I enjoy the critics awards far more than the more high profile awards myself so I'll venture some thoughts on what's coming our way while my room remains dry (if I'm dreading the next rain...it seems as though my foundation is cracked).
Picture and Director
I'd say "The Queen", "United 93", "The Departed", and "Babel" would be the major players though I somewhat suspect we'll be seeing a good deal of love for "Volver" at the NYFCC. Unless someone comes and surprises, I'd say Greengrass, Scorsese and Iñárritu are where most of the love will end up on the directing side of things.
A very interesting race indeed. The obvious choices are Gosling and Whitaker, though neither strike me as sweepers or close to them. Richard Griffiths? Jack if he's sent lead? O'Toole (one never knows)? Who else might show up?
I suspect Mirren will win virtually everything.
Here's an interesting lot. Jack's categorization will likely end up very influential on how things go. Michael Caine has never been a critics' awards favourite but his unique double bill could be an interesting factor in this race. Apart from him, the "Little Miss Sunshine" men aren't out of the realm of possibility but neither jump out as likelies. Ditto Michael Sheen. I could see Jackie Earle Haley popping up here but certainly not dominating. And even though the film isn't the sort that normally takes critics' awards, Eddie Murphy could make it here if his turn is as big as it could be.
This is wide open. Adriana Barazza and Rinko Kicuchi do seem like they might be the sort that show up. And speaking of "Babel", multiple films could certainly help Cate Blanchett. Carmen Maura and Frances de la Tour are also the sort of scene-stealing Europeans that American critics might eat up.
"Babel" seems the obvious frontrunner here if I'm not convinced at all that it'll sweep. "The Queen" and "Volver" are the obvious alternates with "Little Miss Sunshine" being a darkhorse.
Rodrigo Prieto, Emmanuel Lubezki, Michael Ballhaus and "Peter Andrews" seem frontrunners. I could also see the NSFC going for Tom Stern (they love them some Clint).
Who have I overlooked?