The 80th Annual Academy Awards are scheduled to take place tomorrow at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California. Because the writer’s strike is over, this year’s host — Jon Stewart — can rest a little easier knowing that he won’t have to come up with his own material. Thank goodness. As appears to be tradition around this time of year, it is perhaps appropriate that I go through some of the main categories and put out both my predictions as to who will win, as well as who I think should win. As I’m sure you know, these aren’t exactly the same thing.

Best Animated Feature Film
This seems like it could be a pretty easy decision for the academy this year. Ratatouille has been both a critical and box office success, and many people are even saying that it should have been considered for Best Picture. I haven’t seen the other two nominees — Surf’s Up and Persepolis — but I hear that the latter is surprisingly good. The art style is certainly different, but Ratatouille is one of those movies that has far too much momentum going into Sunday night.
Should Win: Ratatouille
Will Win: Ratatouille

Best Supporting Actress
She may be 83 years old, but this is Ruby Dee’s first Oscar nomination. She was simply lovely in American Gangster, a film that I thought would get more Oscar nods than it did. Even so, I feel that Ruby’s chances are pretty slim.
Should Win: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Will Win: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck looks like he could be in for a much more successful acting career than his brother Ben. He may have started slow with minor roles in Good Will Hunting and American Pie, but 2007 was a huge breakout year for the 32-year-old. He seems great in Gone Baby Gone, but it was his portrayal of Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, that earned him an Oscar nomination. He won’t this year, but it looks he has a bright future ahead of him.
Should Win: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Best Actress
The members who actually vote for the Academy Awards are typically a bunch of older people and they have traditionally snubbed younger actors and actresses in favor of performers who have been around the block a few times. 21-year-old Ellen Page has burst onto the scene as Hollywood’s new “it” girl for her role in Juno, but she was equally impressive in Hard Candy as well. Like Casey Affleck, Ellen is probably going to get snubbed too.
Should Win: Ellen Page, Juno
Will Win: Julie Christie, Away From Her

Best Actor
Explain to me how Johnny Depp gets on this list, but Denzel Washington does not. I just don’t get it. Viggo Mortensen was also quite good in Eastern Promises, but the role just isn’t memorable enough to land him a golden statue. Instead, we’ll be looking at the brutality of Southern California’s oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And he deserves it.
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Best Picture
Ah, the big show. The Academy Award that everyone is waiting for. Again, I thought that Juno was easily the best movie that I’ve seen all year, thanks to a terrific performance from the entire ensemble (not just Ellen Page). The movie was so honest, so genuine, so relevant. For me, the choice is clear. For the Academy, it might not be so easy, considering the caliber of the other nominees: Atonement, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood. It’s gonna be tough. As much as I’d like to see the indie hit take home the prize, Juno is going to come up short, just as it did at the Golden Globes.
Should Win: Juno
Will Win: There Will Be Blood

My record in the past for Oscar predictions hasn’t been the best, so we’ll find out how well I did tomorrow night. Happy award watching!