With the big awards just a few days away, Rediff critics Arthur J Pais, Aseem Chhabra and Raja Sen gaze into the crystal ball and come up with their Oscar predictions.
The awards are on February 25. Bets, anyone?
Best Motion Picture
Little Miss Sunshine
Letters from Iwo Jima
Arthur: The Queen, because Americans just cannot resist British royalty, even in a smart docudrama. But for sheer ingenuity I'd have picked Babel.
Aseem: A hard to predict category, but I think Babel will win -- because The Queen isn't showy enough.
Raja: Despite love for Little Miss Sunshine, I think The Departed can just edge out Babel to win.
Best Director - Motion Picture
Martin Scorsese The Departed
Clint Eastwood Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears The Queen
Alejandro Iραrritu Babel
Paul Greengrass - United 93
Arthur: Martin Scorsese has been rejected many times, and this is his biggest hit yet.
Aseem: When will Scorsese ever win? Well, it better be this year because there is no guarantee that he will ever make such a good film again.
Raja: The Departed is a triumph, and this had jolly well finally be the year of Marty.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture
Judi Dench Notes On A Scandal
Helen Mirren The Queen
Kate Winslet Little Children
Meryl Streep The Devil Wears Prada
Penelope Cruz - Volver
Arthur: Helen Mirren, for majestically bringing out not just the obvious but also the gray in her character.
Aseem: If Mirren is not given the Oscar, it would be one of the greatest crimes in the history of cinema.
Raja: For me it's Penelope Cruz, magnificent in Volver. Mirren is flawless but ultimately predictable.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture
Leonardo DiCaprio Blood Diamond
Peter O'Toole Venus
Forest Whitaker The Last King Of Scotland
Will Smith The Pursuit Of Happyness
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
Arthur: Whitaker, for a riveting and pulse-quickening performance as Idi Amin.
Aseem: Whitaker is definitely going to win.
Raja: Leo was deprived of a Departed nod, so all signs point to Whitaker. Still, Peter O'Toole may yet spring a surprise.
Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role
Adriana Barraza Babel
Cate Blanchett Notes On A Scandal
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi Babel
Arthur: Hudson, for some good singing and strong emoting in Dreamgirls.
Aseem: This is Jennifer Hudsons Oscar and no one can take it from her.
Raja: Rinko Kakuchi all the way. She was the best thing in Babel.
Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role
Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children
Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond
Eddie Murohy - Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed
Arthur: Eddie Murphy, for a solid performance and then some sympathy.
Aseem: Murphy is most likely to win, but Arkin could spring an upset.
Raja: Wahlberg was a delightful scene-stealer, and deserves the prize.
Best Foreign Language Film
Days of Glory (Algeria)
After The Wedding (Denmark)
The Lives of Others (Germany)
Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico)
Arthur: Pan's Labyrinth, a complex, haunting political fantasy, made richer by the presence of an innocent child who has to fight her own demons.
Aseem: My feeling is that Mexico's Labyrinth, a disturbing fairy tale for adults, will take the Oscar.
Raja: It's profoundly depressing that Labyrinth wasn't nominated for Best Picture. This prize is the least that amazing film deserves.
Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan
Children Of Men
Notes On a Scandal
Arthur: The Departed, for the Americanisation of a Hong Kong crime saga.
Aseem: Todd Field and Tom Perrotta may win this award for Little Children.
Raja: While The Departed is a massive achievement in screenplay, I'm rooting for Borat to win the one category it's nominated in.
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Arthur: Guillermo Del Toro, for Labyrinth, a political fantasy about our demons.
Aseem: A very strong and competitive field, but British writer Peter Morgan has an edge for The Queen.
Raja: Labyrinth should beat even Babel, but my only fear is Clint Eastwood picking up a consolation award for Iwo Jima. But no, Labyrinth all the way.
What's your take on the Oscar nominations? Check out the full list, and mail us.