staff offers its picks for the winners:
Male Actor in a Leading Role: Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
Heath Ledger is expected to ride off into the sunset with numerous accolades for his performance in Brokeback Mountain, but he has stiff competition. Ledger may be able to create tension from a forbidden love, but could he convince the audience that he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die? Phoenix evokes the spirit of late country star Johnny Cash in a performance that juggles both impersonation and soul.
Female Actor in a Leading Role: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
And a man is only as good as the woman beside him, right? The marriage between Cash and June Carter, unlike most of the nuptials reported on today, spanned decades and was based in love. Witherspoon proves that, alongside churning out romantic comedies, she can perform just as well as a dramatic actress.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Good Night, and Good Luck
Should this award go to Crash, not only would it be deserved, but filmgoers everywhere could be treated to ads touting "award-winning actor Ludacris." Good Night, and Good Luck, however, has an equally impressive cast, anchored by the understated work of David Strathairn. With support from legitimate leading men like George Clooney (who also directed) and Robert Downey, Jr., and a topic near and dear to The Beacon's heart, luck should not be a factor for a Good Night for Clooney and company.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: Kiefer Sutherland, "24"
Over the course of television, many people have saved the world. But how many can do it in one day? The gruff-voiced Sutherland, paired with thrilling plot lines, has been a consistent reason to tune into "24" (which you can read more about above).
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Geena Davis, "Commander in Chief"
Geena Davis' portrayal of President Mackenzie Allen in ABC's "Commander in Chief" is captivating and sassy. Davis plays the nation's first female president as a strong leader, not just a powerful woman. Her dramatic flair, countered by Donald Sutherland's surly portrayal of the Speaker of the House, keeps the show within the realm of plausibility. In 2008, citizens may be voting for Mac instead of McCain.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Most people who achieve a certain level of fame do so through their likeability; however, Larry David first made his career out of nothing (by co-creating "Seinfeld"), then parlayed this into a persona of anxiety and tics. David, along with the rest of the cast, largely improvises his witty dialogue and can use a mere gesture or expression to make an uncomfortable situation simultaneously unbearable and hilarious to watch.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives"
Huffman, as the willful Lynette Scavo on ABC heavyweight "Desperate Housewives," carries the show with her convincing delivery and comic timing. Scavo, who last season dealt with leaving her position as an executive to wrangle four terribly behaved children and became addicted to prescription pills, found herself back in the workplace battling bosses and devising ways to cure the poor homemaker skills and battered ego of now stay-at-home husband Tom (Doug Savant). On a show with an abundance of death and convoluted conspiracies, Huffman's tour as a working mom trying to hold it together gives the show a touch of believability and realism that has endeared her to viewers everywhere.
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: "Lost"
It has become clich