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Will Sandra Bullock trump Meryl Streep for a Best Actress Oscar? Does The Hurt Locker have a shot against box-office blockbuster Avatar? Read our predictions about who will walk away winners on Sunday night's Academy Awards -- and who should.
WILL WIN: Sandra Bullock will walk away with a golden trophy for The Blind Side. Her Southern-accented turn as a rich woman who adopts a homeless black teen and supports him all the way to the NFL was a different kind of role for the comedienne. Based on real events, and a box-office winner for Bullock, this Oscar is a popularity contest. And if she claims a worst actress Razzie for her stinker of a comedy All About Steve, she'd be the first star to pull off such a dichotomous win in the same year.
SHOULD WIN: Meryl Streep was divine as iconic TV chef Julia Child. But it seems like she lost momentum as The Blind Side made more money, along with Helen Mirren, who brilliantly portrayed the Countess Tolstoy in The Last Station. The good news? Women over 40, or 50, or 60 are now contenders for the top spot!
WILL WIN: Jeff Bridges gets a lifetime achievement award for his broken-down country singer who turns gigs in bowling alleys and nights in cheap motels into a love song from a Crazy Heart. Too bad the cliched movie didn't live up to the honesty of his performance.
SHOULD WIN: In Up in the Air, George Clooney takes another little piece of his heart out, and then another, stripping himself bare naked beneath that gorgeous veneer. It's a suavely tragic performance that cries out, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!"
WILL WIN: Kathryn Bigelow will win hands-down for The Hurt Locker with her testosterone-driven war film starring an ensemble cast of male actors, and lacking a single memorable female role. How's that for the first female director to make history and win the Oscar?
SHOULD WIN: It's Bigelow all the way, although her ex-husband James Cameron is also nominated for his sci-fi spectacular, Avatar, and if box-office returns were little gold men, he'd be the big winner.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
WILL WIN: Mo'Nique plays one of those roles that the Academy loves as the violent, abusive Harlem mother in Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. It's a ferocious portrayal of motherhood gone dead wrong in the category the Academy will use to reward the six-time-nominated drama.
SHOULD WIN: Actress Vera Farmiga is good in every movie she's in, including 2006's Breaking and Entering and The Departed. But, as the high-flying businesswoman and friend-with-benefits opposite George Clooney in Up in the Air, she gets the chance to play the leading lady with sexual allure and grace, while bringing out her costar's vulnerability in this pairing of equals.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
WILL WIN: From the moment Christoph Waltz took center stage as an erudite, brutal Nazi in the devastating opening set piece of Inglourious Basterds, it was clear that he was the actor to beat for Best Supporting Actor. Nothing's changed.
SHOULD WIN: We're all for Waltz, but being so far ahead in any Oscar race for so long can lead to front-runner fatigue and a last-minute loss. That leaves the possibility that Woody Harrelson -- who cries as an alcoholic soldier delivering the bad news of battle deaths to widows and orphans in The Messenger -- could win for playing against type, or the 80-year-old veteran thespian Christopher Plummer could get his very first Oscar for playing famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station.
WILL WIN: The Hurt Locker, a gripping war drama about an American bomb squad in Iraq, is the absolute favorite. How do we know this? It gleaned nine nominations and won the majority of the guild awards from the producers, writers and directors -- all considered precursors to the big win.
SHOULD WIN: We're hoping for the Locker to go the distance. Although, Quentin Tarantino's violent World War II fantasy Inglourious Basterds is making a final push that could make it the day's dark horse winner -- and a lucky long shot if you feel like taking a risk on the office Oscar pool.
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Who do you think will walk away with golden trophies on Oscar night? Chime in below!
Tune in to the Academy Awards on ABC on Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. ET!