The voters don't exactly think the film was perfect, or even as good as the Hurt Locker, but I think they'll vote for what this film stands for. This was the type of film the "new" oscars was made for.
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
This is the one major category where an upset is possible. Jeremy Renner or George Clooney could slip by. But that said, it's only a tiny, tiny chance. Bridges has this 85% locked up, as opposed to the other categories where Bullock has it 90%, Monique 95% and Waltz 99%.
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
There's usually an upset in one of the supporting categories. That said, these are the two locks of the evening. The only minuscule chance is Christopher Plummer. Had it been a movie more people would have seen I would have given him a bigger chance.
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Bigelow deserves it, even getting the film made, directing a technically perfect film with great performances. I get the feeling the Academy feels its time for a woman to win, and Bigelow is more than deserving. Also, Cameron is notoriously difficult to work for/with, and while the execs like his revenue, they make up a smaller part of the voting block. His speech last time didn't help either. Plus, this will be a big consolation prize to the film that should have won.
Best Original Screenplay
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
He's really respected as a writer in Hwood and this is the consolation prize category, and a category that likes dialogue more than anything else (see Juno) and nobody writes dialogue like QT.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Should go to Hornby or In the Loop, and Precious could surprise, but once again this was a film lots of people seemed to like and they'd want to give it something. Also, films with VO's tend to do well here.
Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron, Avatar
The most tied to the winner of Best Picture of all the categories. The Hurt Locker's editing was more noticeably great, but Avatar's whole visual extravaganza will probably be enough.
Mauro Fiore, Avatar
I think this will come down to the fact that this film was so overwhelmingly visual they won't know where one discipline ends and another begins.
Best Art Direction
Best Sound Mixing
The Hurt Locker
Best Sound Editing
Best Costume Design
Catherine Leterrier,Coco Avant Chanel
Best Original Score
Michael Giacchino, Up
Best Foreign Language Film
The White Ribbon, Germany
You never know what to expect in this category; it has a history of unpleasant surprises and forgettable films. Seriously, look over the list, its a head-scratcher, and a great deal of these films aren't even on DVD if you wanted to double check (conspiracy?). Germany has one of the worst nomination to win ratio's, while France is always a favorite. The wild card here is The Milk of Sorrow. I want to say that Haneke's relative star power will put him over the top, but Oscar loves gangster films and prison films and A Prophet was both of those.
Best Documentary Feature
The category that the Academy never gets right, in fact the best doc never even gets nominated, which seems to be a prize in itself (congrats, Anvil). That said, this is a viewer friendly doc, social, and more hopeful than scary. The Most Dangerous man in America could surprise here.
Best Animated Feature
Best Visual Effects
The Weary Kind – T Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham, Crazy Heart
I'm breaking two of my rules here: Rule 2: never go against Disney, and rule 44: never go against Randy Newman. That said, T. Bone is a very prolific and respected producer, and its the kind of song the Academy likes. That and Princess/Frog has two songs, which can split the vote.
Best Animated Short
A Matter of Loaf and Death
Rule No. 14: Never go against Aardman.
Best Documentary Short
China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province