Let's jump right in to the big awards.
This one's pretty simple, really. The nominees are Penelope Cruz in Nine, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick in Up In the Air, Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart, and Mo'Nique in Precious.
Here's how it will go down: Cruz got the sole acting nomination in a film that banked on its on-screen talent and lost - critics hated it and audiences didn't show. Farmiga and Kendrick will likely cancel each other out. Gyllenhaal is the surprise nominee here for a movie that's really all about Jeff Bridges. Then there's Mo'Nique - a comedian known for loud, broad slapstick (Soul Plane, TV's Moesha) who nailed a powerful dramatic role. She shocked audiences enough to win every major award this year so far and is a clear favorite for the Oscar.
Jim Carey is probably crying himself to sleep these days.
Traditionally, we look for a lead actress who has supporting screen time to win here. Someone like Meryl Streep in Kramer Vs. Kramer or Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, or Marcia Gay Harden in Pollock (I could go on). If that were the case, it would probably be Anna Kendrick's year, but Mo'Nique's story, the surprising depth of her performance, and her ability to give a good acceptance speech will likely get her to the podium on Oscar night.