Hollywood's biggest night is just a few days away. Yes, this Sunday night the 84th Academy Awards will take place, and, as you've come to expect, we'll be providing wall-to-wall coverage of the Oscars here on Screening Room. But before we get to the red carpet and the shiny gold men, it's time to put our knowledge to use. I've seen the vast majority of this year's nominees and I've been playing close attention to the press since the nominations were announced last month, so it's time to put all of that supposed expertise on the line. Below, find our Oscar predictions for all of the major categories along with a rationale for each choice.
Please note that these aren't my personal picks in each category, but rather who I think the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will ultimately give the nod to on Sunday night. (And please return then for our live blog and analysis of the proceedings!)
The Artist won Best Comedy at the Golden Globes last month and The Descendants took home best drama, so most all the pundits see it coming down to a heavyweight between those two excellent films. I thought The Artist was delightful, but, relatively speaking, a lightweight compared to Alexander Payne's The Descendants, which I'm on record as calling the best film of 2011. My feelings aside, the underdog success story of The Artist, a French, black-and-white, silent film is going to have a ton of pull with the voters. The Pick: The Artist
Like the Best Picture race, this is being painted as a showdown between The Artist (Jean Dujardin) and The Descendants (George Clooney), which is pretty remarkable since Brad Pitt is also nominated in this category for his turn as Billy Beane in Moneyball. I suspect Pitt has more of a chance than most people are giving him, but this is his friend Clooney's to lose, and the guess here is he won't. The Pick: George Clooney, The Descendants
Meryl Streep won for The Iron Lady at last month's Golden Globes, a pick that seemed awfully lazy at the time, especially considering how poorly received the biopic was. Though Streep is the darling of, well, just about everyone, I can't see her taking home the Oscar this year, and that leaves this category wide open, with Viola Davis from The Help, Michelle Williams from My Week With Marilyn, Glenn Close from Albert Nobbs and Rooney Mara from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo also in the running. I'm partial to Mara, who I also can't see actually winning, but if I have to guess who actually takes it home, well ... The Pick: Viola Davis, The Help
Best Supporting Actor
Every year, one of the major categories seems like a foregone conclusion well in advance of the big night because it just seems like it's time for a screen veteran to have his moment in the spotlight. This year, Best Supporting Actor is that category and Christopher Plummer from Beginners is that nominee, no matter how good Nick Nolte was in Warrior. The Pick: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress
What a quirky mix here. There are two actresses from The Help -- Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer -- and three relative unknowns receiving their first real acknowledgement of this sort -- Berenice Bejo from The Artist, Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids and Janet McTeer from Albert Nobbs. This is truly wide open, so our prediction will be the same as our pick. We're going with our heart, because our head isn't providing much guidance. The Pick: Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Woody Allen. Martin Scorsese. Terrence Malick. Alexander Payne. These are four of the biggest names in Hollywood, and the fifth nominee, Michael Hazanavicius from The Artist, might very well be the man behind the Best Picture. Hugo got the most nominatons, but won't get much love in the major categories, so I've got to believe it's going to take home its fair share of hardware nonetheless. The Pick: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
We'll see how these turn out on Sunday night. Won't you join us then?