- Best Actor
Backup Pick : Colin Firth as George Falconer in 'A Single Man'. A convincing and moving portrayal a college professor dealing with the death of his gay lover.Set through one day, the idea of a man who sees nothing to live for is accurately conveyed.
Most deserving (My pick): Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in 'Invictus'. I always think portrayals of real life people are more difficult, especially when they're world renowned figures because every tries to pick up flaws. Freeman comes close to Mandela not just in looks but in the personality and more importantly the attitude prevalent at that time.
- Best Actress
Backup Pick: Meryl Streep as Julia Child in 'Julie & Julia'. Also comes into the Oscars with a strong trail of awards in its wake, this time in the comedy section. Playing the cook who brought French cuisine to everyday America , Streep shows the doubts and hardships Child had to do just that. The Academy's preference for drama over comedy is all that stops this from being the #1 prediction.
Most deserving (My Pick): Carey Mulligan as Jenny Miller in 'An Education'. Coming of age film in the 1960s, set in a backdrop of Existentialism and French culture by an English schoolgirl. Mulligan manages to go from an A level student with university ambition to someone who sees university as a waste and then back to university ambition after everything falls apart.
- Best Supporting Actor
Most Likely Winner: Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa in "Inglourious Basterds". For the last two years this award has gone to a villain. It's likely to go one again this year. Charismatically evil in four languages, Waltz stole every scene he was in and kept you wishing to see more of him.
Backup Pick: Stanley Tucci as George Harvey in 'The Lovely Bones'. Still a villian. George Harvey is your definite serial killer, with strange mannerisms and a completely solitary life. You can never see him on the screen without a sense of uneasiness, even before you know he's the killer. Tucci delivers the role with great energy which simmers just below the surface.
Most Deserving (My Pick): I think the front runner is it this time. Christoph Waltz deserves the Oscar and the only thing that could block him is if the decision making goes by means other who deserves the award.
- Best Supporting Actress
Backup Pick: It's really wide open, mostly because of Mo'Nique's obvious domination. Vera Fermiga and Anna Kendrick compete with each other for screen time in "Up in the Air" which potentially hurts them. Penelope Cruz also has to fight for screen presence and time with a multitude of other stars in "Nine". And Maggie Gyllenhaal never manages to seem to add to 'Crazy Heart' but that could be just because of the force of Jeff Bridges.
Most Deserving (My Pick): Mo'Nique. Obviously. She's got this category in the bag.And deserves it too.