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Who will leave happy after the envelope is opened?

Olga’s Prediction

Best Picture

Should win: Lost in Translation

This year’s nominees are weak, and this film deserves the most praise. It’s sweet, it’s quiet, and it’s an indie crossover; what more can you want?

Will win: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Each part was nominated in this category and finally, the toils of all the crewmembers will come to fruition. Unfortunately, they are rewarded for the whole series, not the individual film. Slightly unfair? You bet.

Overlooked: Tie: City of God and Big Fish.

Two of the best films of the year and neither makes the most important category. While Big Fish was completely snubbed by the Academy this year, City of God got recognition with four nominations, but not the top one. Come on, Academy, give the geniuses some credit.

Best Actor

Should win: Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

He portrays the man we all hope may not be far from the real-life Murray, but it takes a lot of guts to show one’s true side in a film authored by a stranger.

Will win: Sean Penn, Mystic River

An overhyped performance by a man who played the same part later that year in 21 Grams will win, but not because of its merit. Penn has been nominated four times in the last decade and has yet to win, or even show up at the joint.

Overlooked: Paul Giamatti, American Splendor

Giamatti’s performance as Harvey Pekar, from the nervous ticks to the raspy voice, was both true to life and very touching.

Best Supporting Actor

Should win: Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

It may not have been a big leap for Watanabe to play a samurai, but boy did he do it with style.

Will win: Tim Robbins, Mystic River

Anyone portraying a grieving victim of child abuse with even a smidgen of conviction will be an Academy contender. Fortunately, Robbins has more than a smidgen; unfortunately not enough to deserve the win.

Overlooked: Albert Finney, Big Fish

In a category filled with weak performers, a masterful portrait of a father trying to get in touch with himself and his son never got a chance.

Best Actress

Should win: Charlize Theron, Monster

Her transformation (gaining 30 pounds and, frankly, looking ugly) was incredible, but her acting skills were even more profound.

Will win: Charlize Theron, Monster

A truly deserved performance, especially against the women she’s matched up against, Theron’s odds are greatly raised by the consistent praise and awards she gets.

Overlooked: Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation

In a film that has been nominated for three of the top categories (Best Directing, Best Picture, Best Leading Actor) it seems odd that the actress who pulled the film together was snubbed.

Best Supporting Actress

Should win: Marcia Gay-Harden, Mystic River

The only worthy performance in the predictable Mystic River, Gay-Harden looks like she truly feels what she is supposed to feel.

Will win: Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain

The Hollywood darling, nominated twice before, each time with no luck at winning, will finally take home the coveted golden guy — not for her performance, but for her long years of trying.

Overlooked: Eileen Walsh, The Magdalene Sisters

Playing a “slow” woman in a convent-led laundry facility isn’t easy. And, when it’s done this well, it at least deserves a small nod.

Best Director

Should win: Fernando Mireilles, City of God

The concept, the shots, the execution — the entire package of this Brazilian film is the most amazing 130 minutes of celluloid released into the theaters last year.

Will win: Peter Jackson, LOTR: RotK

This Sunday night, Peter Jackson will get rewarded for the three long years he spent on making and epic and transforming himself into a hobbit.

Overlooked: Christopher Guest, A Mighty Wind

It’s not about the comedy, it’s about the way Guest has a way with words, camera and leading his actors to perform the most hilarious parts with completely straight faces.

Pablo’s Prediction

Best Picture

Should win: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

A talented ensemble cast, a solid screenplay and breathtaking direction is something none of the other nominees in this category can boast.

Will win: LOTR: RotK

The Academy overlooked these award-hogging hobbits twice before despite the fact that both Fellowship and The Two Towers deserved top honors over 2001’s A Beautiful Mind and last years over-hyped Chicago.

Overlooked: Finding Nemo

Ignored for simply being an animated film, Nemo was a bright spot in a summer littered with duds, and had a strong screenplay as well as cutting edge special effects.

Best Actor

Should win: Bill Murray, Lost In Translation

Giving his most moving performance to date, Murray is deserving of the top honor for an astounding portrayal a slightly off-center middle-aged man.

Will win: Sean Penn, Mystic River

As the grief-stricken father who lost his daughter, Penn hands in a critically acclaimed performance that Academy voters won’t be able to resist or pass over.

Overlooked: Sean Penn, 21 Grams

As if one nomination was not enough, Penn is mesmerizing as a man on the edge of death and brings another emotionally charged performance to the silver screen.

Best Supporting Actor

Should win: Bencio Del Toro, 21 Grams

Del Toro is at the top of his game in 21 Grams. Not since Traffic has Del Toro delivered such a show-stopping performance.

Will win: Tim Robbins, Mystic River

Robbins is the person mostly likely to be poised at the podium, giving the next Michael Moore speech for his convincing role as a man who was abused as a child.

Overlooked: Viggo Mortensen, LOTR: RotK

Mortensen carries the concluding chapter of the trilogy with grace and courage. Aragorn is the central focus of the final chapter and Mortensen rises up with the film’s best performance.

Best Actress

Should win: Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

The Aussie was snubbed for her performance in David Lynch’s Mulhullound Drive, but in 21 Grams, Watts strikes back with a performance that is memorable and commanding.

Will win: Charlize Theron, Monster

After transforming herself into a lesbian with a killer instinct, Theron, who has swept the Golden Globes and the Screen Actor’s Guild, will certainly leave with Oscar in hand.

Overlooked: Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. 1

Revenge, violence and gore have never felt so good. And Thurman makes it look easy and surprisingly enjoyable.

Best Supporting Actress

Should win: Holly Hunter, Thirteen

As a disconnected mother who helplessly watches her daughter lose control, Hunter is believable and is a haunting reminder that parents should keep a keen eye on their children.

Will win: Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain

Zellweger gets downright Southern in Cold Mountain and is a clear shoe-in for the Supporting Actress honor, not for her subdued role but for her inability to land the top acting prize.

Overlooked: Chiaki Kuriyama, Kill Bill Vol. 1

An insanely attracting performance that compliments Thurman’s action-packed, kung-fu-inspired action sequences and stands alone as a psychotic feat of guilty indulgence.

Best Director

Should win: Sofia Coppola, Lost In Translation

Lost In Translation captures stunning visuals of Japan that dwarfs any preconceived ideas and a story that is nothing new, but still connects with audiences and critics alike.

Will win: Peter Jackson, LOTR: RotK

Two out of three isn’t bad, and, come Sunday night, Jackson will gracefully accept his second statuette for the Rings trilogy.

Overlooked: Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. 1

Taking his bizarre personal interest and a simple revenge plot, Tarantino creates a fresh film that is a bloody good time.