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Oscar Insiders: 'Brokeback' Wins

This Sunday night, Hollywood hands out its highest honors at the 78th Annual Academy Awards.

And in these final days before the big show, America is well into its annual tradition: predicting the winners.

The Early Show turned to entertainment insider Jess Cagle, People magazine's editor at large, and Jessica Shaw, senior editor for Entertainment Weekly.

Each gave opinions on who will win in the major categories, and who should win.

[Meanwhile, for a behind-the-scenes view of covering Oscar, see co-anchor Harry Smith's comments on The Public Eye, the blog.]

The nominees

Best Picture
"Brokeback Mountain"
"Good Night, and Good Luck"

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"
Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"
Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line"
David Strathairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck"

Best Actress
Judi Dench, "Mrs. Henderson Presents"
Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"
Keira Knightley, "Pride & Prejudice"
Charlize Theron, "North Country"
Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line"

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Dillon, "Crash"
George Clooney, "Syriana"
Paul Giamatti, "Cinderella Man"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain"
William Hurt, "A History Of Violence"

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, "Junebug"
Catherine Keener, "Capote"
Frances McDormand, "North Country"
Rachel Weisz, "The Constant Gardener"
Michelle Williams, "Brokeback Mountain"

Best Director
George Clooney, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
Paul Haggis, "Crash"
Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"
Bennett Miller, "Capote"
Steven Spielberg, "Munich"

Jess Cagle's Predictions

Best Picture
Who Will Win: "Brokeback Mountain." Even though "Crash" is considered strong competition, Hollywood's enthusiasm for "Brokeback" is apparent from the pre-Oscar awards from critics and guilds. Also, it has the most nominations overall. Among the contenders, it has also made the most at the box office, which often seems to sway Academy opinions. And it has a substantial running time (It's the second longest contender, after "Munich") and the academy usually picks long movies over shorter ones. (If there is an upset, Ang Lee will still get the directing trophy for "Brokeback.")

Who Should Win: "Brokeback Mountain." It's the best movie of the year — daring, original, and one of the most artfully rendered love stories ever put on film.

Best Director
Who Will Win: Ang Lee for "Brokeback Mountain."

Who Should Win: Ang Lee

Best Actress
Who Will Win: Reese Witherspoon for "Walk the Line." She won best actress from the Screen Actors Guild and other pre-Oscar kudos, making her the frontrunner. She did her own singing and she's "box office," which helps. Also, the Academy tends to reward younger actresses, rather than older ones. And this is a way for the Academy to recognize a big, big hit film.

Who Should Win: Judi Dench. Witherspoon is terrific, but anyone who wants a crash course in comedic acting should see Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents." Her performance is a minor masterpiece.

Best Actor
Who Will Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Capote." He plays a real person, which helps (as with Jamie Foxx in "Ray"). Also, Hoffman is such a respected actor in the industry that it would be hard for his peers to vote against him. Heath Ledger is his most formidable competition, and it's a close race.

Who Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman. He plays Capote convincingly, and it never becomes a caricature. A miracle.

Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win: George Clooney will win for "Syriana." He has three nominations this year (as director, supporting actor and screenplay) and the Academy will recognize him. People respect Clooney. The competition is formidable and this is a tight race, almost impossible to predict, but the Academy would love to see Clooney standing at that podium.

Who Should Win: Matt Dillon. He's great in "Crash" and he's earned it.

Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win: Rachel Weisz will win for "The Constant Gardener." She has already won several awards, including SAG.

Who Should Win: Catherine Keener for "Capote." A perfect performance. No other actress can infuse a character with the deadpan humor and deep humanity that Keener can.

Jessica Shaw's Predictions

Best Picture
Who Will Win: "Brokeback Mountain." Every year, there's one movie that resonates more than the others and there is no question "Brokeback" is the movie of 2005. "Crash" has a lot of momentum but that movie is a one-trick pony. "Brokeback's" beauty is in its subtlety, which some people may mischaracterize as small.

Who Should Win: "Brokeback Mountain"

Best Director
Who Will Win: Ang Lee for "Brokeback Mountain." Shaw says Ang Lee is one of the greatest directors of our time. His scope of work is impressive and he puts his stamp of perfection and grace on every film he touches. It's long overdue for him to win the best director Oscar.

Who Should Win: Ang Lee

Best Actress
Who Will win: Reese Witherspoon for "Walk the Line." Much has been made of Witherspoon's performance and she's certainly cleaning up, but Keira Knightley managed to bring something new to a character that has been played so many times and read about so many times. Without a new and interesting Lizzie, "Pride & Prejudice" would have been an episode of Masterpiece Theater.

Who Should win: Keira Knightley

Best Actor
Who Will Win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman for "Capote." Heath Ledger might take the prize but that would be a mistake. All of "Capote" hinged on Hoffman being able to play the character and he did so with an uncanny brilliance.

Who Should win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win: George Clooney for "Syriana."

Who Should Win: Paul Giamatti for "Cinderella Man." For whatever reason, "Cinderella Man" was completely overlooked this year, even though it was one of Shaw's favorite movies. She says Giamatti is a superstar actor who is never recognized and he deserves this win not just for "Cinderella Man," but also for the "Sideways" snub.

Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win: Rachel Weisz for "The Constant Gardener."

Who Should Win: Michelle Williams for "Brokeback Mountain." Weisz's role was the flashy, showy one, the "Oscar" one. Michelle doesn't have the flashy role in her movie but her heartbreaking vulnerability elevates "Brokeback" to another level.

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