Just got back from seeing all the Best Picture nominees (been a while since I spent that much time in a theater), so I'm about as informed as I'm going to get. So here goes:
Documentary: Man On Wire is likely to win, and of the two I've seen it would get my vote.
Animated Feature: Wall-E, hands-down. Still the best movie of any kind I saw last year.
Visual Effects: All three of these are good, but I'd give it to The Dark Knight.
Sound & Sound Editing: My vote would be Wall-E for Sound and Slumdog Millionaire for Sound Editing, but Dark Knight will probably collect at least one of these.
Song: "Jai Ho" from Slumdog. It made for the most enjoyable credits sequence of the year, and is up against a less memorable song from the same film, and a good but not great Disney tune.
Score: Curious Case of Benjamin Button if they play it safe, otherwise Slumdog.
Makeup: Benjamin Button. Dark Knight stretches credibility toward the end, and if they were going to reward the Hellboy makeup they would have done so in 2004.
Costumes: I haven't seen The Duchess, but if anything beats Benjamin Button, it will.
Art Direction: I'd give it to Changeling, but it's close between that and Benjamin Button.
Editing: Slumdog and Dark Knight are both excellent in this category, but I'd give the slight edge to Slumdog.
Cinematography: The Dark Knight has a good shot at a lot of the technical awards, but this is the one it should easily walk away with. I don't think there's been a better-shot movie in quite a while.
Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog should and probably will win.
Original Screenplay: In Bruges gets my vote, but I'd put my money on Milk as the only Best Picture nominee in the category.
Director: With the possibly exception of Gus Van Sant, everyone in this category has made better movies than what they're nominated for, but I think Danny Boyle will take it.
Supporting Actress: I would give it to Taraji P. Henderson, but I think the smart money is on Penélope Cruz.
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger.
Actress: I think Kate Winslet will win it, although it's far from her best work. I would actually give it to Angelina Jolie.
Actor: If I were picking it would be a toss-up between Richard Jenkins and Frank Langella. Chances are it will go to my third choice, Mickey Rourke.
Picture: Slumdog. It's won every other award it's been up for, and of the nominees, it's the strongest, with Benjamin Button a close second. Not my first or second pick for best of the year, but those aren't on the list.