Well friends of the Mush, with the Awards Season looming I decided to sit back and put down some picks on paper. While they have announced the nominees for the Golden Globes, the Academy has not yet bestowed it's honors on the Oscar wannabes. That however doesn't stop people from projecting and that is precisely what I am going to do do here. The following is a quick look at who or what I think should should win awards in the following categories:

Best Pictures

Best Director

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress

Then, I am going to get practical and say who is going to win the gold statuette and then I am even going to offer another candidate that might just upend them both. So basically, for right now anyway, this is a pretty safe look the actors, directors and films that will most likely end up taking home a prize on February 25.

Best Picture

The Departed - Martin Scorsese should have gotten this for Goodfellas, but he was beaten out by that travelogue Dances with Wolves. He should have gotten it for The Aviator but he was bested by Million Dollar Baby. With Clint Eastwood's World War II epics not gaining much box office traction, look for The Departed to ship up to Boston with the gold.

Movie Picture

However, conventional wisdom states that the Academy might have been put off by the violence and subject matter of The Departed. So I would not be surprised if either Flags of Our Fathers or Letters From Iwo Jima (okay, that's two films but didn't Eastwood shoot them together or something?) bested Scorsese's film.

The Wild Card:

Dreamgirls - As of this writing I haven't even seen it, but I hear it's great and based on it's Chicago-like reviews and buzz, this film could be the one that surprises everybody.

Best Director

Martin Scorsese for The Departed. What other filmmaker made a movie this powerful, this strong and this layered this year? Once again, Scorsese makes another movie that will be quoted, canonized, and remembered forever.

Clint Eastwood did make two World War II, films? Something tells me if he gets it it will be for Letters From Iwo Jima and not Flags of Our Fathers.

The Wild Card:

Has there ever been a year where a movie with English accents wasn't in the best picture category? At the very least, Steven Frears will be nominated for his work on The Queen.

Best Actor

Movie Picture

Ryan Gosling

in Half Nelson. It was an understated performance in an understated film but Gosling did a great job of embodying a drug addict who shows up everyday (no matter how bombed), because he feels a commitment to teach his students.

Despite Leonardo DiCaprio being up for two movies, something tells me that Forest Whitaker is going to be the man at the podium for his turn as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. This is yet another movie I haven't seen but from what I hear about it, Whitaker brings an amazing depth and brutality to one the most brutal of people.

The Wild Card:

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Okay, stop laughing... how many actors show the range of emotions that Stallone did in his final embodiment of the character he made famous? How many actors can take a character that is the butt of many jokes, play him without a wink and a nod, and manage to get the cynical press corps to rally behind him? How many characters can make us believe in ourselves time and time again? See, it isn't so funny anymore, is it?

Best Actress

Movie PictureZoe Weizenbaum in Twelve and Holding. Your first thought is probably, "What is Twelve and Holding?" Your second thought is, "Who is Zoe Weizenbaum?" And your third thought will most likely be, "Is she even nominated for anything?" All I can say is see the film and you tell me if any other actress even came close to doing what she did on screen as the scarred character of Malee.

Okay, back to reality... though I haven't seen either of these films something tells me that the final battle is going to come down to Maggie Gyllenhaal for Sherrybaby or Penelope Cruz for Volver. The Academy seems to love when women play down and dirty roles, and they also seem to like throwing something with a little foreign flavor into the mix as well.

The Wild Card:

Kate Winslet in Little Children. Truthfully, this is only a Wild Card because it seems Winslet would need to be in a flashier film to garner a bigger nod and awards push. However, she could probably seamlessly switch places with the other two actresses on this list.

Best Supporting Actor

Channing Tatum in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. All throughout this movie I kept wondering who this maniac was walking around with his shirt open. Then I found out that it was the co-star of the film Step Up (yup, that movie) and that made his work in Saints shine even brighter.

(All that said, I would love to see Alan Arkin at least get nominated for his role as Grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine).

Babel was a small movie, it's political, it says how the world should behave, and all of these factors come together to allow Brad Pitt to follow in the footsteps of his friend George Clooney this year.

The Wild Card:

I am going to split this up a tad. If the hype machine can roll all the way to February, than I think Eddie Murphy will probably make more movies where he doesn't talk to animals because of his win for Dreamgirls. Conversely, the Academy always seems like it's trying to be progressive, all while making sure that the people who built it are represented. For this reason, I would not be surprised to see Jack Nicholson's smug mug at the podium for his turn in The Departed.

Best Supporting Actress

Movie PictureAbigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine. You tell me what other actress in this category even comes close to pulling off what Breslin did in that film and I will reassess this choice. We remember a lot about this distinct film, a lot about the varied characters, but we remember Breslin as the character of Olive the most.

Something tells me that Emily Blunt is going to be rewarded for her turn as the horrendous, middle manager from hell in The Devil Wears Prada. This film probably would have won multiple Oscars about 30 years ago, but the world of film has changed, the Academy has changed and this award will be just the tip of the hat they feel they need to give the old guard.

The Wild Card

Geraldine Hughes in Rocky Balboa. Coming out of nowhere, Hughes managed to inherit the mantle of Adrian Balboa all while not calling attention the fact that she was doing exactly that. If somebody can do something of that nature in front of millions of people, they certainly deserve some kind of acting award.

Evan Jacobs