Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
The why: The top four are a lock, leaving that fifth spot slightly open. I say slightly, because with the run The Hurt Locker has been having, it'd be a crime not to nominate Renner.
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
The why: I can't think of any surprises in this category. None whatsoever.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
The why: Again, a nearly rock solid list. Although, one of the bloggers on Cinematical.com [link: http://www.cinematical.com/2010/01/30/the-moviemans-oscar-nomination-predictions-supporting-actor-ac/] picked Christian McKay, the Orson Welles in Me and Orson Welles, as the fifth slot holder. Hmmm, haven't heard much on this guy, but the BFCA, Chicago Film Critics and BAFTAs all nominated him. Not the SAGs or Golden Globes, though, so I'm confident with my Christopher Plummer choice.
Best Supporting Actress
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
The why: Now that Nine and Penelope Cruz are most likely out of the race, that gives SAG nominee Diane Kruger the upper hand. I'll laugh, though, if Cruz sneaks in anyway. The supporting categories usually throw in a surprise on me.
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Ritter, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
The why: They are nominating 10 Best Pics, but of course we still have to narrow down the directors to just five. Bigelow, Cameron, Taratino and Ritter are all in like flint, leaving, again, the fifth slot. Pete Docter could easily make the cut for Up, as could Lee Daniels for Precious and Lone Scherfig for An Education. But my feeling is they'll go with Eastwood because, well, he's Clint Eastwood: Academy Awards darling.
Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, Up
Scott Neustatder and Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer
Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds
The why: There weren't as many quality original screenplays as they were adapted this year. In fact, the only other screenplay that might take a spot would be Nancy Meyers' It's Complicated. I'm thinking (500) Days of Summer has the edge.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Tom Ford, A Single Man
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Ritter and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
The why: Like I said, there are more great scripts to choose from in this category. Precious, An Education and Up in the Air are shoo-ins, but the other two spots are up for grabs. I also considered Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell's District 9, Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia and heck, even Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's Star Trek (it could happen, you never know). I finally settled on Fantastic Mr. Fox, because it really is very clever, and A Single Man, for its poignancy.
Best Animated Feature
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The why: I've said it before, it was a banner year for animated films, but these five were definitely the best.
The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air
The why: And last, but not least, the all-important and expanded Best Picture list. According to The Envelope blogger Pete Hammond, choosing 10 nominees has been a daunting task for the Academy voters, but how hard can it be? I've vacillated a bit with my list, but I've now included what might be a surprise entry The Hangover, because it won the Golden Globe – and District 9, which I've always supported. Others that might sneak in: The Messenger, A Serious Man, A Single Man, The Last Station, It's Complicated or yes, perhaps even Star Trek. Let's see how many I get right.
Kit Bowen is an entertainment journalist and movie critic. She was formerly the Managing Editor for Hollywood.com and currently blogs for her site TheMovieKit.com.