The Ceremony: February 27th, 2011
Red Carpet: 7:00pm
Awards: 8:00pm
ABC

While it’s ultimately just a small group (<6k) of Hollywood self-congratulatory voters, The Academy is still regarded as the most prestigious of the film-related organizations, and the awards they bestow the most honorable. While the studios are hungry for the ticket and home video sales bumps that an award can bring, and the actors and technicians are looking for the gold that brings more exposure, it’s an undeniable fact that we fans of the movies subconsciously look for the validation of our taste and enjoyment. Some may have more of a healthy dissociation from the OSCARS and don’t find themselves upset over snubs or dumb choices, but you’re a goddamn liar if you say you don’t peek at the nominees with some hope, or cross your fingers just a little bit when they start opening the envelope for a category you have a favorite for.

Really, the best way to enjoy them is to take the whole thing as a giant celebration of film itself and, the idea at least, of striving for quality and sophistication rather than easy, thoughtless bullshit. So throw a party, toss a couple bucks in your buddy’s OSCAR pool, or check the results the next day- whatever works for you. We at CHUD try and make the best of it (since they fall the day before my birthday, I’m definitely making a shindig of it), and this year I’ve compiled a bit of a guide to make sure those celebrating in the sewer are in on the latest news and speculations about the OSCARS. So below you’ll find a few interesting updates about the awards themselves, which are followed by CHUD’s master list of OSCAR predictions. Take a look…

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Raise Your Voice In The Sewer On OSCAR Night (& Win Great Shit!)…

First, be aware that we’re a running a contest on the message boards for the most accurate predictions from readers. Just post up your list here sometime before the ceremony begins and you’re in the running.

Second, We hope you’ll join us here at CHUD.com on OSCAR night, following along in the message board thread and keeping an eye on the front page, but Twitter is bound to light up on the night, so we’ll be employing a special hashtag to keep track of what the sewer is saying.

#CHUDoscars

The CHUD staff will be tweeting with it, and we hope you will too. Let us know your thoughts on the outfits, the awards, the commercials, the show itself, whatever… We want to make sure chewers are plugged in with each other. You can follow the lot of us here…

@nicknunziata
@RennBrown
@Houx
@ElisabethRappe
@AlexRiviello

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Catch up on your OSCAR news…

• The King’s Swallow •

Turns out that The King’s Speech was filmed in the same joint as a gay porno! This is an utterly amazing coincidence of a London location being used (over a year apart) for both movies, one which features significantly more anal penetration. The porno in questions, Snookered, has a billiard theme, and you can check out the NSFW comparisons here. Props to Movieline for following up and confirming.

This isn’t completely baffling, as the location is obviously very textured and large, which is good for a film production. Amy Winehouse even shot the video for her hit “Rehab” in the same location. Don’t expect this to be The King’s Speech’s pornogate though, as the news came out well after voting was close (not that it would have likely mattered in the slightest). It definitely sends a warning to production designers that they may need to check the pornographic backgrounds of their locations just as thoroughly as their star’s.

I bet the porno company is bummed they didn’t have some insider Hollywood info, or they could have filmed The King’s Speech XXX-parody well ahead of the real movie, and had a nicely timed porn release with “authentic locations!”

• The Changing Face and Format of the OSCARS •

Expect a very different feeling and looking ceremony this year, as the Academy has made some big steps towards condensing the production, along with aiming it more towards a younger crowd. There are a number of changes that THR got details about, with the major ones being…

• The Hosts –  Obviously Hathaway and Franco are younger-skewing faces, and they’re also the first man/woman duo to take the job. Their more energetic approach to hosting will hopefully keep the pace brisk and the viewers interested.

• The Set Will Be Projected – That’s right, no traditional sets, just shifting and changing projections. Hopefully this will be an interesting approach (artists have been doing cool exhibits with this idea for ages), and not just a big dumb gimmick. The set is supposed to change 6 or 7 times, so don’t expect an evening directed by Gaspar Noe or anything.

• Montages & Acting Presenters - Fucked off. No more movie montages and the recently introduced tradition of having each acting nominee introduced by a previously nominated actor is also gone. This was a pacing decision, and they hope the return of the song performances will help maintain some sense of tradition. They also claim they nabbed a particularly effective presentation technique from 70s broadcasts. Dunno about that one, but I’ve got YouTube for any massive montages I want to watch, and anything to trim the fat off of the behemoth.

