While waiting for the Oscars to be announced in 25 minutes (and counting), I'm going to post my predictions as I did at goldderby.com via invitation of the LAMB. This is solely so in the case that I'm correct, there's some evidence out there that I was either very right or very wrong.
Eight Questions to Ask Before the Oscar Nominations Are Announced
Picture: War Horse, Moneyball, Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, Hugo, Artist, Descendants, Help
Director: Bennett Miller, the director of The Artist, Terrence Malick, Marty Scorsese, Alexander Payne
Notes: Can't spell the director of The Artist, and won't even try. Wasn't a big fan of Bennett Miller's work in Capote but Moneyball is all about the director. If Malick doesn't get nominated, that would be tragic.
Actor: DiCaprio, J Edgar, Michael Fassbender, Shame, George Clooney, The Descendants, Brad Pitt, Moneyball, Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Notes: Ewan MaGregor of Beginners is also highly deserving
Actress: Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn, Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, The Help, Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Note: I would be thrilled if Charlize Theron for Young Adult or Rooney Mara for Girl with Dragon Tattoo got nominated. In the case of the latter, I have no rooting interest for the film, but I'd want to see Mara because heroes and heroines from big blockbuster tent pole films rarely get mentioned
Supporting Actor: Max von Sydow, Extremely Personal and Up Close, Brad Pitt, Tree of Life, Jonah Hill, Moneyball, Albert Brooks, Drive, Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Notes: I'm really holding out hope for Ben Kingsley, but I thought I'd mix it up anyways.
Supporting Actress: Shalene Woodley, Descendants, Carey Mulligan, Shame, Octavia Spencer, Help, Jessica Chastian, Help, Vanessa Redgrave, Corlianis
Notes: Vanessa Redgrave is the actress I have rooting interest for. She's a living legend and it's a field almost entirely composed of newbies
Adapted Screenplay: Moneyball, Help, Descendants, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Notes: Best pictures shouldn't automatically be placed in the screenplay categories (Goodbye Hugo and War Horse). Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had as much pressure as The Da Vinci Code to not disappoint fans of the book. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was also adapted from a well-known source and succeeded despite comparisons to recent movies. A film like Hugo doesn't really stand out for stylized dialogue.
Original Screenplay: Young Adult, Artist, Margin Call, Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris
Notes: Artist is a silent film, but that can be just as hard to write. Margin Call is wishful thinking, but it's that good. Beginners and Win Win would also be wishful thinking. Bridesmaids would definitely be a unique contender and, what's more, it's pretty probably it will make the cut. I have my personal qualms with Midnight in Paris
Score: Super 8, Artist, Hugo, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter VIII
Notes: I listened to about twenty different scores thanks to youtube so I had a lot of samples to draw from. Artist and Hugo both sound very much alike. Plagarism?
Editing: Girl with Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, War Horse, Tree of Life, Hugo
Notes: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy or Drive could easily also fit into here. Moneyball should win this. Tree of Life is an interesting conundrum: It's way too long but you have the feeling that without the editor reigning in Malick's vision, it would have been a much longer film
Cinematography: Super 8, War Horse, Artist, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, Tree of Life
Notes: Super 8 has amazing cinematography even if it's not a good film.. I'm not sure why it would be ignored in that category.
Art Direction: Anonymous, J. Edgar, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, Hugo, Harry Potter VIII
Note: Anonymous was shot using Roland "I like to blow up the world" Emmerich using mostly green screens. A very interesting and novel way to do a period piece. Harry Potter VIII, I'd put in art direction, because Lord of the Rings won in that category, and the two seem very similar in production values.