Conventional Wisdom: Madsen's tender performance lifts "Sideways" from guy buddy film to Oscar contender, and that's just about as much support as a supporting actress could give. Blanchett in a turn as Katharine Hepburn is something to behold, and Meryl Streep seemed to be channeling Hillary Rodham Clinton, but their roles didn't really transcend the movies in which they appear.
Best Supporting Actor
The Nominees: David Carradine, "Kill Bill: Vol. 2"; Thomas Haden Church, "Sideways"; Jamie Foxx, "Collateral"; Morgan Freeman, "Million Dollar Baby"; Clive Owen, "Closer"
Conventional Wisdom With his world-weary voice, Freeman as a narrator does for "Million Dollar Baby" what he earlier did for "The Shawshank Redemption." Foxx's performance in "Collateral" might be overshadowed by his stellar work in "Ray." Church might ride a "Sideways" sweep, but his performance as an actor painfully aware of his declining career is more than worthy.
The Nominees: "Million Dollar Baby"; Marc Forster, "Finding Neverland"; Mike Nichols, "Closer"; Alexander Payne, "Sideways"; Martin Scorsese, "The Aviator"
Conventional Wisdom: There's always talk of Hollywood getting behind Scorsese, who's never won an Oscar, although he's been nominated four times for best director and twice for screenplays. He hasn't fared much better at the Globes, winning just once in seven tries (for "Gangs of New York").
Best TV Series, Drama
Television Drama Series: "24," Fox; "Deadwood," HBO; "Lost," ABC; "Nip/Tuck," FX; "The Sopranos," HBO
Conventional Wisdom: It's old vs. new. "24" has won twice and "The Sopranos," another past winner, is a perennial nominee. Newcomers "Lost" and "Deadwood" both have good buzz and a cult following, but will the cowboy drama be held back by salty saloon cussing?
Best Actress, TV Drama
The Nominees: Edie Falco, "The Sopranos"; Jennifer Garner, "Alias"; Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"; Christine Lahti, "Jack & Bobby"; Joely Richardson, "Nip/Tuck"
Conventional Wisdom: Falco is an awards show darling, with three Emmys and two Golden Globes. Garner has jumped successfully to the big screen, but the long hiatus of "Alias" might hurt her. Hargitay, nominated for the first time, might have the edge.
Best Actor, TV Drama
The Nominees: Michael Chiklis, "The Shield"; Denis Leary, "Rescue Me"; Julian McMahon, "Nip/Tuck"; Ian McShane, "Deadwood"; James Spader, "Boston Legal"
Conventional Wisdom: No Martin Sheen? No James Gandolfini? Past winner Michael Chiklis has seniority here. The time may have come for Brit Ian McShane, who stars in "Deadwood."
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
The Nominees: "Arrested Development," Fox; "Desperate Housewives," ABC; "Entourage," HBO; "Sex and the City," HBO; "Will & Grace," NBC
Conventional Wisdom: After handing five nominations to "Desperate Housewives," members of the HFPA are sending a clear signal they're virtual residents of Wisteria Lane. If "Desperate Housewives" doesn't win, demand a recount.
Best Actress, TV Musical or Comedy
The Nominees: Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives"; Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives"; Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives"; Debra Messing, "Will & Grace"; Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City"