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Remember these?

If you want to look back on Nick’s initial reactions to the Oscar Nominations, you can do so here.

If you’re still stuck on the difference between those two pesky Sound awards, check out my interview with on Oscar-winning Sound Editor right here.

Don’t forget that Damon recently interviewed cinematography nominee (and likely winner) Roger Deakins, and had an excellent dialogue with him.

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The 2011 CHUD Master Awards Guide

What you’ll find below is an award-by-award rundown of what the individual members of the CHUD staff believe will win, what the consensus among the critics/pundits/guilds/etc is, and ultimately what the CHUD Verdict is for the film most likely to win. Our verdicts don’t necessarily fall on the side of the films we most want to win, but they do align with what we agree overall to be the likeliest victor. Included is an explanation of how each conclusion was reached, and ultimately I’m responsible for those thoughts, but hopefully they’re fairly accurate and representative of our overall view. In most cases the final verdict was clear, or easy to decipher, but in a few coin-flip type cases I had to make an executive decision (so make sure it’s ME you’re ultimately calling an idiot Monday morning). All in all though, we’re pretty sure if you use our guide to help you make your choices, you’re gonna be ahead of the pack on your personal predictions ballot.

Looking over the list, it’s clear that The King’s Speech will dominate. It’s definitely going to pick up several of the major awards, could do something of a sweep, and there’s an off-chance it could do a full-blown powerhouse shut-out, winning all in it’s path. While the view is certain to be a bit more complex than that, the overall list of winners will be pretty skinny. It will be a shame to see cool nominations like Winter’s Bone, John Hawkes, and Hailee Steinfeld get passed over, but the nominations still represent a pretty strong batch of film distilled from a pretty crappy year.

Note: “Industry Consensus” was determined by canvassing sites like Awards Daily and InContention, and they represent a fairly quantifiable and wide-ranging view of what is being most often predicted to win in each category.

Remember, you can discuss the OSCARS in our main message board thread right here. Each individual award also has its own thread (with a pole for voting), linked next to the category title.

The shortlist version is below.


Best Picture (vote)

Industry Consensus: The King’s Speech

Nick: The Social Network
Renn: The King’s Speech
Damon: The King’s Speech
Josh: The King’s Speech
Elizabeth: The King’s Speech
David: The Social Network

CHUD VERDICT: Deal with it, the royal family’s taking home the gold this year. The chances of a divided vote are remarkably tiny, the critics were just not in sync with the voters this year. Chalk this up to the emotional, feel-good element combining with the legitimately sophisticated filmmaking to equal a film that just appeals to everyone. Whereas The Social Network is either very high or very low on most people’s ranking, The King’s Speech is likely very high (if not number 1) on virtually every voter’s list. Maybe it won’t be the film we remember in a decade, but none of the nominees are guaranteed long lives in the scheme of things. It’s not the way I would have gone, but it’s not the dumbest choice the Academy has ever made. The backlash will be something though. The King’s Speech

Actor (vote)

Industry Consensus: Colin Firth

Nick: Colin Firth
Renn: Colin Firth
Damon: Colin Firth
Josh: Colin Firth
Elizabeth: Colin Firth
David: Colin Firth

CHUD VERDICT: It’s his in the way it was Jeff Bridge’s last year, and Whitaker’s in 2006. It’s his second year in a row nominated for a remarkable performance, and even removed from being a part of The King’s Sweep, the Academy is not going to ignore him twice. Colin Firth

 

Best Actress (vote)

Industry Consensus: Natalie Portman

Nick: Natalie Portman
Renn: Natalie Portman
Damon: Natalie Portman
Josh: Natalie Portman
Elizabeth: Natalie Portman
David: Natalie Portman

CHUD VERDICT:
She’s had it since the buzz first started, and the backlash never came. Any Norbit-style loss of points for No Strings Attached got wrapped up in the feel-good story of her pregnancy, and the continuing box office success of Black Swan. She’s walking out of the Kodak with a second little man to join the one currently stationed within her. Natalie Portman

Supporting Actor (vote)

