Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain.
In a change of pace, I have actually seen all but one (Capote) of the best picture nominees. These are some really phenomenal films, and it is not easy for me to decide. Crash had a fantastic cast and made for an enjoyable and socially conscious experience, but I felt the characters were often cardboard and the film's plot often went for quantity over quality. If not Brokeback, I would have to give the award to Good Night and Good Luck, which was one of the most topical and just plain solid -- in writing, directing, and acting -- movies in years. Munich was an excellent film in my opinion, and also very well-rounded, but it wasn't really a stand out. There was a certain sense of Another Serious Spielberg Film [tm]. Brokeback Mountain has to top them all, though. There was no element that didn't achieve near-perfection. That the decision of which movie deserves to win is hard is not a reflection of mediocrity, but of excellence.
Best Director: Ang Lee
As the picture and director nominees actually line up this year, there isn't really more that I need to say about this one. My feelings about the directing of the movies is pretty much parallel to my feelings about the films themselves. As with the picture category, I do think that George Clooney deserves serious recognition for Good Night and Good Luck, but Ang Lee did one better.
Best Actor: Heath Ledger (Phillip Seymour Hoffman)
I haven't seen three of the performances in this category, so it's between Ledger and David Strathairn. It's really a coin toss for me. I believe that both gave equally compelling performances, but I also think Ledger had a much more difficult role to play, so I'll give it to him. I would bet it's going to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, though. I'm sure he was excellent, as always, in Capote.
Best Actress: unknown (Reese Witherspoon)
Didn't see a single one of these. Just picking which actress I generally like the most, I'd say Felicity Huffman. I am certain Reese Witherspoon is going to win, and she may have been great, but I really don't care for her.
Best Supporting Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal (unknown)
This is interesting. I have seen two of the performances, and frankly Matt Dillon didn't do anything for me, so I'm going with Gyllenhaal. However, I am almost certain he won't win, and he probably doesn't deserve to. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any of the other actors' films, so I couldn't even begin to guess who it's going to be.
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams (unknown)
Brokeback Mountain is the only of the actress' films I've seen. I really have no clue how the others are. I hear Rachel Weisz was good, and I usually like her performances quite a bit, but I don't know what the Academy will think.
So, yeah, I guess it's Brokeback Mountain all the way for me, but that may be as much out of ignorance of some of the other nominees than anything else. I wouldn't mind such a sweep, in any case, if only to stick it to the bigots.