The nominees for Best Cinematography are The Assassination of Jesse James, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, No Country, and There Will Be Blood. Roger Deakins has been denied an Oscar despite over a dozen nominations and this year he has two shots - for Jesse James and No Country. Still, I think he will get beat again, this time by Atonement, a movie that manages to make a bombed-out beach look as gorgeous as an English manor. Plus, there was that virtuosic 5-minute tracking shot that involved a cast of thousands.
Best Art directions pits the fantastical and dark (Sweeny Todd and The Golden Compass) against modern (American Gangster) and historical styles (Atonement and There Will Be Blood). I think Atonement will take this one for showing a wide variety of set designs - from a stately country estate to the grungy ruins and triage hospital of WWII France.
In the Best Costumes category, the more ffantastical and outrageous costumes always trump subtlety. Atonement, Across The Universe, and La Vie En Rose each had a great variety of costumes, but they pale in comparison to the Victorian goth look of Sweeny Todd and the outrageous Elizabethan garb in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I predict that the team from Elizabeth will take the prize.
The three nominees for Makeup are La Vie En Rose, perennial nominee Rick Baker for Norbit, and Pirates 3. Norbit's achievement really is its makeup and Pirates 3 is impressive, but the makeup team from La Vie En Rose transformed Marion Cotillard into Edith Piaf in every stage of her life, from her 20's through her 60's. It was just as important to creating the character as Cotillard's fine acting and I think it will get recognized.