Yes, if you REALLY want to win your Oscar pool, we suggest you pick “No Country For Old Men.” It’s better to be safe than sorry. However, as the hours tick away to the start of the big show, we are sensing at least the possibility of a monumental upset.

Here’s the theory behind it all. “No Country” was a film that voters by and large respected, but they did not love it. It also was extremely violent, which may turn it off to female voters. Because people recognize it is a solid film, they will give it something. That something is the Best Director’s prize to Joel and Ethan Coen. But now where do their votes for Best Picture go?

If they vote completely for their hearts, it would be “Juno.” But there is still this stigma out there that a comedy doesn’t deserve to win Best Picture. Voters don’t want their vote to be wasted, so they’ll look elsewhere. Older voters especially won’t embrace “Juno,” as it speaks more to our current generation. Again, we ask the question. Where do the votes go? We have a simple two word answer for you. George Clooney.

That’s right. The basis for this theory is premised on the man, not the movie. Clooney is so wildly popular right now. He’s even on the cover of Time magazine as “The Last Movie Star.” Guys like him and girls like him. He’s just so naturally cool and his pursuit of justice in Darfur and other worthy causes just make him more endearing. Think about it. Are women really going to vote for ‘No Country” or “There Will Be Blood?” They may well flock to George Clooney.

For this theory to materialize though, there has to be enough thinning of support for the other films. And that’s why we’re just not comfortable making this an official prediction. “Atonement” probably doesn’t get much support, but a lot of people LOVE “Blood” and think it’s a masterpiece. Many will also go with their feelings and support “Juno.” The end result of this is a split of the anti “No Country” vote which kills “Clayton’s” chances. In our minds, the single biggest factor is whether the love for “Juno” translates into actual votes. If it does, then “No Country” takes it. If not, then keep your eyes open for a true shocker when the final envelope is opened tonight.