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.

Part Three: Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Leading Role

Now: Best Director

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 Picture
The Departed
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Who wins: This is the toughest category to guess this year. Honestly, almost any of the five movies nominated stands a chance to be named when the envelope is opened at the end of the grueling night tonight. When the smoke has cleared a lot of pundits and predictors will be standing around holding the wrong choice. I’m going out on a limb here and placing my guess with The Departed – the Academy is going to be happy to reward a film that’s just plain entertaining.

CHUD Choice: The Departed, fer sure.

The rest: What a category. I think that The Departed is going to squeak it out (we never get to know the vote totals), but I also think that Little Miss Sunshine has the terrifying ability to be one of the most lightweight and forgettable Best Picture winners in decades. On the other end of the spectrum, the Academy may very well do a repeat of last year and honor Babel for being a ponderous movie that makes obvious points about obvious situations. And don’t rule out Clint being the first person to win a Best Picture with a foreign language film. The only film that I don’t see as a real contender in this pack is The Queen.