Before the red carpet festivities start filling up this virtual space with snark, I'd like to start by grappling head-on with the Best Picture logjam, which is possibly the most suspenseful race in recent memory. An argument could be made for four of the five to come out on top—the fifth, Letters From Iwo Jima, just doesn't seem to have enough momentum to be a factor in my opinion—and I've been wavering since the nominations were announced. My first instinct was to pick Little Miss Sunshine, this year's official Little Movie That Could; it really doesn't seem like a very substantive choice, but people have rallied around its twee outsider message and the ensemble cast could appeal strongly to other actors, who make up a substantial portion of the Academy. You could also argue that something like The Departed could be the consensus choice, because it's a movie that everyone liked and everyone saw, and its box-office performance could be a factor. And then there are some people, like our own Noel Murray, who are thinking The Queen could sneak up and surprise people by pulling a Chariots Of Fire, but I don't think the film has that much passionate support. That leaves Babel, which is the title I'm picking to win tonight. The film is basically a better-made Crash and it has an air of "importance" and gravitas that a tough genre piece like The Departed can't claim. It's also the only major category in which Babel stands a chance of winning: Martin Scorsese should take Director for The Departed, Helen Mirren should win Actress for The Queen, and the script for Little Miss Sunshine will probably top Peter Morgan's far superior work on The Queen. So the choice is either to shut out Babel or give the damned thing Best Picture. I'm thinking the latter.