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Picking Golden Globe winners still pretty tricky

With Seth Rogen, Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymore, Sacha Baron Cohen and others onboard as presenters, Sunday's Golden Globe awards ceremony is clearly hoping not to be a repeat of last year's disastrous telecast.

That show amounted to little more than a press conference as actors stayed away in a show of solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, which was on strike. With no script and no stars, the bare-bones broadcast drew its lowest ratings in years.

But on Sunday, viewers can get back to the business of ogling celebrities, marveling at the Globes' typically leftfield picks and wondering just how accurately this show predicts winners of the upcoming Oscars. (The Globes also hand out awards for television programming.) Last year, the Globes gave "No Country for Old Men" only two awards, for supporting actor ( Javier Bardem) and screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen), but the film went on to grab four Oscars, including best picture.

Since the fun of any awards show is handicapping the outcome, here are our picks in the major categories

(for the complete list, go to Newsday.com/movies).

DRAMA

NOMINEES "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," " Frost/Nixon," "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road,"

"Slumdog Millionaire"

SHOULD WIN "Slumdog Millionaire." Danny Boyle's violent but uplifting tale of a Mumbai orphan is terrifically entertaining.

WILL WIN "Slumdog Millionaire." The themes of poverty and the far-flung setting may resonate with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the awards.

ACTRESS/DRAMA

NOMINEES Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"; Angelina Jolie, "The Changeling"; Meryl Streep, "Doubt"; Kristin Scott Thomas, "I've Loved You So Long"; Kate Winslet, "Revolutionary Road"

SHOULD WIN Scott Thomas, for her portrayal of a woman prematurely aged by prison.

WILL WIN Hathaway, whose breakout dramatic role in a more widely seen film has drawn critical praise.

ACTOR/DRAMA

NOMINEES Leonardo

DiCaprio, "Revolutionary Road"; Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"; Sean Penn, "Milk"; Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"

SHOULD WIN Penn, who virtually reincarnates the openly gay politician Harvey Milk.

WILL WIN Rourke, whose gutsy comeback role as a broken-down wrestler makes a better back story.

COMEDY/MUSICAL

NOMINEES "Burn After

Reading"; "Happy-Go-Lucky"; "In Bruges"; "Mamma Mia!"; "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"

SHOULD WIN " Vicky Cristina Barcelona," Woody Allen's breezily funny but deceptively deep film about love, fate and character.

WILL WIN "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

ACTRESS/COMEDY OR MUSICAL

NOMINEES Rebecca Hall, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"; Sally Hawkins, "Happy-Go-Lucky"; Frances McDormand, "Burn After Reading"; Meryl Streep, "Mamma Mia!"; Emma Thompson, "Last Chance Harvey"

SHOULD WIN Hawkins. As an unsinkably optimistic schoolteacher named Poppy, she manages to be endearing and irritating at once.

WILL WIN Hawkins.

ACTOR/COMEDY

OR MUSICAL

NOMINEES Javier Bardem, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"; Colin Farrell, "In Bruges"; James Franco, "Pineapple Express"; Brendan Gleeson, "In Bruges"; Dustin Hoffman, "Last Chance Harvey"

SHOULD WIN Bardem, who plays a cliched Latin lover with surprising depth, complexity and humor.

WILL WIN Bardem

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

NOMINEES Amy Adams, "Doubt"; Penélope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"; Viola Davis, "Doubt"; Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"; Kate Winslet, "The Reader"

SHOULD WIN Tomei, for her brave and vulnerable portrayal of a stripper approaching the end of her earning years.

WILL WIN Cruz. Tomei's performance has gone largely unnoticed, but Cruz drew raves for her role as a hilariously volatile artiste.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

NOMINEES Tom Cruise, "Tropic Thunder"; Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"; Ralph Fiennes, "The Duchess"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"; Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"

SHOULD WIN Ledger. His Joker is the most memorable and mesmerizing screen villain in years.

WILL WIN Ledger.

ANIMATED FILM

NOMINEES " Bolt," " Kung Fu Panda," "Wall-E"

SHOULD WIN "Wall-E." This emotionally engaging story of robots in love is the year's best film, animated or otherwise.

WILL WIN No contest - it's "Wall-E."

WHAT 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards

WHEN|WHERE Sunday at 8 p.m. on NBC/4. Red carpet coverage 6-8 p.m. on E! and 7-8 p.m. on NBC/4. Post-event coverage on E! 11p.m.- 12:30 a.m.

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