Here's how I think the night will go down...
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Best Live Action Short Film: The Shore (though my faves are Raju and Tuba Atlantic)
Best Actor in a Lead Role: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Best Actress in a Lead Role: Viola Davis, The Help
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Schiavo, Hugo
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges, The Artist
Best Director: Michel Hazanivicius, The Artist
Best Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo
Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Makeup: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (in an upset)
Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Best Original Song: Bret McKenzie for "Man or Muppet, The Muppets
Best Picture: The Artist
Best Foreign Language Picture: Asghar Farhadi, A Separation
Best Sound Mixing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (in an upset)
Best Sound Editing: Drive (in an upset)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, and Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A Separation (in an upset)
I haven't seen any of the documentaries (short or long), so I have no predictions to make, but everyone thinks that the winners will be The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom and Undefeated, for what it's worth.
The truth is: I think many of these predictions are wrong. And I completely hope that's true just because I prefer surprises more than I like knowing how it's all going to turn out.
The frontrunner for most of the under-the-line nominations is The Artist, or at least it should be. This means that The Artist should win Costume Design, Art Direction, Editing, and Score.
This is the way it will go: if The Artist does sweep those under-the-line awards, then Hugo picks up in the Sound categories, Visual Effects, etc. If I'm right, though, then it means that the Academy liked Hugo almost as much as they liked The Artist and they split the votes (favoring The Artist but a split nonetheless). My logic here is that they are giving three big ones (Picture, Director, Actor) to The Artist, so they will want to give Hugo other things (Costume, Art Direction, Editing), which means they will feel like they also want to honor other films in the Sound department and for Visual Effects, etc.
I know a lot of people have been complaining this year, but in years when there are a lot of surprises, I am the happiest. I don't worry about the Academy honoring the films I love. They are never going to do that. I just like it when they choose weird things...
Okay, we'll talk again soon.