And now we’re down to two. Clearly, this will be the hardest elimination to make, but ultimately, it is correct. Let’s revisit the muddled Best Picture landscape.

“The Departed” seems to be gaining traction, as a majority of internet Oscar sites are now favoring it over “Little Miss Sunshine.” The reasoning appears to be this. As we edge closer to the big day, people start to wisen up and become more serious. They begin to think to themselves, “how can a weird picture like Little Miss Sunshine, that has a young girl gyrating to the tune of ‘Super Freak’ actually win the most coveted prize of all?” They could be on to something.

Or maybe not. Remember, most Academy voters turn in their ballots much earlier than the actual deadline, which is February 20th. Plus, it is extremely conceivable that actual voters may regard the task of voting for Best Picture less seriously that we experts do in predicting it.

“Little Miss Sunshine” has still got to be a bona fide contender in every way. It’s the only comedy in the mix, and the only picture that has a really uplifting message. People are passionate about it. And it’s won three guilds. So now the question is, which film will it tango with for the ultimate prize?

Well, let’s approach it this way. If one contender is the “little film that could,” as in the small indie film that could potentially overcome the odds, then the other film’s got to be Goliath. In our film industry, Goliath is better known as the big studio film with A list actors, a sizeable budget, and an impressive box office. Doesn’t sound like “Babel” to me. Of course, it’s “The Departed.”

So the bottom line is that “Babel” is out, as it should be. Roger Ebert was one of the very, very few people to predict “Crash” last year and he’s got his horses behind “Babel” this year. But he’s dead wrong. “Babel” is not going to win and here’s why.

1. Many people HATE it. They think of it as being a fake intellectual picture that promises a profound message but never delivers.

2. That’s exactly what “Babel” is.

3. It doesn’t have the creds. Sure, it won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, but the HFPA often goes their own way. “Sense and Sensibility” was the Best Picture drama winner one year and “The Hours” another. It hasn’t won any of the guilds. “Little Miss Sunshine” won the PGA. “The Departed” took the DGA. What does “Babel” have?” Nothing.

4. The ads have been manipulative and dumb. They’re running full page color ads with closeups of the major characters. The tagline reads, “No film moved you more.” First of all, that’s arrogant. Secondly, it’s not true. Third, it’s almost identical to the ad campaign put on by “Crash” last year. “Babel” is too similar to “Crash.” The Academy won’t go for two of the same types of films in consecutive years. No way.

So there you have it. Stay tuned, because in a few days, we’ll announce the biggest decision of the year, our prediction for Best Picture. Only five more days until the big show. Can you believe it?!The Ilsa Wicked Warden ipod