Industry Consensus: Christian Bale

Nick: Christian Bale
Renn: Christian Bale
Damon: Christian Bale
Josh: Christian Bale
Elizabeth: Christian Bale
David: Christian Bale

CHUD VERDICT: There is always the chance this could be the first of The King’s Speech mega-sweep upsets with statue for Rush, but all signs point to Bale finally nabbing that Oscar gold. He found the perfect part that let him do a dramatic physical shift, be a tragic figure, but still smile occasionally and crack a joke. Christian Bale

 

Supporting Actress (vote)

Industry Consensus: Melissa Leo

Nick: Melissa Leo
Renn: Melissa Leo
Damon: Melissa Leo
Josh: Melissa Leo
Elizabeth: Hailee Steinfeld
David: Melissa Leo

CHUD VERDICT: Yet another that could knock everyone on their ass with a King’s Speech sweep upset, or even some goodwill for True Grit busting through, but consensus is still extremely strong that Leo’s win is a done deal. Perhaps a bit shakier than some of the other major awards, but the bet is safe. Melissa Leo

 

Directing (vote)

Industry Consensus: Tom Hooper

Nick: The Social Network
Renn: The King’s Speech
Damon: The King’s Speech
Josh: The Social Network
Elizabeth: The Social Network
David: The Social Network

CHUD VERDICT: This one hurt to mark down for anyone besides Fincher, believe me. That said, this is really where it comes down to whether or not TKS sweeps or just picks up most of the big stuff. A director award will come with a sweep for sure, but if it’s more selective wins, then David Fincher might bust through a split consensus and take the award. The thing is… while Fincher may deserve it, he doesn’t care (as evidenced by the W interview discussed here). That counts, and with the monumental push from the Weinsteins, there is definitely still an edge, and it’s in the crown’s favor. This means the conservative money is on TKS, but The Social Network has the strongest chance of breaking through into the big awards right here, as Fincher has serious history. So against the grain we go… The Social Network

Original Screenplay (vote)

Industry Consensus: The King’s Speech

Nick: The King’s Speech
Renn: The King’s Speech
Damon: The King’s Speech
Josh: The King’s Speech
Elizabeth: The Fighter
David: Inception

CHUD VERDICT:
This is where you start seeing opinions divide a little more, as the various guilds and critics groups and prognosticators differ. Like many things, there are a lot of elements at play that could split the vote and let something more popular (and amazing) like Inception slip in, but it will all come abruptly crashing down if TKS becomes the awards snowballing boulder that’s it’s expected to. This is where the awards could start getting boring. I know chewer finger’s will be crossed for Inception, but the safe money… The King’s Speech

Adapted Screenplay (vote)

Industry Consensus: The Social Network

Nick: The Social Network
Renn: The Social Network
Damon: The Social Network
Josh: The Social Network
Elizabeth: The Social Network
David: The Social Network

CHUD VERDICT: No major prognosticator is betting otherwise, and the film was too much of a critical powerhouse to completely ignore. Sorkin will triumph and “the facebook movie” will seal up at least one Oscar. This will be one to celebrate no matter how the night goes as a whole. The Social Network

 

Editing (vote)

Industry Consensus: The Social Network

Nick: 127 Hours
Renn: The Social Network
Damon: The King’s Speech
Josh: The Social Network
Elizabeth: Black Swan
David: Black Swan

CHUD VERDICT: Something very stupid would have to happen for The Social Network to lose this award I feel, but unlike Adapted Screenplay, the royal elephant in the room is nominated and could absentmindedly sweep it up. The right film will most likely win though, and it’s another one to feel good about because the picture editing in The Social Network is a genuinely massive contributor to what makes the film so special, masterful, and entertaining. Either Black Swan or 127 Hours would be great choice as well. Despite the former’s strong nomination showing though, it’s just not the year for that to happen. The Social Network

Cinematography (vote)

Industry Consensus: True Grit

Nick: True Grit
Renn: True Grit
Damon: Inception
Josh: True Grit
Elizabeth: True
David: Inception

