EW Staff
February 18, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Who’ll win the Best Picture Oscar in 2005?

Could this be the year when all the pre-Oscar prizes end up signaling nothing? First, Sideways and The Aviator took home Best Picture honors at the Golden Globes, followed by The Aviator‘s win at the Producers Guild Awards and Sideways‘ best-ensemble victory at the SAG Awards. So why do we think the Oscars’ big winner is likely to be Million Dollar Baby? One word: momentum. With the latest wide-release date of the nominees, it’s the movie most voters are discovering right now. And they’re not just discovering it — they’re loving it. Though its final plot development has stirred controversy among some activist groups, the backlash may only strengthen Academy support. Thanks to Sideways‘ impeccable performances and The Aviator‘s technical mastery, both should see substantial vote totals (Finding Neverland and Ray, meanwhile, will bring up the rear), but the years have proved that when it comes to deciding between two or three Best Picture nominees, Academy members vote with their hearts, not their minds.

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