Of course, I'll watch. And, no, I'm not particularly excited about the Oscars, which will be awarded Sunday. I have no strong rooting interests, and I'm already sick of what has become an interminable awards season. This year's show may be spiffier -- see Sunday's New York Times -- but that may simply highlight the fact that the stars alone can't carry the night.
And there may be an element of woeful familiarity about the evening. We've already seen Kate Winslet gush (at the Golden Globes); we know Sean Penn will be humbled without totally masking the edgier parts of his personality; we understand that the people who made "Slumdog Millionaire" will be thrilled beyond belief and will acknowledge the people of Mumbai without whose help, etc.
There'll be fashion disasters, although they seem to have gotten fewer in recent years. There'll be surprisingly moving moments, and when it's all said and done, we'll have had much sound and fury and little will have been signified.
Oscar predictions are a risky business. I'm not sure who started trying to outguess the voters of the augustly named Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I've generally wondered if the Oscars aren't more readily enjoyed by those who care the least and who view the whole business as a singular expression of Hollywood hubris: "We have evaluated our own work and found it to be superb."
But I've gotten into the habit of predicting and so I'll forge ahead with this year's guesses, which probably follow the path set by other prognosticators. There seems to be a fair amount of consensus out there, where ever "there" is.
Best picture: "Slumdog Millionaire."
Best director: Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire."
Best Actor: Sean Penn, "Milk."
Best Actress: Kate Winslet: "The Reader."
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight."
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, "Milk."
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire."
Best Animated Feature: "Wall-E."
Best Foreign-Language Film: "Waltz With Bashir."
Best Documentary Feature: "Man On Wire."or "Trouble the Water." It's a toss-up.
If you're looking for categories where we're most likely to see upsets, try these:
Best actor: Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler."
Best actress: Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married" or Meryl Streep, "Doubt."
Best supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Doubt”
If you're interested in more insider information on the Oscars, you probably should bookmark two important blogs: "The Envelope," produced by The Los Angeles Times and "The Carpetbagger," a seasonal awards blog of The New York Times. Variety's "Award Central" page also is good a good source of news on Oscar.