Best Actress: Helen Mirren for "The Queen"
Of the five great performances, there's one sure winner: Mirren. In the latest Vegas odds, gamblers have to put up $25 to win $1.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson for "Dreamgirls"
She stops the show, stops your heart. There's no second choice.
Best Director: Martin Scorsese for "The Departed"
Oddly, this makes it tougher for "The Departed" to win best picture -- of late, Oscar likes to split its vote. Clint Eastwood has a chance, but he's won before, Scorsese never has.
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker for "The Last King of Scotland"
Peter O'Toole, the last king of Ireland, is the only actor with a chance of beating him.
Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy for "Dreamgirls"
Eddie Murphy's been the favorite to win best supporting actor for a long time, maybe too long. In the past week, this one's become a contest -- if not Murphy, it'll be Alan Arkin.
Best Picture: ?
I can't remember a best picture race without a front-runner. Oscar voters I've talked with have mentioned all five nominees as possible winners.
When I said that to my producer, she said, "OK, if someone put a gun to your head and made you pick the winner, which picture would you choose?" And I said, "'Babel,' or 'Little Miss Sunshine,' or maybe the 'Departed.'"