Early Oscar predictions by HS
Note that the nominations haven't even been announced yet, but I'm having some fun here anyway.
Best Picture: The hardest category to predict, with this year seeing it expand to 10 nominees. Right now it's a three-way race between Up in the Air, Avatar, and The Hurt Locker. At this point (January 10th) I'm leaning towards The Hurt Locker - it's been awhile since a war movie has won, and director Kathryn Bigelow's strong chances in the Direction category boost the film's chances here also.
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. A woman has never won this prize, and momentum is in Bigelow's corner for helming such an intense film.
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. I haven't seen this yet, but he's due, and for added effect, he plays a musician and sings his own songs. That ALMOST ALWAYS works (see Marion Cotillard, Catherine Zeta Jones, Reese Witherspoon, and Jamie Foxx just within the past decade).
Best Actress: Meryl Streep for Julie and Julia. She's won twice before, but the last time was more than 25 years ago! Her late-career resurgence that essentially began with The Devil Wears Prada three years ago only boosts her chances.
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz for Inglorious Basterds. Lately, the Oscars have been kind to portrayals of villains, and Waltz should continue that trend. Besides, everyone wants to reward Tarantino without acting giving him the biggest prizes (Picture or Director), and in a smaller category such as this one, they have their chance.
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'nique for Precious: This acclaimed film's best Oscar chances lie with Mo'nique, playing the best screen "villainess" since Kathy Bates in Misery.