Can I be honest? It's too early to be doing this. I have only seen a handful of films and I'm not that confident in anything at this stage. To put it in prospective, this time last year, Slumdog Millionaire was being talked about going direct-to-video. Basically, no one knows anything at this point. Many of the serious contenders have not even been screened publicly yet.
Still, I am going to do a Best Picture chart for now. Don't expect other major categories until late August/early September. To make this easier on me, I'm also going to list everything in alphabetical order.
I will say that the early buzz seems to be between Rob Marshall's musical with Daniel Day-Lewis and a plethora of females (Marion Cottilard, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, etc.) and Clint Eastwood's film about Nelson Mandela with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Of course, I'm talking about Nine and Invictus respectively.
Right now, I just feel like Nine has the edge. The musical does worry me, but Chicago won this seven years ago, so the Academy is willing to give the top prize to one. Though, as always Clint scares me and Invictus should put up a damn good fight.
I still am a believer of Avatar. I feel like this film will either go all the way or completely be a disappointment. Either way, it should be highly anticipated. I am confident it will make at least the final ten.
Another film with potential is Precious. I saw the trailer for the first time the other day and was really moved by it. It feels like a film the Academy has been liking the last few years. It did well at Sundance and I could definitely see it get nominated and maybe contend.
Pixar should finally get its Best Picture nominee. Doesn't have the same triumphant feeling to it when ten films are nominated, but Up should be a nominee.
Best Picture winner: Nine
Nominees (in alphabetical order):
The Hurt Locker
The Lovely Bones
Up in the Air
On the Bubble:
Julie & Julia
Where the Wild Things Are