Okay, the Academy Awards start in about 20 minutes and I said I would come back to make my picks, so here they are.

Originally I was going to do a huge write up about who I thought would win and why, but I don’t think there’s enough time for that now.

Anyway, here’s who I think will win:

BEST PICTURE: Brokeback Mountain. I don’t know if it was the best movie of the year, but considering it’s origins, the difficulty the writers and producers had bringing it to screen and it’s overall cultual signifigance, I think it should be rewarded. Crash looks like it might upset, though. Especially considering the complexity of the storyline, the large and tallented cast and the fact that it’s set in L.A. – where the majoirty of Academy voters live. If any film could pull an upset, it would be this one.

BEST ACTOR: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. If the Academy could nominate and award Jamie Foxx for his performance in Ray, then they most certainly need to recognized Hoffman. His performance transcends pure imitation. You really get to see the person beneath the public facade of Truman Capote, warts and all. Again, considering the difficulty Hoffman and his writing partners faced bringing this production to film, he’s a sure bet.

BEST ACTRESS: Reese Witherspon. It’s her time. Public opinion is with her and there’s rumor that she’s being paid $29 million for her next movie. It’s safe to say she’s assumed the mantle from Julia Roberts. Is there any other actress out there right now that generates this much attention? Okay, Legally Blonde 2 was a turkey. She might not technically be a great actress, but she’s a certified movie star. Moreso than the other nominees. Except for Charlize Theron and she’s already won.

I give points to Felicity Huffman for taking a more challenging, "actorly" role. But tonight, Reese walks home with Oscar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: George Clooney. I don’t know if his performance deserves it. I haven’t seen Syriana. But, like Reese, he has good buzz around him. Especailly considering his other film Good Night, and Good Luck has him nominated in the Best Original Screenplay and Best Director categories. He won’t win in either of those, so this is his gold watch. I think mosty voters will have his name on the ballot to see what kind of speech he delivers.

If I had my druthers, I would give it to Paul Giamatti – one of the strongest character actors working today, bar none. But I think the negative press around Russell Crowe during the period Cinderella Man was in theaters has hurt his chances. Poor box office of that film also to blame.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rachel Weisz. I have no basis for opinon here. It just seems to be where everyone else is going. Some people are talking about Michelle Williams, but I really didn’t see anything in her performance that made me stand up and say "Wow!" From what I’ve heard, Weisz’s character is the lynchpin of The Constant Gardner and she delivers on all fronts.

BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee. I think this one is a landslide. None of the other nominees lensed anything quite so peaceful, beautiful and poetic as Brokeback Mountain. As the director of Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and even Hulk, his versitility should be recognized. Right film, right time to give him the nod.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Brokeback Mountain. It says more with less. Again, cultural signifigance pulls rank here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Crash. The complexity. The characterization. The multiple angles on the same story. It’s the most ambitious of the nominees.

Anyway, those are my choices. Really, a lot of the media outlets I’ve been keeping up with predict it the same. Really the only nailbiter is Best Supporting Actor. It could go in any direction. But the rest seem like locks. I think it’ll be a pretty standard affair for Oscar tonight. That is, unless Crash was able to perform some kind of last-minute rally. I view it as the dark horse. We’ll see!