This is between Departed, Babel and LMS. I think it really hurts LMS to not have a best director nomination, the last time a movie won without it, Driving Miss Daisy in 1989. It also doesn't have a editing nomination, last time a movie won without it, 1980, Ordinary people. Departed is the odds makers favorite, but I don't think the academy love it too much, since they just nominate Wahlberg in the acting categories despite having a terrific ensemble, besides Departed is just a movie about gangsters and the academy love movies with a "deep message", so, I'm going with Babel
My prediction: Babel
This is Scorsese's award to lose, despite the Departed not being one of his best (3?,5?,10?) movies, this is the chance for the academy to recognize him.
My prediction: Martin Scorsese (The Departed)
Possible upset: Paul Greengrass (United 93)
Best Leading Actor:
Forrest Whitaker has won basically all the important actor awards and I think the only reason he has no Helen Mirren's status as a super favorite, it's because Peter O'Toole is in the race. It will be O'Toole 8th nomination, he has not won once, despite the fact he won an honorary Oscar recently. I still think the good sense will prevail and the academy will award excellent actor Forrest Whitaker. Now, if only he could give a coherent speech ....
My prediction: Forrest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland as Idi Amin
Possible upset: Peter O'Toole
Best Leading Actress:
Do we really need to write something about this category? This is the lock of the century.
My Prediction: Helen Mirren - The Queen as Queen Elizabeth II
Possible Upset: Terrorists bombing the Kodak Theater before the announcement.
Best Supporting Actor:
Eddie Murphy has won almost all the important precursors, he is the favorite, but if the academy decides awarding 3 of the 4 acting awards to black people is just too much, Eddie is the weakest link. Besides Alan Arkin is a white old man, like a good segment of the academy, and his performance in Little Miss Sunshine is really good. I'm going with the 2nd favorite.
My prediction: Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine as "Grandpa Edwin Hoover"
Possible upset: Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children)
Best Supporting Actress:
Jennifer Hudson is the big favorite here, but it has happened before. Lauren Bacall was the big favorite in 1996, she won almost all the awards before, just to lose the Oscar to Juliette Binoche, hell, Juliette was even surprised, she didn't even have a speech !!. But I just don't see a Juliette this year, so, I'm going with Effie White.
My prediction: Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls as "Effie White"
Possible upset: Adriana Barraza (Babel)
Best Foreign Language Film:
Pan's Labyrinth was the best film I saw in 2006, I think it should be nominated for best picture. Pan's has 6 Oscar nominations which is unheard of for a Foreign Language movie, and it has a shot to be one of the most awarded movies in the night, so it's clearly the front runner in this category. It has won also the most precursors. Having said that, again, it has happened before, in 2001 Amelie had multiple nominations and still lost to Bosnia's No Man's Land. This year the upset could come from the German Film The Lives of Others which has been as critically acclaimed as Pan's and the Academy may want to reward both films, since Pan's is going to win at least one Oscar in some other categories.
My prediction: Pan's Labyrinth - Mexico
Possible upset: The Lives of Others - Germany
Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Adapted Screenplay: William Monahan, The Departed
Animated Feature: Cars
Cinematography: Children of Men
Art Direction: Pan's Labyrinth
Visual Effects: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Makeup: Pan's Labyrinth
Score: The Queen
Song: "I need to wake up" An Inconvinient Truth
Sound Editing: Letters From Iwo Jima
Documentary Short: The Blood Of Yingzhou District
Documentary Feature: An Inconvenient Truth
Animated Short: The Little Matchgirl
Live Action Short: West Bank Story