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

Part Two: Best Actor n a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Now: Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Leading 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 Actor Best Actress
Leonardo DiCaprio – Blood Diamond
Penélope Cruz – Volver
Ryan Gosling – Half Nelson
Judi Dench – Notes On A Scandal
Peter O’Toole – Venus
Helen Mirren – The Queen
Will Smith – The Pursuit Of Happyness
Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada
Forest Whitaker – The Last King Of Scotland
Kate Winslet -Little Children

Who wins: A few months ago I was certain this was going to be Will Smith’s trophy to take home. How things change – Forest Whitaker’s performance in The Last King of Scotland has proved to be the lasting king of awards shows. He’s taken pretty much every major award so far, and it doesn’t look like there’s any stopping him now.

It’s the same story in Best Actress in a Leading Role. This is Helen Mirren’s statue, and no one else is arriving at the Kodak Theater with any hopes. Hell, Dame Judi Dench is staying home and having knee surgery instead.

CHUD Choice: We have to go with both front runners. How could we not? These are performances for the ages, and it will be nice to see two very hard working but not marquee-value actors taking home well deserved trophies.

The rest: Peter O’Toole got an honorary Oscar last year, but this year he’s hoping for the real thing. Keep hoping, Orrance – nobody saw your film, Venus. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio is mystifyingly nominated for the wrong role this year. How did his Blood Diamond role make the cut but not his astronomically better turn as the mole in The Departed get ignored? And for Ryan Gosling the cliché is true – the victory is just getting nominated.