CHUD VERDICT: This is a tough one to call, as there is a lot of goodwill for Pfister and an opportunity to give Inception a notable award- and the first of the tech awards its likely to pick up like candy. That said, Black Swan caught a lot of attention to, so if it doesn’t end up in the obvious hands, then Inception isn’t the only possible upset. Deakins has been making the rounds though, there is a sense that he’s owed, and it is an exceptionally gorgeous western that everyone loves for which Deakins would be winning. All the pieces are in place for the master D.P. to finally get his due. True Grit

Animated Feature (vote)

Industry Consensus: Toy Story 3

Nick: Toy Story 3
Renn: Toy Story 3
Damon: Toy Story 3
Josh: Toy Story 3
Elizabeth: Toy Story 3
David: Toy Story 3

CHUD VERDICT: Had Pixar’s trilogy-capper had any chance at all of Best Picture then perhaps a split vote could have killed it in the dedicated animation category, but this was a year where genuine campaigning for best picture on their part also trickled down to votes in the Animated category. How To Train Your Dragon has a lot of warm fuzzies behind it for being heartfelt and an unexpectedly excellent Dreamworks picture, but Pixar will nab it again, no doubt. Toy Story 3

Art Direction (vote)

Industry Consensus: The King’s Speech

Nick: Inception
Renn: The King’s Speech
Damon: Inception
Josh: Alice In Wonderland
Elizabeth: True Grit
David: Alice In Wonderland

CHUD VERDICT:
Divided category between King’s Speech, Alice, and Inception, so it’s another one that goes with the sweep for a conservative gambler, and is a coin toss otherwise. Inception showed very strongly in the guild awards on this end of the spectrum, so the balance may tip in its favor. That said, a Tim Burton film has never ever lost Art Direction, and with most pundits predicting with the sweep in mind, this will probably default to the default under the normal scenario. This is one of the few where the decision isn’t really made for me, so the fallout is on my head I guess. Alice In Wonderland

Costume Design (vote)

Industry Consensus: The King’s Speech

Nick: Alice in Wonderland
Renn: The King’s Speech
Damon: The King’s Speech
Josh: Alice In Wonderland
Elizabeth: Alice In Wonderland
David: —

CHUD VERDICT: This is more evenly split than many of the other tech awards, with The King’s Speech and Alice being the serious contenders. Jenny Beavan (TKS) and Colleen Atwood (AIW) both have a huge history of nominations at the Oscars and they’re only separated by a single win, as Atwood has two to Beavan’s one. Count on the The King’s Speech winning the day here, as even without the sweep, the Academy LOVES period costumes, and tend to favor the royalty when possible. Let’s bust out the last four winners, shall we? The Young Victoria, The Duchess, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Marie Antoinette. Sure they may want to break their streak (even if fantasy almost never wins), but then the sweep factor tips it back in favor of the crown. This is one of those little toss up detail awards that throw off some otherwise perfect prediction lists at an Oscar party, so going with the grain is a good bet. The King’s Speech

Documentary (vote)

Industry Consensus: Inside Job

Nick: Exit Through The Gift Shop
Renn: Inside Job
Damon: Restrepo
Josh: Inside Job
Elizabeth: Exit Through The Gift Shop
David: Exit Through The Gift Shop

CHUD VERDICT: This a strong field this year, and really any film could win. War or politics are likely to rule the day, though the former is a bit scary and doesn’t often swing well. Inside Job has a strong consensus behind it though, while Banksy likely goes right over a lot of the academy’s head. The pictures of his billboards and such are fun and great blog material, but hearts and minds may not have been won. It’s likely the topical and respectable subject of the economic crisis that will probably rule the day, but this is a split decision so the error will be on me.  Inside Job

Doc Short

Industry Consensus: Strangers No More

Nick: Killing In The Name
Renn: Poster Girl
Damon: The Warriors of Quigang
Josh: —
Elizabeth: —
David: —

CHUD VERDICT: This is the category where even hardcore film geeks start glazing over or blindly stabbing at a check-box. The entire slate is filled with issue films of very serious natures, and really, it’s any short’s award. The voters aren’t likely to be that much more informed than you or me, frankly. The consensus is very thinly tilted towards Strangers No More, with the CHUD opinions very scattered or abstained from in the first place. Since I’m writing the damn thing, I’m going to edge in favor of what some very trusted short film critics have chosen, and what has the name most likely to appeal to blind voters. Poster Girl

Foreign Film (vote)

