Should and Will Win:The Departed: Everything you want in a great movie: exciting plot, unbelievable cast, entertaining and intelligent. It's not The Godfather, but it gets close.
But hedging my bets: Babel could win. I liked the film which is supposed to be a critique of globalization, kind of "why can't we get along?" The "story" doesn't make a of sense, but some of the scenes like the North African mountains, Mexico, Tokyo are fantastic.
Should Win: Clint Eastwood for Letter from Iwo Jima. The movie is a masterpiece anti-war/war film in the same league of All Quiet on the Western Front and Grand Illusion. Eastwood as a director is not only talent, but also has a wonderful taste and style, and a lot of courage.
But Martin Scorsese will win for The Departed. It's time for him to get one. He is certainly one of the best film directors.
Forest Whitaker should and will get it for playing Idi Amin better than Idi Amin himself in The Last King of Scotland.But there is a always a chance that the guys in Hollywood will feel sorry for Peter Otoole who should have won a Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia which I loved and give it to him this time for his role in Venus which I hated (imagine a soft porno movie filmed in an intensive care unit of an hospital or a senior citizen home).
Yes, Helen Mirren should and will get it for playing Queen Elizabeth in The Queen. I liked her since watching Prime Suspect and here she is a Queen.
And I also liked this year Notes on a Scandal, Little Children, Blood Diamond, Little Miss Sunshine, Pan's Labyrinth, and The Good Shepherd. I hope they'll win something tomorrow.