Picture: Prediction - Slumdog Millionaire. I personally liked Frost/Nixon most, among the nominees and I even rate The Reader higher than Slumdog, but honestly speaking none of the movies really screams out loud that it deserves to be the winner. Slumdog will undoubtedly win it. The only thing that I don't want is for Benjamin Button to win this. As good as it was technically, it really failed to move me at all.
Director: Danny Boyle. Again, only the best among a weak field. How I wish they had nominated Chris Nolan! In this field, I hardly care who wins it. Danny Boyle is overwhelming favorite to win this, but I think there might be a small chance that David Fincher pulls off an upset win.
Actress in a Leading Role: Kate Winslet. Haven't seen three of the performances nominated (Hathaway, Jolie and Leo). But I will be cheering at the top of my voice for Kate. They robbed her off her deserved nomination for Revolutionary Road, but her work in The Reader is also great. After all these years of being nominated and being recognized as one of the best actresses of her generation, this HAS to be her year.
Actor in a Leading Role: Mickey Rourke. Though Sean Penn is probably breathing down his neck and might actually win. This is an amazing field actually. Every single performance (except Brad Pitt) deserves to win! Somehow I'll feel pretty happy if an upset happens in this category though. Perhaps because I didn't like The Wrestler as much as the other three movies. Richard Jenkins probably doesn't stand a chance, but I hope either Sean Penn or Frank Langella win this one for their amazing performances. Sean Penn might actually do it too, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for him!
Actor in a Supporting Role: Heath Ledger. Haven't seen Tropic Thunder yet. But out of the others, I'd have whole-heartedly supported the great Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt had this been any other year. Agaisnt Ledger's Joker, though, no one stands a chance. And it is NOT because of his death. He was astounding, and was about the only thing that kept coming back to you from a movie that was full of a lot of other great things.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Penelope Cruz. Marisa Tomei stands a reasonable chance to spoil the night for Cruz. I loved Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and wouldn't mind her winning one bit, but I must say that Taraji P. Henson was as good as anyone else on the list and I'll feel really happy for her if she wins it. Its not going to happen, though.
Orginal Screenplay: Milk. Haven't seen Frozen River, but Milk and WALL-E are easily the top 2 nominees here. And as good as Milk really was, I am firmly in the WALL-E team here. Andrew Stanton will be over the moon if WALL-E wins this. Pixar has consistently been nominated for its screenplay but WALL-E's first half takes it to another level entirely. How I wish that people realized that "best screenplay" doesn't necessarily mean writing great lines/dialogue. sigh!
Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire. I think Slumdog is favorite here, but I personally find Frost/Nixon to be a much better written movie. In fact, I think it is much better than all the other nominees here. Pity it didn't attract many viewers to the theatres and will probably go home without a single win.
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog is well shot, but I loved the look of The Dark Knight and Benjamin Button much more. I hope, and I don't think it is too unlikely, that one of them wins this. Benjamin Button probably stands a better chance than The Dark Knight.
Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire. It is amazing that ARR is an overwhelming favorite in this category now, with almost every single award going to his score this season. I think both Benjamin Button and WALL-E were really good scores though (as was The Dark Knight, which wasn't nominated!.. and I haven't seen Defiance). A month ago, I was really worried that Benjamin Button might win this one (and perhaps deservedly so), but I think it is becoming increasingly unlikely now. However, there is just enough chance of an upset to make sure that the suspense will stay till the envelope is opened. I'll scream myself hoarse in excitement if it is ARR! :)
Original Song: Jai Ho. Vote splitting playing havoc with the two Slumdog songs aside, I don't see any chance that Jai Ho doesn't win this award (getting Gulzar an oscar for his lyrics that none of the voters understand!!! ). However, I hope for a miracle that somehow leads to O Sayya winning here. Jai Ho is really not nearly as good a track as O Sayya is, IMO.
Animated Feature: WALL-E. As stupid as this category is, it'll hurt me a LOT if WALL-E doesn't win this. It doesn't matter much, though, because I'm sure it'll also hurt most of the voters if that happens. The horror night at the Annies notwithstanding, I really don't see how more than probably a couple of people can think of voting for Kung Fu Panda or Bolt.
Animated Short: Presto. Actually, I don't know if Presto is a favorite to win this. After all, it is the only movie that has been seen by non-voters yet. One of the other 4 nominees might be a great movie, in which case good luck to them. I'll still be hoping for another Pixar win here.
The rest of the awards either a) I really don't have any way of deciding because I haven't seen any of the nominees (live action short, documentary etc) or b) are technical categories where Benjamin Button or Dark Knight (or Slumdog in some categories) are probably going to sweep everything and I really don't have any favorites among them.