Renée Zellweger and Nicole Kidman have the big pre-Oscar prizes, but oddly, Zellweger's part of an ensemble and Kidman's in a supporting role. Diane Lane, Julianne Moore and Salma Hayek carry their films -- Lane is the only reason to see Unfaithful. But sometimes the Academy just wants to honour someone.
Renée Zellweger by a nose.
Daniel Day-Lewis. Not a comeback, but it is a return.
BEST Supporting Actress
Catherine Zeta-Jones, unless the current tabloid lawsuit tackiness has made her look too petty.
In which case, Meryl Streep.
BEST Supporting Actor
Chris Cooper, a highly respected character actor doing a complete change of pace. The Academy loves that stuff.
Adaptation is too original, which leaves Bill Condon's stellar adaptation of Chicago, a project that defeated a lot of writers. Far From Heaven isn't original enough, but there are two Spanish films in the category, plus My Big Fat Greek Sitcom and Gangs Of New York, though the script may be the weakest element of Gangs.
The one category where I'd love to see The Hours pick up a statuette. I play the Philip Glass soundtrack all the time. A more likely winner is Elmer Bernstein's stunningly retro work on Far From Heaven.
Lose Yourself may be the best song in any movie this year, but the alte kuckers in Palm Springs aren't about to give Eminem an Oscar. U2's The Hands That Built America is likelier, as if Bono weren't already too stuffed to jump.
My gut says Martin Scorsese, my mind says Rob Marshall. Take your pick.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring is the only film ever to get 13 nominations and not win best picture. Chicago is not about to become the second.
John Harkness is the author of The Academy Awards Handbook (Pinnacle), updated and reprinted in 2003.