So do you reckon Slumdog Millionaire is a shoo-in for this year’s Best Film Oscar? Is Heath Ledger a dead cert for a posthumous gong? And are you convinced Kate is already polishing her Best Actress acceptance speech? Or do you think Meryl is going to pip her at the post?

There are a couple of days remaining before Sunday night’s ceremony, but we’re going to predict the night’s big winners, the big upsets … and the films and stars who should win if we had our way.

Best Film

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button heads the field at this year’s Oscars with 13 nominations… but it will probably miss out on the major awards. The Academy voters may be impressed by the movie’s technical wizardry and visual dazzle, if they managed to stay awake for the two-and-three-quarter hour running time, and they may decide to be patriotic and reward an American film, but I reckon Danny Boyle’s plucky underdog is a winner all the way.

Will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should win: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director

Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Stephen Daldry (The Reader)
David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon)
Gus Van Sant (Milk)

Ron Howard did sterling work turning Peter Morgan’s acclaimed Frost/Nixon stage play into a compelling film, Gus Van Sant has his cheerleaders, and David Fincher has won kudos in some quarters, but you can expect this category to go the way of the Golden Globes and Baftas – another triumph for Danny Boyle and Slumdog Millionaire.

Will win: Danny Boyle
Should win: Danny Boyle

Best Actor

Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Best Actor looks to be a neck and neck race between Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn, with their nearest rival, Frank Langella, trailing some way behind. Rourke’s comeback-against-the-odds story should appeal to Oscar voters, and he has Bafta and Golden Globe form, but The Wrestler’s trailer-trash setting and grisly violence may put off some of the more squeamish Academy members. Sean Penn, in the role of a modern-day secular saint in Milk, could spoil Rourke’s show.

Will win: Sean Penn
Should win: Mickey Rourke

Best Actress

Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Again, this appears to be a two-horse race. Having already picked up a Golden Globe and a Bafta, Kate should be a racing cert for this category, but the Oscar voters may feel queasy at the idea of giving the award to someone playing the part of a Nazi – indeed, a campaign has got underway to convince the Academy to spurn The Reader, which some see as ‘Holocaust revisionism’ and an apology for Nazism. The backlash may have arrived too late to damage Kate’s chances, but the Academy has a history of shunning controversial topics (remember what happened to Brokeback Mountain – surprisingly defeated by Crash in 2006). I hope Kate clinches it (if only to see her speech), and it will be a travesty if she doesn’t, but I fear that Streep – for one of the weaker performances of her career – may just edge her out on the night.

Will win: Meryl Streep
Should win: Kate Winslet

Best Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin (Milk)
Robert Downey Jr (Tropic Thunder)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

Josh Brolin is impressive as Milk’s troubled assassin, Robert Downey Jr is a hoot in Tropic Thunder, Philip Seymour Hoffman is on good form in Doubt (but he’s in the wrong category; he should be a Best Actor contender), and Michael Shannon is brilliant in a few scenes in Revolutionary Road. None of them, though, need bother writing an acceptance speech; this Oscar already has Heath Ledger’s name on it.

Will win: Heath Ledger
Should win: Heath Ledger

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams (Doubt)
Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Taraji P Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)

Viola Davis blew Meryl Streep off the screen in her couple of scenes in Doubt, but she can’t compete with the whirlwind that is Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Will win: Penélope Cruz
Should win: Penélope Cruz