This year I'm running the Oscar tipping comp at work, and so am not actually entering. This is just as well, I have seen hardly any of the films, and have little idea of which films should win (so no Oscar is always wrong blog on this year's awards).
But should often has little to do with the actual winners, and thus here are my tips:
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Because it's won everything else, so why not - plus after last year's winner, the Academy would be in the mood for some feel good.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Sean Penn for Milk (2008/I)
He won the Screen Actor's Guild Best Actor Award, so that block of voters should be enough to give him the win over Mickey Rourke and Frank Langella.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Meryl Streep for Doubt (2008/I)
I would go for Kate Winslet, but I have a suspicion voting for an actor playing a "sympathetic Nazi" might be a bridge too far for the Academy, and also her role was more supportive than "lead"; so look for her "Oscar snub" to continue, and for Streep to win her third award (but only her first since 1983).
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)
Voting against Heath here would almost be impossible to contemplate.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Should be Winslet for The Reader, but she decided to go for Best Actress for that, so I'll go for Cruz for no other reason than she won this at the BAFTAs
Best Achievement in Directing
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
To go with the Best Picture, (but where is Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight?)
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Milk (2008/I): Dustin Lance Black
Milk won the Writer's Guild Award, that should be enough to convince the fence sitters to vote for it.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Roth, Robin Swicord
Would normally go with the Best Picture winner, but to take a throw away short story by F.Scott Fitzgerald and turn it into a movie, deserves an award.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Dark Knight (2008): Wally Pfister
Mandy Walker was robbed not to have been nominated (but then no female ever has been nominated in this category...). With The Dark Knight being snubbed for a Best Picture nomination, I'm betting it'll win pretty much everything else it can.
Best Achievement in Editing
The Dark Knight (2008): Lee Smith
Best Achievement in Art Direction
The Duchess (2008): Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
For the Academy, "Art Direction" is often synonymous with "period piece".
Best Achievement in Costume Design
The Duchess (2008): Michael O'Connor
For the same reason why it will win for Art Direction.
Best Achievement in Makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Greg Cannom
Tempting to go for The Dark Knight, but old Brad Pitt gets the nod.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
WALL·E (2008): Thomas Newman
If only because after doing some great scores (American Beauty, The Road to Perdition, The Shawshank Redemption) and now with 9 total nominations, he deserves to win.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
WALL·E (2008): Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman("Down to Earth")
What the hell, give Newman two wins.
Best Achievement in Sound
The Dark Knight (2008): Ed Novick, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo
Big action, big sounds, gets them the award.
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
The Dark Knight (2008): Richard King
Have no idea what the difference is between this and sound, so I'll just give The Dark Knight both.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
Tough category, but the young/old Brad Pitt gets the nod.
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
WALL·E (2008): Andrew Stanton
Put your house on this one (should have got a Best Picture nomination).
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008)(Germany)
Because it's the only onw of the five nominated films I have heard of.
Best Documentary, Features
Man on Wire (2008): James Marsh, Simon Chinn
Has easily been the most seen doco this year.
Best Documentary, Short Subjects
The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306 (2008): Adam Pertofsky, Margaret Hyde
Seriously, you think I have a reason for this??
Best Short Film, Animated
Presto (2008): Doug Sweetland
Errr...because "Presto" sounds like a good title.
Best Short Film, Live Action
New Boy (2007): Steph Green, Tamara Anghie
Because the others sound "foreign" so go with the Irish one!
UPDATE: Oh well, 12 out of 24 ain't bad... oh who am I kidding - it was terrible! I hang my head in shame!