarifying your position. How can famous actors even look at themselves in the morning when they refuse to acknowledge that the recreation of another famous person is their true calling in life!?

Anonymous said...

Yay, more snarky crap about biopics. Whatever. They're not going away anytime soon, and many people adore them and find much worth in them, including the Academy.

Luke said...

Can I hijack this comment section to make my own predictions? I didn't mean to make them, but couldn't restrain myself. I blame this site. :D

Picture: No Country for Old Men
Director: Julian Schnabel
Actor: Johnny Depp. Cause what fun it is not to predict some real upsets? :) Five years ago nobody imagined DDL losing, too. And consider both how long Depp had gone ignored by the Academy until 2004, and that he must have enough followers there now to have gotten nominated three times since (and for non-obvious roles to boot).
Actress: Julie Christie
Supp Actor: Javier Bardem
Supp Actress: I agree with Nathaniel that every outcome is conceiveable here. I am going with an early favourite Amy Ryan. (My favourite would be the brilliant Saoirse Ronan. Just so you know I am not always swayed by my personal feelings... :))

Orig Screenplay: Tony Gilroy (...sometimes I can't help being swayed, though. And I *desperately* want anything but Juno to win this. Could the goodwill for the Bourne trilogy help Gilroy defeat the stripper-turned-media-darling?)
Adapted Screenplay: The Coens
Cinematography: My gut feeling is that the novelty factor will bring Janusz Kaminski his third statuette. That said, literally anything can happen here. (Including Atonement, which some people have written off - as the most "transparent", I suppose. Well, arguably, so were Fellowship of the Ring, Memoirs of a Geisha and Pan's Labyrinth in their respective years. Yet all of them won in large part due to memorable art direction, costumes and/or special effects.)
Art Direction: There Will Be Blood. I keep changing my mind all the time, though. The win for American Gangster is the only verdict in this category that would truly surprise me.
Costumes: Atonement
Make-up: I fear it will be Norbit. Hopefully not.
FX: Pirates of the Caribbean. Transformers have "only" Giant F****n' Robots. Pirates keep surprising visually (and being a sequel to an already awarded film is an adavantage in such cases - ask LOTR). Compare the win for What Dreams May Come over Armageddon.

Sound Mixing: No Country for Old Men
Sound Editing: Bourne Ultimatum (Yes, you read that right. I have just predicted near-complete shut-out for TWBB and a complete one for Transformers. So shoot me. :P)
Music: Atonement
Song: Once

Animated: Ratatouille. I am rooting for Persepolis, though, and I don't find it totally impossible. Especially if Remy is the one who slays the Juno Behemoth in Screenplay, or grabs a sound Oscar or two. Pixar is no Aardman - they do lose occasionally.
Animated short: Peter and the Wolf
Doc: No End in Sight
Doc Short: Sari's Mother
Live Action Short: The Tonto Woman (by the votes of 3:10 to Yuma fans, compensating for the shortage of nominations for that movie)
Foreign: This category is as unpredictable as ever. Most people are betting on Counterfeiters - is it because of the war theme? But there are two other war-dramas in play - with Katyn tackling the theme in a more "profound" way (even though the quality is god-awful if you look past it) on the one hand, and Beaufort in a more "typical" (and thus viewer-friendly) way on the other. All three will get their fair share of support. But in the end I am guessing that the votes will split between them and of the remaining two, the connection to the well-loved American classic will give 12 a win.

Luke said...

...and Bourne Ultimatum for Editing, which I forgot to post.