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The Oscars: Last-Minute Predictions

So the Academy Award nominations will be announced live tomorrow by Jennifer Lawrence and Academy president Tom Sherak--word has it Lawrence has been practicing the pronounciation of several French names from "The Artist" in anticipation. So here's some guesses has to how it will finally all shake out.

Best Picture:

The sure things are "The Artist," 'The Descendants," "The Help," "Hugo," and "Midnight In Paris." I am hoping "Moneyball" makes the cut and would love it if "Bridesmaids" did. But I suspect "War Horse" will ultimately be overlooked. Possible spoiler: "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Best Director:

The sure things are Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist," Alexander Payne for "The Descendants," Martin Scorsese for "Hugo," and Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris." While many people think Terrence Malick will slip in with "Tree of Life," I say don't underestimate the Academy's love for "The Help" or "Moneyball." Their respective directors, Tate Taylor and Bennett Miller, have been woefully overlooked in most of the races, and I think one will get that last slot--I hope it's Miller, but suspect it will be Taylor. Then again, Stephen Daldry has never made a movie for which he didn't receive a Best Director nomination ("Billy Elliott," "The Hours," "The Reader") so he could sneak in with "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." There's also the possiblity of David Fincher creeping in with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Still, if it's not Taylor or Miller, I'm guessing they'll just lazily give the nod to Steven Spielberg for "War Horse."

Best Actor:

The sure things are George Clooney for "The Descendants," Brad Pitt for "Moneyball," and Jean Dujardin for "The Artist." Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I truly believe Gary Oldman will finally be recognized for his work in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." That leaves one spot left, which most people think belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio, but I am holding out hope it belongs to Michael Shannon for his spectacular work in "Take Shelter." Both Oldman and Shannon have been making the rounds, while DiCaprio seems to be quietly sitting things out--and often that makes all the difference. As for "Shame" star Michael Fassbender...he's brilliant, but I just don't see the Academy embracing his sex addict character.

Best Actress:

The sure things are Viola Davis for "The Help," Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady," and Michelle Williams for "My Week with Marilyn." At one point, Glenn Close was a sure thing, but "Albert Nobbs" never really took off the way it was supposed to. Still, I suspect it will end up being Close and Tilda Swinton for her great work in "We Need to Talk About Kevin." The only possible spoiler could be Rooney Mara for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," but I doubt it.

Best Supporting Actor:

As much as I hoped Patton Oswalt would make the cut, it doesn't look like the "Young Adult" star will triumph. That leaves a pretty great group anyway: Christopher Plummer for "Beginners," Kenneth Branaugh for "My Week with Marilyn," Albert Brooks for "Drive," and Jonah Hill for "Moneyball." I'm truly hoping enough people saw "Warrior" to give that last slot to Nick Nolte, so brilliant in the film. If not Nolte, I supose it would be Ben Kinsgley for "Hugo." Or, should the Academy give into the sap of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Max Von Sydow.

Best Supporting Actress:

The two sure things are Octavia Spencer for "The Help" and Berenice Bejo for "The Artist." The pretty certain things are Jessica Chastain for "The Help" and Melissa McCarthy for "Bridesmaids." That leaves one slot for Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs" and Shailene Woodley in "The Descendants" to battle it out. And don't count out Vanessa Redgrave in "Coriolanus." But as I said, "Albert Nobbs" never really gained momentum, so I'm guessing it will ultimately be Woodley.

Check in tomorrow to see how right/wrong I was and praise/chastise me.

--Jenelle Riley




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