January 23, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

What better palate cleanser for this film-centric awards-show season than…a music-centric awards show? As the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards near, we offer our coulds, shoulds, and would you mind placing this bet for me, Mr. Bookie? picks in a few categories.

Record of the Year
Should Win M.I.A.’s ”Paper Planes” was inescapable last year (bonus points for appearing in Slumdog Millionaire!), but it’s probably too raw for the Academy’s gray-ponytail voters.
Will Win Grammy catnip Coldplay’s ”Viva La Vida” — though don’t be surprised if Leona Lewis’ pop pinnacle ”Bleeding Love” steals it.

Album of the Year
Should Win Ne-Yo’s Year of the Gentleman is lovely but lightweight; to see lyrical genius/bona fide kook Lil Wayne accept for Tha Carter III would be bananas.
Will Win ¡Viva La Coldplay! But don’t count out Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ critically acclaimed Raising Sand — Herbie Hancock won here last year with a set of Joni Mitchell covers.

Song of the Year
Should Win It would be great to see this songwriting award go to Estelle’s ”American Boy,” an irresistible cross-continental booty call featuring Kanye West.
Will Win Jason Mraz’s ”I’m Yours” is technically several years old, and Sara Bareilles’ ”Love Song” is too rom-com-montage ready. That leaves Adele’s excellent ”Chasing Pavements” and (ta-da!) ”Viva La Vida.” Take your pick.

Best New Artist
Should Win Smoky-throated Lauryn Hill soundalike Jazmine Sullivan has the voice; maybe next time she’ll have the sales, too.
Will Win Adele trumps the tween-dreamy Jonas Brothers’ commercial pull, unless voters split for Duffy’s ersatz-Winehouse charms.

Best Rock Album
Should Win The Raconteurs’ muscular, raucous Consolers of the Lonely trumps perfectly adequate sets from Kid Rock, Metallica, et al.
Will Win It starts with ”Cold” and ends with ”play,” friends.

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