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SheKnows predicts the Oscar winners

Joel D. Amos is a Los Angeles-based writer, and the Senior Entertainment Editor here at SheKnows. He has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl, Rachel McAdams, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaw...

Golden Oscar picks

The 81st annual Academy Award nominations are out and SheKnows has it's picks to take home the golden man.

This veteran of choosing the winner in Oscar contests' success dates back to picking Mel Gibson's Braveheart to sweep. SheKnows lets you in on a little secret, the winners revealed below will send you to the top of your Oscar pool.

Best Picture:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire
Why: Hollywood loves an underdog. In the last year of cinematic excellence, no film fit that moniker more than Slumdog Millionaire. With its inspiring story, Bollywood connections, Mumbai locale and a love story - - can you say Oscar favorite?

Slumdog Millionaire, our lock for Best Picture

Actor:

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; Sean Penn, Milk; Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Winner:
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Why: For the same reason that Slumdog Millionaire will win Best Picture, Mickey Rourke will win for his portrayal of a washed up wrestler who is giving the ring one more try. Rourke was a huge star in the '80s, anchoring such films as Rumble Fish and The Pope of Greenwhich Village. Then he disappeared into a maze of bad career and personal decisions. Back and better than ever, Mickey Rourke, on this night, will be bigger than Brad Pitt.

The face of an Oscar winner

Actress:

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie, Changeling; Melissa Leo, Frozen River; Meryl Streep, Doubt; Kate Winslet, The Reader

Winner:
Kate Winslet, The Reader
Why: Simply, because Kate has won almost every accolade along the way during this entire award season. From the SAG awards to the Golden Globes, when the presenter says all the Actress names and reads the winner, you can bank it: 'Kate Winslet for The Reader.' Insert shock, surprise and thrills here.

Kate Winslet scorches in The Reader, our Best Actress winner

Supporting Actor:

Josh Brolin, Milk; Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt; Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight; Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Winner:
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Why: Was Heath Ledger's performance as the demented Joker truly the best supporting actor performance of the year or is Ledger getting the award for a body of work tribute? Yes and yes are the answers to those questions which is why this award feels so right. Not one actor on this esteemed list dominated a film the way that Ledger hangs over The Dark Knight. Even though a Batman movie, the star of this film and the entire year in film at the box office, is Heath Ledger and his Joker.

A posthumous award for Heath Ledger

Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, Doubt; Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Viola Davis, Doubt; Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler.

Winner:
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Why: Oscar adores pairing actors who have triumphed playing off one another. With the Oscar for Best Actor going to Mickey Rourke in our predictions, look for an early indicator of that early in the evening with a Marisa Tomei win. Also, there has been a lot of controversy about her first win for My Cousin Vinny, Oscar will want to make things right. Or, at the least, showcase that they never made a mistake in the first place by giving Tomei her first Oscar!

A pair of Oscar winners from The Wrestler - Rourke and Tomei

Director:

David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon; Gus Van Sant, Milk; Stephen Daldry, The Reader; Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Winner:
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Why: Nine times out of 10, the best director is from the film that wins Best Picture. Danny Boyle will be no different. His firm and sensitive direction of Slumdog Millionaire is one of the elements that make it the year's best film. Although Benjamin Button may possess a wider scope, David Fincher is only getting started on his Oscar nomination career and the Academy knows it.

Danny Boyle went to India and comes home with Oscar

Foreign Film:

The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany; The Class, France; Departures, Japan; Revanche, Austria; Waltz With Bashir, Israel

Winner:
Waltz With Bashir, Israel
Why: An unrelenting tale that only the state of Israel could produce. Hollywood adores showcasing films from Israel and 2009 will allow them to do so once again. As it is animated, it breaks the mold of past Foreign Film winners. But, that is exactly where it succeeds by blurring the lines of reality and fiction in a story that truly hits close to home.

Milk with Sean Penn will enjoy some Oscar gold

Adapted Screenplay:

Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; John Patrick Shanley, Doubt; Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon; David Hare, The Reader; Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Winner:
Slumdog Millionaire
Why: Taking the book QnA and bringing it to screen, Simon Beaufoy has crafted a gem of cinema that is as alive as the electric words on the page from which it was inspired. This year's Academy Awards will be Slumdog Millionaire's night and Beaufoy will enjoy Oscar gold as well.

Original Screenplay:

Courtney Hunt, Frozen River; Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky; Martin McDonagh, In Bruges; Dustin Lance Black, Milk; Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, Wall-E

Winner:
Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Why: A deftly written script, Dustin Lance Black penned a film in Milk that is a human rights story at its heart, while still never forgetting to inhabit the humans in the story with life that jumps off the screen. In the hands of Black, fellow nominees Penn and Brolin have a masterwork to read from while producing their unflinching profile on America in the '70s.

Animated Feature Film:

Bolt; Kung Fu Panda; Wall-E

Winner:
Wall-E
Why: Although Bolt and Kung Fu Panda are quality animated films worthy of this high honor, few films -- animated or otherwise – pack the punch that this instant classic from Pixar brings. Wall-E was on many critics list as the best film of the year.

