- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Cean Chaffin
- Frost/Nixon – Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Eric Fellner
- Milk – Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen
- The Reader – Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Redmond Morris, Donna Gigliotti
- Slumdog Millionaire – Christian Colson
Who’s Going to Win: Slumdog Millionaire – Slumdog has won pretty much every award so far, at least the ones that matter. It’s international appeal, feel good story and solid cast make for a shoe in win.
Who Should Win: Milk – It’s really the most complete movie of the bunch. Gus Van Sant is the best director of the nominees, the cast is incredible, and it was beautifully written and shot. The fact that it’s a biopic shouldn’t matter because of the way Van Sant shot it, although ultimately, I think it will.
- Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
- Stephen Daldry – The Reader
- David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
- Gus Van Sant – Milk
Who’s Going to Win: Dan Boyle – I think this year might have Slumdog all over it because it’s a film that transcends a lot of boundaries–time, place, character interaction and character study, and Danny Boyle knew exactly how to elicit all of those feelings.
Who Should Win: Gus Van Sant – He’s probably one of the smartest directors right now and it shows in Milk. The fact that he manages to pull of a biopic as something so much more, something on the level of a Forrest Gump, shows the mastery of his craft.
- Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
- Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
- Sean Penn – Milk
- Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
Who’s Going to Win – Mickey Rourke – Everyone knows about Mickey’s dedication to a role. Darren Aronofsky give’s Mickey this challenge, forcing his directing style on him, and ultimately got the best out of him.
Who Should Win – Mickey Rourke – If there was another actor this year that ripped his heart and soul out for a movie like Rourke did–i.e. razor blades to the scalp, staple guns to the chest, and garbage cans to the head; all for the sake of realism in the role–I’d invite you to speak up now.
- Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
- Angelina Jolie – Changeling
- Melissa Leo – Frozen River
- Meryl Streep – Doubt
- Kate Winslet – The Reader
Who’s Going to Win: Kate Winslet – I thought her role alongside Leo in Revolutionary Road was a more challenging role, but her silence in The Reader speaks volumes. Even though it’s supposed to be her time for an Ocsar, it might have been for the wrong movie.
Who Should Win: Melissa Leo – She played her character to the T in this one. This is a the role of a lifetime and she absolutely nails it.
Best Supporting Actor
- Josh Brolin – Milk
- Robert Downey, Jr. – Tropic Thunder
- Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
- Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
- Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road
Who’s Going to Win: Heath Ledger – His character is beyond measure in some cases, and at the same time is all too believable–it’s probably the best performance of the entire year. If you haven’t seen this performance, you live in a cave.
Who Should Win: Heath Ledger – You can honestly say this piece of work transcends genre, which is something that the academy is always looking for and his untimely death only meant that he couldn’t be around to deliver more characters with this much passion.
Best Supporting Actress
- Amy Adams – Doubt
- Penélope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
- Viola Davis – Doubt
- Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler
Who’s Going to Win: Penelope Cruz – She’s the quintessential piece to Woody Allen’s puzzle, bringing a lively character to a film that might not have shined so brightly had she not been there.
Who Should Win: Taraji P. Henson – I’m sorry, but Henson’s role of Queenie just brought a tear to my eye that hardly any other piece of cinema can do–Forrest Gump was a rare one to do the same, and look whose holding the Oscar now.
Best Original Screenplay
- WALL-E – Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter
- Happy-Go-Lucky – Mike Leigh
- Frozen River – Courtney Hunt
- In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
- Milk – Dustin Lance Black
Who’s Going to Win: Milk – When Milk loses best picture and director, this is the “apology note” the academy will have to offer.
Who Should Win: In Bruges – Colin Farrell, where have you gone? It’s hard getting the best out of him, and with this story, it was very telling how powerful a script can be for an actor. Sadly, an overlooked film this year.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
- Frost/Nixon – Peter Morgan
- The Reader – David Hare
- Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy
- Doubt – John Patrick Shanley
Who’s Going to Win: Slumdog Millionaire – It’s the juggernaut of the bunch and there’s no film that can stop it.
Who Should Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – This story was beautifully written. Fincher had his work cut out for him in how to film this story…and he slam dunked it.
Best Animated Feature
- Bolt – Chris Williams and Byron Howard
- Kung Fu Panda – Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
- WALL-E – Andrew Stanton
Who’s Going to Win: WALL-E – come on…who doesn’t like that little robot?! It’s the greatest Disney character I can think of.
Who Should Win: WALL-E – It’s WALL-E
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- The Dark Knight
- The Reader
- Slumdog Millionaire
Who’s Going to Win – Slumdog Millionaire – Anthony Dod Mantle is flawless at moving shots across vast areas, and capturing emotion from actors at different angles.
Who Should Win – Slumdog Millionaire – The aerial shots taken were incredible and the aspects presented left you in awe…expect Mantle to be leaving with a 1st place trophy.