The only race that is still open in the major six categories is “Best Picture”!

Early Predictions
The nominations for the 79th annual Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning and they confirmed what all prognosticators already knew: the only open race is for “Best Picture.”
Even prior to the Golden Globes, and their nominations, the following five of the big six races were already determined, due to buzz, the fact that the people themselves were showing contrition regarding winning an Oscar, and their performances themselves.
Those guaranteed to win on Oscar night are:
Best Actress
Helen Mirren, THE QUEEN
Best Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson, DREAMGIRLS
Best Supporting Actor
Eddie Murphy, DREAMGIRLS
Best Director
Martin Scorsese, THE DEPARTED.
So now, who wins Best Picture?
Well, BABEL was a surprise Golden Globe winner, so it has to make the final two; THE DEPARTED has no buzz at all in this category, but it will (finally) give Marty his Award, and Mark Wahlberg’s nominations shows the academy notices a great performance – yes “Marky Mark” is now an Academy Award nominee – but no one thinks it was the Best Picture last year; the Academy loves Clint Eastwood, but LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA doesn’t have the momentum of his previous Oscar winners MILLION DOLLAR BABY or UNFORGIVEN; LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE was the surprise winner of the top feature film award presented by the Producers Guild of America last weekend, confirming that voters are aware of this wonderful little film, so that gives it momentum; and THE QUEEN is also wonderful, and the nomination for Best Director for Stephen Frears is proof again that voters are aware of the movie, but it is getting all of it’s buzz for Helen Mirren, not for the film itself.
So now, who wins Best Picture?
At this point, it looks like it is a race between BABEL and LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, with the latter poised to be the only surprise on Oscar night, February 25th.
That is a surprise I would enjoy.