The big awards (leaving out the technical, short subject and doc noms) with some commentary:
Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Artist (2011): Thomas Langmann
The Descendants (2011): Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011): Scott Rudin
The Help (2011): Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan
Hugo (2011/II): Graham King, Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris (2011): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
Moneyball (2011): Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt
The Tree of Life (2011): Nominees to be determined
War Horse (2011): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
Wow, I haven't seen any of these yet. I've been wanting to see The Descendents, Midnight in Paris and Moneyball. I'd watch The Artist and Hugo to see what the hype is about
Usually I try to see all the nominees, but I have zero desire to watch Extremely Loud, War Horse, The Help or The Tree of Life (I'm not in the cult of Malick).
Prediction: The Artist.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir for A Better Life (2011)
George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)
Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)[/b]
This is only Brad Pitt's 2nd nomination (12 Monkeys). I don't count Benjamin Button because I like to pretend that pile doesn't exist.
Gary Oldman finally gets his first nomination ever. How'd that happen? They should've created 5 new Best Actor categories just so they could give them all to him for The 5th Element.
Prediction: Jean Dujardin, though it wouldn't be a surprise if it went to Clooney instead.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Viola Davis for The Help (2011)
Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Nothing snarky to say here.
Prediction: it's a tough call between Meryl Streep and Viola Davis, so I'm going with Davis based on the quality of the films they're in.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)
Nick Nolte for Warrior (2011)
Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)
Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
Never thought we'd see the day where you can say "Academy Award Nominee Jonah Hill" now, did we? It's almost as fun to say as "Academy Award Winner Fisher Stevens".
Nick Nolte for Warrior is a surprise. He was forgotten in all the other awards.
Prediction: Christopher Plummer
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)
Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (2011)
Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)
Definitely love that Melissa McCarthy got a nomination. Comedy is always underappreciated at the awards.
Prediction: I have no clue, so I'll play it safe and say Bérénice Bejo.
Best Achievement in Directing
Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)
Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)
Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)
Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011/II)
Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius if only for pulling a silent film off like he did.
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi
How awesome would it be if Bridesmaids won it? I don't think it will though.
Prediction: could not even begin to make a guess. Midnight in Paris, why not? It's been awhile since he won one.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Hugo (2011/II): John Logan
The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
There's a lot of talent in the two front runners: Payne (who won for Sideways) for the Descendents and Sorkin (who bathes in Emmys) for Moneyball.
Prediction: The Descendents
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
A Cat in Paris (2010): Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita (2010): Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011): Jennifer Yuh
Puss in Boots (2011): Chris Miller
Rango (2011): Gore Verbinski
Since the Best Animated Feature started getting handed out, the only 2 Pixar films to not win are Cars and Cars 2. If you stop buying the toys people, they'll stop making the movies.
Prediction: haven't even heard of the first two, so I'm going to go with Rango.
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (2011): Michael R. Roskam(Belgium)
Footnote (2011): Joseph Cedar(Israel)
In Darkness (2011): Agnieszka Holland(Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (2011): Philippe Falardeau(Canada)
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi(Iran)
A Separation as been on so many Best Of 2011 lists that I half expected it to be a Best Picture nominee.
Prediction: A Separation