Will The Duchess' Art Direction win Oscar gold? Unfortunately, we say noArt Direction:

Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Duchess, Revolutionary Road

Winner:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Why: Being shut out of the major award categories, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will get its Oscar gold in the form of categories such as Art Direction. Art Direction is how the film can feel as if it was a painting and Benjamin Button achieves that effort in spades.

Cinematography:

Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire

Winner:
Slumdog Millionaire
Why: With the streets of Mumbai, India, as its backdrop Slumdog Millionaire brings audiences into a world rarely seen in Hollywood film. Raw, unapologetic, the visual palette that Slumdog Millionaire creates is a priceless journey into how a film should transport its viewer on a multitude of levels. Benjamin Button did New Orleans proud, but Slumdog Millionaire's international panorama will take the award.

Sound Mixing:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Wall-E, Wanted

Winner:
Wall-E
Why: Particularly with its recent Blu-ray release, Pixar's Wall-E shows how it deserves the Oscar for best Sound Mixing. Wall-E is an impeccable blend of tech and aural resonance from a cast of creatures that do not exist except in the minds of the genius of Pixar.

Wall-E works his magic and Pixar spins an Oscar win

Sound Editing:

The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Slumdog Millionaire, Wall-E, Wanted

Winner:
Wall-E
Why: Same reasons as the sound mixing category, the pinpoint accuracy with which Wall-E's wizards bring the effects, sounds and story to life is pure cinematic perfection.

Original Score:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat; Defiance, James Newton Howard; Milk, Danny Elfman; Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman; Wall-E, Thomas Newman

Winner:
Slumdog Millionaire
Why: A soundtrack that is an international hit, the Academy has shown a passion of late for rewarding modern (read: popular) musical contributions to film. Slumdog Millionaire's soundtrack showcases some of India's finest melodies and provides the emotional punch in musical form to accompany the triumph on screen.

Original Song:

Down to Earth from WALL-E, Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman; Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman and Gulzar; O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Winner:
Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire
Why: Jai Ho has become an anthem and over-sensitive to appearing old and out of touch, the Academy will reward this catchy ditty from their Best Picture film, Slumdog Millionaire.

Costume:

Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Duchess, Milk, Revolutionary Road

Winner:
The Duchess
Why: No film in 2008 captured period piece costuming like The Duchess. As Keira Knightley's character was a fashion maven of her time, the costume designer was integral to making the entire picture work. The Duchess worked, and Knightley has never been dressed so fine on film.

Werner Herzog does it again with an amazing Doc, End of the World

Documentary Feature:

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Encounters at the End of the World, The Garden, Man on Wire, Trouble the Water

Winner:
Man on Wire
Why: One of the best pictures of the year, why wouldn't it win? A man walks a tightrope fastened between the rooftops of the Twin Towers in New York City in the '70s. Man on Wire captures the inspiration that one man's towering walk over the Manhattan skyline gave the people of New York. They had something to cheer about during a dark period in their history.

Documentary (short subject):

The Conscience of Nhem En, The Final Inch, Smile Pinki, The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

Winner:
The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306
Why: The times. The story of the people around the Memphis hotel where Martin Luther King was assassinated captured the emotions, trauma and hope of a dream cut short. The film is especially resonant given Barack Obama's recent election victory. Hollywood will not ignore that fact.

Film Editing:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire

Winner:
Slumdog Millionaire
Why: Slumdog Millionaire crosses story with game show with romance and music and the editor melding this magic film will surely walk away from the Kodak Theatre February 22 with an Academy Award for the effort.

The many faces of Brad Pitt

Makeup:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Winner:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Why: The Benjamin Button makeup team allowed Brad Pitt to age from a 90-year-old baby to an infant on the verge of completing a long and charmed life. In the process, these wizards allowed the audience to forget they were watching the most gorgeous man in the world under all that movie makeup magic.

Animated Short Film:

La Maison en Petits Cubes, Lavatory - Lovestory, Oktapodi, Presto, This Way Up

Winner:
Lavatory - Lovestory
Why: For the Animated Short Film category, the Academy adores rewarding not only films that push the technological envelope, but films that can also can strip away the technology and reveal the art of animation in its simplest form. Lavatory - Lovestory is an inspiration in that exact manner.

Live Action Short Film:

Auf der Strecke (On the Line), Manon on the Asphalt, New Boy, The Pig, Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Winner:
New Boy
Why: New Boy is a wonderful piece of filmmaking. New Boy's story is universal. The new kid at school tale is not unique. Here we see it through a nine-year-old African boy who feels slightly out of place. Who could not identify?

Visual Effects:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Iron Man

Winner:
The Curious of Benjamin Button
Why: An equal aspect of morphing Brad Pitt with his age-defying backwards journey goes to both the makeup team of Benjamin Button and director David Fincher's visual effects team. Both will enjoy their Oscar gold that will have to suffice for Benjamin Button on Slumdog Millionaire's big night.

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