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Let's predict the Critics' Choice Awards!

January 7, 2009 |  9:43 pm

On Thursday night the Critics' Choice Awards will be doled out by members of the Broadcast Film Critics' Assn. during a telecast on VH1 (8 p.m. ET/ PT). Will they be harbingers of Oscars' champs?

That's a very controversial question. Some kudos gurus claim that the Critics' Choice Awards are the precursor award with the best rate of predicting the Oscars. But that's a tricky assertion to make because analogies need to be qualified. For example, BFCA frequently notes that it has the highest percentage of overlapping nominees with the Oscars. Well, sure, yes, but for many years BFCA only had three nominees in the acting slots, so thus it had less chance of being wrong. But also less chance of netting Oscar's wild cards like upset winners Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball"), Denzel Washington ("Training Day") and Adrien Brody ("The Pianist"), who weren't nominated by BFCA. Nowadays BFCA has five nominees in the acting categories and double the number of best picture contenders you find at the Oscars (10).

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How have the Critics' Choice Awards done among winners? Over the last 13 years, BFCA forecast eight of the Oscars' best actors and seven lead actresses. That's respectable. It's done especially well in recent years after there was a big shakeup in membership. (Leaders got tough about proof of qualification.) Over the last five years, BFCA correctly forecast all of Oscar's best actors and four of its lead actresses. You can check out a full list of nominees HERE. Below, my predix. Full disclosure: I know dozens of members of BFCA personally, and some of them ratted to me how they voted. Let's see if that means I can piece together results.

BEST PICTURE AND DIRECTOR
Close races between "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Bet on "Millionaire" hitting both jackpots.

BEST ACTOR
Sean Penn ("Milk") has won all other critics' awards. This one's next. But, beware: That doesn't mean he'll claim the Golden Globe this Sunday.

BEST ACTRESS
Fierce diva clawfest between Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") and her ole costar Meryl Streep ("Doubt"). Streep pummeled Hathaway in "Devil Wears Prada" and will do so again here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"), of course. Members of BFCA are junketeers who did final video interviews with Ledger just before he died. (I participated in those junkets too.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
In this race, I'm totally befuddled. Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona") had the early buzz, but Viola Davis ("Doubt") and Kate Winslet ("The Reader") have come on strong in recent weeks. Cruz and Winslet were chummy darlings of the junket scene in recent years, so it's probably between them. BFCA members are suckers for glamour. Cruz it is.

Take over, please. You predict the rest HERE.

Photos: Fox Searchlight, Miramax, Focus Features, Warner Bros.


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