The “biggest movie event of the year” is taking place this Sunday and I feel compelled to offer my votes for the top awards. Granted, I’m not part of the Academy but I do feel qualified enough to comment on who I think is worthy of these high honors. I chose not to vote on categories where I felt either (A) unqualified to comment on or (B) hadn’t seen enough of the work nominated (sorry docs and shorts). Please keep in mind that these picks are my personal opinion only and don’t necessarily reflect the views of SAGIndie or SAG.

My vote is for Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Since the Golden Globes there’s been a lot of hype for him. I’m honestly getting a little sick of the whole “comeback story”, but he’s just SO good in this film. I’ve been hoping for this nomination since I saw his performance during AFI Fest. RUNNER UP: Sean Penn, Milk.

Probably the toughest category for me to pick as they’re all amazing performances. I have to go with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt. Every role this guy portrays is gold, but this one in particular had me glued to the screen. RUNNER UP: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Another tough category as all of these women are deserving. My vote would be for Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married. Anne has been solid in her “lighter” performances thus far in her career. In this film she displays so many different colors and shows signs of a true professional. RUNNER UP: Meryl Streep, Doubt.

My vote would be for Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona. In my opinion, it was her performance that made this film. I couldn’t get enough of her. RUNNER UP: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler.

Unless I’m completely naive, I wager that the Academy would be in agreement with me when I say that Wall-E is not only the best animated feature film of the year, but quite possibly the best film of the year. RUNNER UP: Kung Fu Panda.

Revolutionary Road. The film is gorgeous in so many ways, but it was the casual use of props and set design that really makes the period piece pop. RUNNER UP: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Elliot Graham, Milk. His ability to intercut archival footage is really what sold me here. RUNNER UP: Lee Smith, The Dark Knight.

Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight. I feel like he’s due since he’s already obtained two nominations, but the fact that he shot a great portion of this film using the cumbersome, albeit breathtaking, IMAX format is good enough for my vote. RUNNER UP: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire.

WRITING (Adapted)
Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire. What can I say that people don’t already know about this film? When you try and explain the synopsis of the story it almost seems impossible to capture — but they did it. RUNNER UP: John Patrick Shanley, Doubt

WRITING (Original)
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, and Pete Docter, Wall-E. As I’ve already stated, it’s a shame that this film can’t also be considered for Best Picture. RUNNER UP: Martin McDonagh, In Bruges

Yikes. Another tough category. All of these nominees did an excellent job at honing performances and storytelling. My vote would be for Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire. The scope of this project alone deserves high praise. RUNNER UP: Gus Van Sant, Milk.

It’s really a toss-up between my top two. I could seriously go either way, but at the end of the day I would vote for Milk based on it’s social relevance. The film is an immense piece of work on all levels (story, performance, technical, etc.), but it’s the message that it leaves you with that really puts it above all others. RUNNER UP: Slumdog Millionaire.

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