less than a week away from the 79th annual Academy Awards, the awards
ceremony most likely to make me get angrier and angrier over the course
of four hours. Last year I actually got to my feet and yelled
obscenities at my television when Crash
got the Best Picture Oscar. This year looks like it has similar
potential for sheer fury-making, despite John Cassavetes having been
dead for some time. Over the next couple of days I’ll be taking a look
at the nominees in the major categories and viciously bad mouth the
ones I don’t like. Who will then take the gold on Sunday.

Part One: Best Screenplay

Now: Best Actor n a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

The movies that we think WILL win are highlighted in green.

The movies that we think SHOULD win are highlighted in white.

If the movie we think should win is the same as the movie that we think will win, the title will be in red.

Best Supporting Actor Best Supporting Actress
Alan Arkin – Little Miss Sunshine
Adrianna Barazza – Babel
Jackie Earle Haley – Little Children
Cate Blanchett – Notes on a Scandal
Djimon Honsou – Blood Diamond
Abigail Breslin – Little Miss Sunshine
Eddie Murphy – Dreamgirls
Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg – The Departed
Rinko Kikuchi – Babel

Who wins: The Supportings this year are either going to be very boring or very exciting. I know, you’re saying, ‘What an amazing prediction, Devin,’ but it’s true. All of the acting categories are like that this year – there are extraordinarily favored frontrunners in all four categories, and if these people win, ain’t nobody gonna be surprised. But just because these people are frontrunners doesn’t mean they’re invincible (although I actually think Helen Mirren is guaranteed 100% the Oscar), and there’s a realistic chance that someone else will take the statue.

That said, if you’re looking to place a bet on the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category, you couldn’t do better than Jennifer Hudson. The American Idol loser had the early heat and won the Golden Globe and the SAG Awards… but Dreamgirls’ momentum stalled in a major way weeks before Oscar ballots were due. Could people be quite sick of Hudson’s once-endearing rags to riches story? I feel like she’ll take it, and it certainly helps that her competition in this category is two nobodies and a little kid. Oh, and Cate Blanchett. If Hudson doesn’t take the gold, it’ll be going to Blanchett.

Hudson’s co-star Eddie Murphy remains the heavily favored choice in Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He’s on shakier ground, competition-wise, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Murphy lose to almost all of his competitors – except for Djimon Honsou, who was not very good in the not very good Blood Diamond. But Murphy probably takes it because the Academy will be happy to reward him for being a bankable, major star who takes a small role like this.

CHUD Choice: I don’t mind either of the frontrunners taking the gold. I definitely prefer Jennifer Hudson over the Oscars debasing themselves even further than they already have by giving a statue to a chubby little girl who didn’t even deliver the fifth best performance in her movie.

If Eddie Murphy doesn’t win, my choice would be Jackie Earle Haley. It’s amazing that he even got nominated, as his movie, Little Children, was virtually ignored by all the major awards shows, and he’s playing a child molester. But never underestimate the Academy’s desire to tell a good story on Oscar night, and Haley’s story is of a once-promising child star who grew up to be too ugly and fell out of the business… only to come back decades later as a character actor. What an arc!

The Rest: I’m feeling pretty anti-Babel, so I am rooting against the two nominees in Best Supporting Actress. Sorry, Rinko, you’re very nice, but I can’t have two Crashes in a row.

And while I am anti-Little Miss Sunshine (come on, how the hell is this one of the BEST movies of the year? Sure, you like it, but the BEST?), who could feel bad about Alan Arkin finally taking home the Oscar? And how goddamn funny would it be if Marky Mark ended up as an Oscar winner? Not that funny, really, and look for Justin Timberlake to be nominated in the next two decades (seriously, and just like Wahlberg, he’ll deserve at least the nomination).

Next: The Best Leading Performance categories!