Auguste and I will be liveblogging the event tonight, although according to CNN it should be held with all the stars wearing sackcloth and plastic bags as shoes to show solidarity with the suffering people of America, because nothing will show us Hollywood's empathy for the plight of normal people like pretending they aren't all glamorous, filthy rich people.


Anyway, my predictions below. Feel free to put yours in comments, and the most accurate person wins a free XBox 360*.

*Free XBox 360 contingent on $355.99 S&H fee, deposited in our Paypal account at left. Please wait 12-16 weeks for delivery. BEST PICTURE

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Frost/Nixon

Milk

The Reader

Slumdog Millionaire

It's by far the most readily marketable Best Picture Nominee in a year where nobody saw one of the nominees (The Reader) and nobody seemed to actually care about another (Benjamin Button).

BEST ACTOR

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor

Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon

Sean Penn, Milk

Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Will it be Rourke? Probably not. But if this wasn't the best acting performance of the year, you may kindly watch Grease II on repeat instead of the Oscars.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Josh Brolin, Milk

Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

You remember that year the Lakers played the 76ers in the Finals? This is like that, except Allen Iverson got in a car accident on the way to the game and fell into a pit of flesh-eating bacteria, then hugged every other person on his team. And the Lakers are all naturally immune.

BEST ACTRESS

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

Angelina Jolie, Changeling

Melissa Leo, Frozen River

Meryl Streep, Doubt

Kate Winslet, The Reader

It's safe to pass up Streep this year, because she's going to be nominated every subsequent year until our global economic depression forces the film industry to convert its boom mics into insulation material for our shanty metropolises. By the way, how is it that DeNiro and Pacino seemed to go from being the greatest actors of our generation to twin versions of Brian Dennehy with better agents, while Streep has managed to stay quite possibly the consistently best performer in the history of movies?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, Doubt

Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Viola Davis, Doubt

Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

The two nominations for Doubt cancel each other out, leaving us battling between Penelope Cruz's scene-stealing performance in Vicky Cristina, someone from the inexplicably nominated Benjamin Button, and Marisa Tomei, who has the same effective lifetime ban on receiving an Oscar as Tom Cruise.

BEST DIRECTOR

David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon

Gus Van Sant, Milk

Stephen Daldry, The Reader

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Oh, look, it's the white guy who directed the movie who made us feel like we understand another culture. Also leads to Joel Schumacher directing his magnum opus, This Movie Is About Blacks, But In A Sensitive Way.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Frozen

Happy-Go-Lucky

In Bruges

Milk

Wall-E

I figure this will be the token nod for Milk, unless it wins all of those awards I'm iffy about.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

John Patrick Shanley, Doubt

Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon

David Hare, The Reader

Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Same thing here for CCBB. In Soviet Russia, we give token awards to movies that were already decided to be contenders!

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Bolt

Kung Fu Panda

Wall-E

The Best Animated Feature Film Oscar is to Pixar as the Rose Bowl is to USC. Nice, but ultimately meaningless.

BEST ART DIRECTION

Changeling

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight

The Duchess

Revolutionary Road

Having only seen The Dark Knight, I'm going with the cardinal rule of art direction: pick the historical drama, and then pick the oldest one.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Changeling

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight

The Reader

Slumdog Millionaire

Pad that resume!

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Australia

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Duchess

Milk

Revolutionary Road

It had funny hats and big hair.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

The Betrayal

Encounters at the End of the World

The Garden

Man on Wire

Trouble the Water

The only one I've seen, and one I know is not about World War II. The winner!

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

The Conscience of Nhem En

The Final Inch

Smile Pinki

The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

I stayed in a Room 306 once. It was nice.

BEST FILM EDITING

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight

Frost/Nixon

Milk

Slumdog Millionaire

Again, a token nod for the movie that was nominated to get Heath Ledger his posthumous Oscar.

BEST FOREIGN FILM

The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany

The Class, France

Departures, Japan

Revanche, Austria

Waltz with Bashir, Israel

So, I flipped to a random cable channel, got an episode of Naked Archaelogist, and I think France reminds me most of a naked archaelogist. A more scientific method than how this film will actually be chosen.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

I think the best part about Benjamin Button was that if it had been made 25 years ago, half the movie would have been puppets.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Defiance

Milk

Slumdog Millionaire

WALL-E

That's a good number of Oscars for Slumdog, methinks. It'll look very nice on the DVD.

BEST SONG

Down to Earth, WALL-E

Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire

O Saya, Slumdog Millionaire

Even though I remember the Slumdog Millionaire songs, the WALL-E song probably had far more dramatic impact in the movie itself. Plus, it's a space movie with a song called "Down to Earth". How can you not love that?

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

La Maison en Petits Cubes

Lavatory - Lovestory

Oktapodi

Presto

This Way Up

I am assuming my selection is about octupi. If not, kiss my ass, animated-short-namer.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

Auf der Strecke (On the Line)

Manon on the Asphalt

New Boy

The Pig

Spielzeugland (Toyland)

You might as well ask me "Favorite thing Phillip Seymour Hoffman at at Chili's in 1993".

BEST SOUND EDITING

The Dark Knight

Iron Man

Slumdog Millionaire

WALL-E

Wanted

I do remember the sound from the Dark Knight. So, uh, yeah.

BEST SOUND MIXING

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight

Slumdog Millionaire

WALL-E

Wanted

You expect a better rationale for mixing than for editing?

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight

Iron Man

Honestly, Iron Man was the best looking movie released this year, bar none. The Dark Knight, although epic, was far more pedestrian in its biggest effects (explosions) than was Iron Man, which featured dudes in giant suits of armor ripping things up rather convincingly. Why yes, my commentary for "Best Visual Effects" was more carefully thought out than anything else I said. My back issues of Fangoria mock you and your lack of understanding.