This ought to be chapter three in a series of prediction entries no longer than the amount of time it takes the orchestra to cut off the acceptance speeches of the winners in the short film categories. If you don't think Colin Firth is taking this one with, if anything, even more ease than Jeff Bridges coasted to his win last year, then you may as well put your money down on Hailee Steinfeld winning this category in a shock upset. Because she has as good a shot as at least two of the nominees that actually have a penis and roles nearly as central as hers. Not that being attached to a penis matters quite so much as being attached to a Best Picture nominee, especially one that recently all but swept the BAFTAs. A number of pundits have already pointed out, in comparing Firth's easy win here against Annette Bening's increasingly uphill battle to reach endgame over in Best Actress, how AMPAS continues to think that men age like fine wine and that women spoil faster than leaky, raw chicken breast tenders in a Styrofoam tray. Firth's emerging worry lines and crow's feet are as much to account for his easy win as his affected stammer as the emotionally crippled King Bertie, and the presence of a couple of actors whose youth and charisma make Oscar feel all funny in his special area only underline Firth's win. (For that matter, you might say Firth's Oscar chances last year weren't so much dashed by Bridges's battles with the bottle as they were by Tom Ford's taste in men, culled from the very same smoldering age bracket Oscar simply can't stomach.) Jesse Eisenberg managed to ride the coattails of what was once considered an Oscar juggernaut, and James Franco's extracurricular bid to snatch the title once held by James Brown. But Ryan Gosling and Andrew Garfield learned the hard way that the Academy is truly No Country for Young Twinks, just as Firth will now have to come to terms with the notion that his time as the thinking woman's sex symbol may not extend much longer beyond the time it takes to say, "I'd like to thank the Academy."
Will Win: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Could Win: Miss LaHonda Watkins, The Miss Black Person USA Beauty Pageant
Should Win: Jeff Bridges, True Grit