From professional film critics to FNC on-air talent, FOX Fan asked some friends to look deep into their crystal balls and predict who will walk away with Oscar gold. Read their picks below, and e-mail us YOUR guesses (click here for a printable ballot).
SUPPORTING ACTOR: The Academy owes the highly respected Paul Giamatti big time for bypassing his performance in "Sideways" for a nomination last year. But it’s possible he will be surprised by George Clooney; the Academy loves actors who gain major weight for a role.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Almost certainly Rachel Weisz, who took the Globe and SAG awards. But Michelle Williams could benefit from a "Brokeback" sweep, but don’t count on it.
BEST ACTOR: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, whose flamboyant Truman Capote swept most other awards, will easily defeat Heath Ledger, whose lovelorn cowboy in "Brokeback" is likely too subtle for the Academy’s tastes.
BEST ACTRESS: Reese Witherspoon looked unbeatable a month ago, but her lousy acceptance speeches at the Globes and SAG awards — and great ones by Felicity Huffman — will cue an upset by the "Transamerica" star, whose gender-bending performing is much admired by many actors.
BEST DIRECTOR: Most likely it’s finally Ang Lee’s year. But plenty of front-running Best Director nominees like Martin Scorsese have lost the gold to hunky actors-turned-director, so George Clooney may possibly go home with the prize.
BEST PICTURE: "Brokeback Mountain" is the only nominee that’s become a genuine cultural phenomenon. "Crash," which has a loyal following among actors, could pull off an upset — but last-minute surges by "Munich" and "Good Night, and Good Luck" will splinter the vote.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: George Clooney — And I swear that I’m not picking him just because I want him to have lots of screen time. Really.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rachel Weisz — You’ve gotta give Rachel credit, she’s come a long way from The Mummy movies (even though I have to confess that I love them). I don’t think it’s so much a matter of whether or not she’ll win; I think it’s a question of how she’ll display her growing baby bump.
BEST ACTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman — He’s not going to be considered a red-carpet icon or the sexiest man in America anytime soon, but he is arguably the most talented actor out there. He transforms himself so completely for this role, it’s kinda creepy and definitely amazing.
BEST ACTRESS: Reese Witherspoon — This is a tough one! Felicity is a terrific actress and shows incredible range in "Transamerica," but Reese is definitely the favorite going into the race. I think that the Academy should make an exception and hand out two Oscars here. Not going to happen, but that’s my vote!
DIRECTOR: Ang Lee — Sorry, "Brokeback" critics: The Academy really isn’t trying to torture you or push an agenda — Ang just simply did a really good job with this movie!
BEST PICTURE: "Brokeback Mountain" — Love it, hate it, argue about it until you pass out, but definitely talk about it. Talking about the big issues in our country is a good thing. There’s a slight chance that "Crash" could sneak in and win it, but I really think that the gay-cowboy movie and Oscar are going to ride off into the sunset together.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matt Dillon — I may be biased because I've always liked him. We'll see if the Academy feels the same way!
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rachel Weisz — She "radiates" on screen, as they say. She's perfect.
BEST ACTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman — In the past, he's always stolen every scene he's been in. With "Capote," he's "in" every scene, so he steals the movie, and should steal the Oscar, too!
BEST ACTRESS: Keira Knightly — I'm not sure she'll win, but I loved her in this part. I was hesitant to see yet another version of "Pride & Prejudice," but she won me over within the first five minutes.
DIRECTOR: Ang Lee — Lots of great directors to choose from, but "Brokeback" seems like a shoe-in.
BEST PICTURE: "Brokeback Mountain" — This movie has that "runaway train" feeling: nothing can stop it now.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matt Dillon, "Crash" — Matt Dillon is excellent in "Crash," but personally, I think the Academy totally goofed by not nominating him for his superb performance in "Herbie: Fully Loaded." I mean c'mon, you try acting with a car!
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Michelle Williams, "Brokeback Mountain" — Michelle Williams is a true method actress. Not only did she marry and have a baby with Heath Ledger in the film, but she also did it in real life. Talk about commitment to a role. Buzz off Rachel Weisz, I don't want to hear from you until you marry Ralph Feinnes and then mysteriously die, just like you did in "The Constant Gardner." That's acting!
BEST ACTOR: Terrence Howard, "Hustle and Flow" — Winning an Oscar is all about catering to to the Academy's sensibilities. Terence Howard's portrayal of a southern, rap-loving, woman-beating, pimp in the throes of a mid-life crisis is totally up the Academy's alley. Didn't Olivier win for the same thing in '41?
BEST ACTRESS: Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica" — Talk about having balls...Felicity Huffman is so convincing as a man in this movie, I think she should be nominated in the Best Actor category.
DIRECTOR: Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain" — Not impressed by Ang Lee? Just wait until he finally admits at the Academy Awards that Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were both totally CGI like the HULK. See what I mean? He's a genius.
BEST PICTURE: "Brokeback Mountain" — Sure everyone talks about about the amazing romance between the two main characters, but the thing that really won me over in this picture was the moustaches. I haven't seen such expert use of moustaches since "Magnum P.I."