Industry Consensus: In A Better World

Nick: Dogtooth
Renn: —
Damon: In A Better World
Josh: In A Better World
Elizabeth: Biutiful
David: Biutiful

CHUD VERDICT: Biutiful is likely the most well-seen, but those who saw it don’t tend to like it, Javier Bardem notwithstanding. In A Better World is regarded highly, has the Globe, and has the consensus from the pundits who matter. This is kind of a fucked category as politics and conspiracy theories abound especially heavily for this part of the academy. In A Better World

Makeup (vote)

Industry Consensus: The Wolfman

Nick: Barney’s Version
Renn: The Wolfman
Damon: The Wolfman
Josh: The Wolfman
Elizabeth: The Wolfman
David: The Wolfman

CHUD VERDICT: Sorry Barney’s Version, you aged Paul Giamatti old, young, and in between very well, but the monsters will win the day. Besides, the Academy knows you don’t piss off Rick Baker. Buy me a drink sometime and I’ll tell you how I know from personal experience too! This might be the most locked category of the tech awards, oddly enough. The Wolfman

Score (vote)

Industry Consensus: The King’s Speech

Nick: The Social Network
Renn: The King’s Speech
Damon: The King’s Speech
Josh: The Social Network
Elizabeth: The Social Network
David: —

CHUD VERDICT: Another category where the sweep rears its ugly head, backed by Alexandre Desplat’s previous nominations with no wins (means it’s about time for him). It truly hurt me to list my own prediction as anything other than The Social Network, and that’s definitely the film that will pick it up if TKS falters, but I don’t think the Academy feels enough collective need to be sonically progressive to go with Reznor and Ross. Maybe next year? I hope I’m wrong. The King’s Speech

Original Song (vote)

Industry Consensus: “We Belong Together” Toy Story 3

Nick: Toy Story 3
Renn: Toy Story 3
Damon: Toy Story 3
Josh: 127 Hours
Elizabeth: Toy Story 3
David: —

CHUD VERDICT: One of those categories where really, who the hell knows? The Academy does weird stuff with Song, and even when they stumble on a cool nomination they never pick it for the award. Newman’s “We Belong Together” is always the safe bet, and there’s no categorical reason why it won’t win, considering it’s from the only film of the bunch that’s likely to win another award. Pixar banks it. Toy Story 3

 

Animated Short

Industry Consensus: Day & Night

Nick: Let’s Pollute
Renn: Day & Night
Damon: Day & Night
Josh: Day & Night
Elizabeth: —
David: —

CHUD VERDICT:
I can personally tell you that The Lost Thing should probably be winning this award (seriously, it’s gorgeous and worth seeking out), but Pixar is a shoe-in. Day & Night is a wonderful short, and a demonstration of artistically employed 3D when seen in theaters, so this is no great travesty. Day & Night

 

Live Action Short

Industry Consensus: Na Wewe

Nick: The Crush
Renn: Na Wewe
Damon: The Crush
Josh: —
Elizabeth: —
David: —

CHUD VERDICT:
Complete fucking toss up. With nothing solid to go on, the conservative bet happens. That would be the consensus, since it’s the one voters are most likely to have heard of a few times. Na Wewe

Sound Editing (vote)

Industry Consensus: Inception

Nick: Inception
Renn: Inception
Damon: Inception
Josh: Inception
Elizabeth: Inception
David: —

CHUD VERDICT: One of my favorite categories! It’s most likely that Inception will be picking up Tech awards where TKS doesn’t, and editing is a category where it certainly deserves it. The mix is a different story, but you almost never see different winners in the two sound categories, as the wider academy votes on both of those, as opposed to the technician-decided nominations, which are typically made up of a larger variety of films. Inception has wonderfully constructed effects in huge moments, delicate moments, in scenes of “reality,” and in scenes of unreal dreams. Top to bottom, it’s the most well coated film this year. Inception

Sound Mixing (vote)

Industry Consensus: Inception

Nick: Inception
Renn: The Social Network
Damon: Inception
Josh: Inception
Elizabeth: Inception
David: —

