Oscar Predictions: It’s Mickey Rourke And Kate Winslet’s Year

Our MTV Movies experts (and a couple of friends) think the Best Picture race is between 'Slumdog' and 'Benjamin Button.'

Roberto Benigni in “Life Is Beautiful” over Edward Norton in “American History X”? Paul Newman waiting 30 years for his Oscar, and Stanley Kubrick never even winning one? “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan”?

Unfortunately, the Academy Awards don’t always go to the best film, actor or actress. Instead, it often becomes a battle decided by momentum, publicity, the ability to schmooze and only sometimes the quality of the work itself. But, warts and all, Oscar is still the one award that every Hollywood star dreams of placing on his or her mantel.

With that in mind, we’re preparing for our wall-to-wall Oscar coverage this weekend by analyzing not only who should win, but who will win. With help from [artist id="1244169"]Diddy[/artist] associate/ TV commentator Fonzworth Bentley and NY1 TV entertainment reporter George Whipple, the MTV Movies team attempts to get to the bottom of who’ll be going home with the little gold guy.

Best Picture

Should Win
» Josh Horowitz (MTV Movies managing editor): “[movie id="280659"]The Curious Case of Benjamin Button[/movie]“
» George Whipple: “[movie id="364450"]Slumdog Millionaire[/movie]“
» Fonzworth Bentley: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
» Larry Carroll (MTV News senior writer): “[movie id="374161"]Milk[/movie]”

Will Win
» Josh Horowitz: “Slumdog Millionaire”
» George Whipple: “Slumdog Millionaire”
» Fonzworth Bentley: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
» Larry Carroll: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Analysis
Best Picture boils down to “Slumdog” and “Button,” with the former taking charge as an awards-season juggernaut and the latter coming on strong as a possible spoiler. “Slumdog” is the more uplifting film and certainly has a lot of good will being thrown its way — but will [movieperson id="157114"]Danny Boyle’s[/movieperson] film be able to avoid the inevitable backlash factor?

Best Actor

Should Win
» Josh Horowitz: [movieperson id="54512"]Mickey Rourke[/movieperson], “[movie id="371022"]The Wrestler[/movie]“
» George Whipple: Mickey Rourke
» Fonzworth Bentley: Mickey Rourke
» Larry Carroll: [movieperson id="93819"]Sean Penn[/movieperson], “Milk”

Will Win
» Josh Horowitz: Mickey Rourke
» George Whipple: Mickey Rourke
» Fonzworth Bentley: Mickey Rourke
» Larry Carroll: Mickey Rourke

Analysis
Some might say Rourke’s personal story of redemption is earning more awards-season votes than the one he gives onscreen. According to our commentators, however, Randy “The Ram” Robinson is the real deal. If anyone has a chance of snatching away Rourke’s all-but-certain Oscar, however, it is Penn — a chameleonesque superstar who may have given us his greatest reinvention yet as gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk.

Best Actress

Should Win
» Josh Horowitz: [movieperson id="257378"]Anne Hathaway[/movieperson], “[movie id="360881"]Rachel Getting Married[/movie]“
» Fonzworth Bentley:
[movieperson id="60497"]Meryl Streep[/movieperson], “[movie id="345180"]Doubt[/movie]“
» George Whipple: Anne Hathaway
» Larry Carroll:
[movieperson id="60497"]Melissa Leo[/movieperson], ”
[movie id="375647"]Frozen River[/movie]”

Will Win
» Josh Horowitz: [movieperson id="166088"]Kate Winslet[/movieperson], “[movie id="362766"]The Reader[/movie]“
» Fonzworth Bentley: Meryl Streep
» George Whipple: Anne Hathaway
» Larry Carroll: Kate Winslet

Analysis
This battle between a veteran (Streep), an awards-season newcomer (Hathaway) and a five-time bridesmaid (Winslet) is shaping up to be one of Oscar’s biggest smackdowns. Our panel narrowly gives the edge to Winslet — possibly the greatest actress of her generation and someone who needs to stop getting snubbed year after year. Factor in her criminally non-nominated turn in “Revolutionary Road,” and Oscar voters seem likely to reward the new Streep rather than the original model.

Will it be a curious night for “Benjamin Button”? Can “Slumdog Millionaire” grab Oscar gold? Will Brad Pitt surprise leading contenders Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn? MTV News has the Academy Awards covered every which way with news, interviews, photos and more. Check out a complete list of the Oscar nominees here and keep it locked on MTVNews.com until the statues are handed out on Sunday, February 22.

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.