The Oscars are coming, the Oscars are coming! Run for your lives!

They’re here; the 79th Annual Academy Awards are upon us. It’s been a good year for film, but will those crusty old voters recognize the right people? Here’s my official ballot for the Oscars – who should win, and who actually will. Enjoy.
Best Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Leonardo DiCaprio (“Blood Diamond”), Ryan Gosling (“Half Nelson”), Peter O'Toole (“Venus”), Will Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”).

Should Win: Ryan Gosling. His deftly nuanced performance in “Half Nelson” is as poignant and subtly profound as acting comes nowadays. However, the academy tends to opt for big, grandiose performances.

Will Win: Forest Whittaker, for his epic performance in “The Last King of Scotland.” Deserving, but overtly typical.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
The Nominees: Penelope Cruz (“Volver”), Judi Dench (“Notes on a Scandal”), Helen Mirren (“The Queen”), Meryl Streep (“The Devil Wears Prada”), Kate Winslet (“Little Children”).

Should Win: Helen Mirren for her turn as Queen Elizabeth in “The Queen.” Much like Gosling, her performance is masterfully subdued. But the academy likes nuanced performances from females (most likely because a majority of them are older men).

Will Win: Helen Mirren.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Jackie Earle Haley (“Little Children”), Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond”), Eddie Murphy (“Dreamgirls”), Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed”).

Should Win: Definitely Mark Wahlberg. His performance as a first-rate jerk in Scorsese’s “The Departed” was the best of his young career, and he firmly established himself as a fully competent actor.

Will Win: In typical Oscar fashion, Eddie Murphy. Those Oscar voters love them some musicals. Oh, and did I mention they like grandiose performances?

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Adriana Barraza (“Babel”), Cate Blanchett (“Notes on a Scandal”), Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”)

Should Win: Abigail Breslin! Not only is she cute as a button, but she’s quite the talented little actress. If she were to receive the golden statue, she’d be youngest ever, no?

Will Win: This is a tough one, they’re all definite possibilities. “Babel” just might pick up a win here with Adriana Barraza.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees: “Borat,” “Children of Men,” “The Departed,” “Little Children,” “Notes on a Scandal.”

Should Win: Without a stretch of a doubt, “The Departed.” A unique and entirely masterful adaptation of Hong Kong’s “Infernal Affairs.”

Will Win: “The Departed.” A gangster crime drama should bode well with the voters.

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees: “Babel,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Queen.”

Should Win: As far as originality goes, you can’t get much better than Guillermo Del Toro’s first-rate script for “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

Will Win: “Babel” will pick up another win in this category. The Academy loves ensemble pieces.
Best Foreign Language Film

The Nominees: “After the Wedding,” “Days of the Glory,” “The Lives of Others,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Water.”

Should Win: “Pan’s Labyrinth.” A truly brilliant film.

Will Win: Oddly enough, I think “Pan’s Labyrinth” has a solid chance here.

Achievement in Directing

The Nominees: Alejandro Gonzalez Innarritu (“Babel”), Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”), Clint Eastwood (“Letters from Iwo Jima”), Stephen Frears (“The Queen”), Paul Greengrass (“United 93”).

Should Win: Let’s face it, Martin Scorsese has had it coming for a long, long time. And “The Departed” was easily the best film of the year.

Will Win: I really think this is Martin Scorsese’s year. I swear to God, if Scorsese get snubbed again …

Best Picture

The Nominees: “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Queen.”

Who Should: Well, “The Departed” is one of the best films in years, so obviously my pick is Scorsese’s most recent masterpiece.

Who Will: Honestly, and I know this sounds weird, but “Little Miss Sunshine” just might win. It’s gotten a lot of Oscar attention as of late, and it’ll be nice to see a smaller, comedic film take the prize. I don’t mind it winning, but it really doesn’t deserve it over “The Departed.”

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