CHUD VERDICT: As I said above, it’s highly unlikely that the mix award will go differently than the editing award, so Inception has it. That’s unfortunate, as The Social Network is surely the most stunning mix of the year (well aside maybe from The American, which was unfairly ignored in favor of more popular picks). Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue, Reznor’s melodic distortion textures, and the delicate real world effects were all brought together in a subtle symphony of sound. Just watch that club conversation between Zuckerberg and Parker again. That said, The King’s Speech is no slouch, and with a plot driven by speech and how we hear it, that might be enough to pick up the award in true-blue sweep. Inception losing is a long shot though. Inception

Visual Effects (vote)

Industry Consensus: Inception

Nick: Inception
Renn: Inception
Damon: Inception
Josh: Inception
Elizabeth: Inception
David: —

CHUD VERDICT: Is there really another contender? Judge it on the CGI, the stunts, the ideas, whatever… there’s no better execution of movie magic than Inception this year, and everyone knows it. This is the most obvious of the Inception tech awards, and probably the most sure thing. The other contenders are too slight (or in the case of Alice in Wonderland, too fucking awful) to stand a chance. Inception

 

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The Shortlist

Best Picture:
The King’s Speech
Best Actor:
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Actress:
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress:
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Director:
David Fincher, The Social Network
Original Screenplay:
David Seldier, The King’s Speech
Adapted Screenplay:
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Editing:
Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter, The Social Network
Cinematography:
Roger Deakins, True Grit
Animated Feature:
Toy Story 3
Art Direction:
Alice In Wonderland
Costume Design:
The King’s Speech
Documentary:
Inside Job
Doc Short:
Poster Girl
Foreign Film:
In A Better World
Make-Up:
The Wolfman
Score:
The King’s Speech
Original Song:
Randy Newman, Toy Story 3
Animated Short:
Day & Night
Live Action Short:
Na Wewe
Sound Editing:
Inception
Sound Mixing:
Inception
Visual Effects:
Inception

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Well that wraps it up (aside from Damon and Elizabeth’s notes on the categories, which you’re welcome to go through below), but again, don’t forget to voice your opinion on the boards, and in the comments below!

Finally, if you enjoyed the guide, then please give it a “like” with the Facebook button, and perhaps even share it on your page, so others can catch on to the magic!

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Damon’s Notes:

When you’re unsure, the best thing to do is check the guild winners. Most of the people who can get to vote on certain categories already did so.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The King’s Speech – This is the safest bet of safest bets.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Natalie Portman (Black Swan) – She tried real hard and she’s pregnant.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) – Actually this is the safest bet. There’s four other people nominated. But Firth has this.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale (The Fighter) – the Guilds say it’s time, and he finally does something that isn’t dour. Win for Batman.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Melissa Leo (The Fighter) – of the actor category, the Leo “controversy” may have turned some people off so Helena Bonham Carter or Halie Steinfield could sneak in, but SAG went Leo, so I go Leo.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Toy Story 3 – Though I think How To Train Your Dragon is the better film, Toy Story 3 is a great triumph for everyone involved, so Oscar away.

Best Documentary Short Subject
The Warriors of Qiugang – this sound the most dramatic. Blind choice is often the best bet with this shit.

Best Short Film (Animated)
Day & Night Teddy Newton – Pixar FTW

Best Short Film (Live Action)

The Crush Michael Creagh – Just random picking here.

Achievement in Art Direction
Inception – Inception swept the tech guild awards, so the only competition here is The King’s Speech

Achievement in Cinematography
Inception (Wally Pfister) – The cinematographers went Pfister, though Deakins has been campaigning, so perhaps he’ll finally get his due. That would be awesome.

Achievement in Costume Design
The King’s Speech (Jenny Beaven) – Since it’s the best picture and actor winner, possible director, it’s got to win at least four.

Achievement in Directing
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) – fincher could upset, but the DGA went Hooper, and that’s a good barometer.

Best Documentary Feature
Restrepo Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films) – Exit Through the Gift Shop is the most famous, but pranksy Banksy may have turned off the serious-minded voters.

Achievement in Makeup
The Wolfman – Never bet against Rick Baker.

Achievement in Film Editing
The King’s Speech (Tariq Anwar) – the Social Network could upset, but as TKS is the front picture likely, I figure Oscar will follow. If TKS loses, it’s possilbe there’s been a Social Network groundswell.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

In a Better World (Denmark) – I love Dogtooth, but it’s too weird, and I don’t think people like Bitiful. So I go Danish because it’s the most likely pretentious.

