Picks and Pans Review: Get Those Speeches Ready...

UPDATED 03/01/2004 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/01/2004 at 01:00 AM EST

Best Director Peter Jackson will win, and richly deserves to take home the Oscar, for The Lord of the Rings. Think of this as a cumulative prize, a retroactive honor for his work on the two previous Rings as well as King.

Best Animated Film If there's a no-brainer this year, it's that the irresistible fish tale Finding Nemo will hook the animation crown. The only injustice here is that Ellen DeGeneres wasn't nominated for Best Actress.

Best Original Screenplay My vote goes to Lost in Translation, but I wouldn't lose any sleep if In America won this one. Loved 'em both.

Best Adapted Screenplay Bet on Mystic River winning, which is dandy, though I'm pulling for the more groundbreaking American Splendor.

Best Song Oscar songs are often downright lame, so my pick is the knowingly sappy "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow," from A Mighty Wind.

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