I am going to post final predictions on Saturday, but I figured I would give everyone an idea of what I'm thinking right now.
Best Picture: The King's Speech
This is either going to be King's Speech or Social Network. While I would prefer Social Network, I have to go with the British film. It has won all the relevant precursors and people seem to love it. Seems like a safe choice right now.
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
I'm really conflicted with this pick. I may change it by the weekend. Hooper won the DGA, but Fincher could pull it off. The DGA is just such a good precursor. This could be a year where Picture/Director split. The last time that has happened was 2005 when Ang Lee took Director and Crash won Picture. I really think this is a toss up and I don't think I'll feel safe about this pick at all on Oscar night.
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
This is the easiest pick out of all the acting categories. This is really a lock. Would be shocked if Firth lost.
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Poor Annette Bening can't catch a break. I still haven't seen The Kids Are All Right, but she always seems to be in second place when she gets nominated (ex. American Beauty and Being Julia). Portman is in the driver's seat and it doesn't make sense to pick against her.
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Could Rush sneak in and win this? It's possible if Oscar night becomes a King's Speech lovefest. I just like Bale in this race. He has the asshole factor working against him, but he's done really well this awards season. Especially with his speeches, which I have really enjoyed. People know he's hard working and he seems to be enjoying himself. Plus, Rush already has his Oscar, which I do think will work against him.
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
There's a good chance I will change this pick to Steinfeld by Saturday. I don't know if The Fighter can really win two acting awards. I am also worried about Adams and Leo splitting the vote. I am also worried about Bonham Carter pulling this out as well. Basically I'm worried about this race more than any other major category. Really hard race to predict and I'm really confused.
Best Original Screenplay: The King's Speech
Feel pretty safe with this pick. Can't really go against it here.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Social Network may lose Picture and Director, but it should definitely take this. Be shocked if it lost.
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Don't bet against Pixar in this category. I would have to say this is a lock and one of the safest picks of the night.
Best Art Direction: The King's Speech
This is a tough call. I'm going with King's Speech because I don't see Alice in Wonderland winning this Oscar and I don't think Inception has enough support. Films like The Aviator have won this category and I think King's Speech will follow.
Best Cinematography: True Grit
I feel like this is a trap pick and I may change it. Everyone says Roger Deakins' time has come. The problem is the voting ballot doesn't say his name on it. Is it common knowledge he was the DP? I'm not convinced. This could be a situation where there's a surprise. I'll come back to this pick over the weekend.
Best Costume Design: The King's Speech
I look at The Aviator for my support that films like King's Speech can win over a film like Alice in Wonderland. Bad films have won in this category, so it's definitely possible for an Alice win. Part of me refuses to put it down on my ballot right now. That could change.
Best Documentary - Feature: Inside Job
Exit Through the Gift Shop could win, but I don't know if the Academy will want to acknowledge Banksy. I haven't seen Inside Job yet, but it feels like the film to beat.
Best Documentary - Short Subject: Strangers No More
No one really knows anything about this category. I never get this right, so if you want a piece of advice, don't pick Strangers No More.
Best Film Editing: The Social Network
Usually Best Picture wins this, but I think the editing in Social Network is so good that it can't be passed up. I could be wrong, but I leaning towards this to win over King's Speech.
Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World
Better World won the Globe, which means nothing. I'm going with it right now because I need more time. I'm just not feeling Biutiful or Incendies for the win. Though, I think Incendies has a better shot. I guess I really just don't think Biutiful will win.
Best Makeup: The Wolfman
Everyone is picking this to win. I'm just following the leader. Although, I wouldn't be shocked if another film wins. The alternate feels like Barney's Version.
Best Original Score: The King's Speech
At first it looked like Social Network would win this, but it's looking like King's Speech. Sounds like more of an Oscar winning score to me.
Best Original Song: "We Belong Together", Toy Story 3
The other songs don't stand out as much. I could see this losing to "If I Rise" from 127 Hours. I'm just not confident enough to pick it.
Best Short - Animated: Madagascar, a Journey Diary
Contrary to the Animated Feature, don't bet on a Pixar film. I'm not going with Day and Night. I like The Gruffalo and that may win, but I really liked the animation style in Madagascar. Reminded me of the short animation that won a few years back. That probably means nothing, but that is what is dictating my thoughts right now.
Best Short - Live Action: Wish 143
I feel like it's going to be either this or Na Wewe. I may change it by Saturday. Considering this is one of the 5 categories that members must attend special screenings, I feel like they will vote for the film that touched them the most. This very well may be it.
Best Sound Editing: Inception
A lot of people are predicting a little Inception mini sweep for both sound categories and VFX. This sound category is definitely safer than Mixing. I can't see the other nominees winning.
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
This could be like 2008 when Slumdog won Mixing and Dark Knight won Editing. If the Oscars turn into a King's Speech lovefest, then that will happen. I just don't see it getting to that point.
Best Visual Effects: Inception
This has to win right? Definitely not a lock, but I feel pretty confident about this pick.