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat) – Inception could upset, but Desplat isn’t a bad choice, and I think t

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 Music and Lyric by Randy Newman – The least embarassing choice

Achievement in Sound Editing
Inception 

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Inception – This had the run of tech award wins, but we could see a sneak in for either TSN or TKS if there’s a sweepy feeling.

Achievement in Visual Effects
Inception

Adapted Screenplay
The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin) – Network will get a bone

Original Screenplay
The King’s Speech (David Seidler) – I’d like to see an Inception upset, but sweeps are sweepy.

Elisabeth’s Notes:

Personally, I would love to see True Grit sweep all the categories.  It was my favorite of the year, and a film I’ve already returned to multiple times. But I know that’s not going to happen.  I’d also be content with Darren Aronofsky sweeping, as Black Swan was my second favorite of the year, and I feel like this would be retribution for the snubs visited on The Wrestler and The Fountain. But again, I just don’t see this happening.

Best Picture —  My gut says The King’s Speech (a film I thoroughly enjoyed, but one that isn’t particularly daring or innovative), though The Social Network may sweep in and steal it.   I think it comes down between the old voting guard of the Academy, and the new, and I’m not sure there’s enough of the latter to tilt it towards a Facebook movie.

Best Director — David Fincher for The Social Network . The critical split this year may find itself dividing the awards in two.

Best Actor —  Colin Firth is going to walk away with it.   I think it comes down to him and Jeff Bridges, exactly as it did last year, and this time Firth will win.  Anyone else is a dark horse.

Best Actress — Natalie Portman. No question.  She’s got a good story right now, and she’s like a glamorous version of Christian Bale.   She has more name recognition than Jennifer Lawrence, who must be forced into that awkward category of being “happy to be nominated.”

Best Supporting Actor —  Christian Bale. Again, there’s no question. Too much buzz.

Best Supporting Actress — Tough!  I keep hearing whispers that Melissa Leo really burned voters with her self-promotion, but that may also simply be snarky entertainment writers.    I could actually see Hailee Steinfeld winning, as I think the Academy would love another cute Anna Paquin moment, and Steinfeld really proved herself a capable and talented actress.   I think there may be regret she “couldn’t” be nominated for Best Actress (as she should have been) because she didn’t stand a chance of winning against Portman.  It may also be their way of rewarding True Grit.   I’m split on my pick, but I will go out on a crazy limb, and say Steinfeld.

Best Animated Film — Toy Story 3, because the Academy will regret not being able to give it Best Picture.

Best Foreign Film — Biutiful, not because it’s good, but because it will be the way they reward Javier Bardem’s performance which is its only saving grace.

Best Original Screenplay — The Fighter or The King’s Speech. I suspect it will be the former because it’s not going to win The Big Two, and it would be nice to give it something other than Bale’s acting nod.

Best Adapted Screenplay —  The Social Network, to either give it its sole nod, or to match the Best Director Oscar.

Best Art Direction — True Grit with a possible gift to Inception.

Best Costume —  Probably Alice in Wonderland, because Colleen Atwood is a favorite.

Best Original Song  — No idea.  Probably We Belong Together from Toy Story 3.   Since Jonsi’s Sticks and Stones wasn’t nominated, I cry foul on all winners.

Best Original Score — The Academy does like to show it’s hip once and awhile, so I’m going to go ahead and say The Social Network because they will feel so cool selecting someone named Trent Reznor.

Best Documentary —  Exit Through the Gift Shop.   I think they showed their hand by bitching about Banksy’s possible disguise.

Best Film Editing — Black Swan should get this.  I think it might, as a “Here’s one for ya, Aronofsky” type of thing.

Best Makeup —  The Wolfman

Best Sound Editing — Inception, again, as a “All right Nolan, here’s some damn gold.”

Best Sound Mixing — Inception, again.  Nerd award, nerd movie.

Best Visual Effects — Inception, because it’s slick where the others (Iron Man 2, Alice, Harry Potter) are just a little too childish.  I suppose they could throw it to Hereafter though, but they took some pains to ignore that film.

I have no idea on the short categories, so I will step aside on those.   I fully expect to be wrong on all of these, though.