With only hours to go before Hollywood’s great and good are presented with small, shiny statues, it seems fitting that I provide some predictions as to who will win.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I have assembled an astonishingly large excel table. It details not only the winners of each Oscar over the last decade, but also winners of other major awards* in each category. By doing this it was possible to work out which other awards tended to agree with the Oscars, and which of these would be a good predictor of who would be collecting a trophy this evening.

In addition to this, I looked at a variety of other factors, including the voting process, the makeup of the Academy, the number of web pages referencing a variety of the films, and, in one instance, the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

From all of that information I’ve been able to make some predictions. While I’m still a little unsure about some of the categories, there are nine that I’m utterly convinced I’ve got right. So much so that I’m going to try to put a £20 accumulator bet on them as soon as Ladbrokes opens in the morning.

The nine that I’m utterly certain about are:

  • Actor In A Leading Role Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • Actor In A Supporting Role – Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
  • Actress In A Supporting Role – Mo’Nique, Precious
  • Animated Feature Film – Up!
  • Art Direction – Avatar
  • Directing – Katheryn Biggelow, The Hurt Locker
  • Music (Original Score) – Up!
  • Visual Effects – Avatar
  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Up In The Air

The main reason for the certainty is that, with a few exceptions, these have each won just about every award available in their respective categories.  In the few circumstances when they haven’t swept the board, there’s been a good reason, for instance Bridges lost out to Firth at the BAFTAs because of their parochial nature, while Cameron beat Biggelow for director at the Globes because, as a general rule, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are a group of snivelling sycophants who know little about film, and a lot about getting media coverage for their award ceremony. There’s also the ‘consolation prize factor’ for Avatar, but I’ll get onto that in a second.

There are another twelve categories where I’m reasonably certain of the winner. I’ll go through each, one at a time, explaining the reasoning and logic behind each.

  • Best Picture – The Hurt Locker

I know everyone’s convinced that the massive gross is essentially going to buy Cameron another Oscar, but I can’t see it happening. The Hurt Locker has already picked up a slew of awards, Biggelow’s a shoe-in for best director, and the film has also got the feel of the little film that could, in the same way that Slumdog Millionaire did last year. The recent controversy over Hurt Locker producer, Nicholas Chartier’s e-mail, that slagged off Avatar, may have hurt Locker’s chances, but it may well have had the opposite effect, galvanising filmmakers worried about a changing industry against the flagship for digital cinema.

  • Actress In A Leading Role – Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Bullock has owned the awards season this year, in much the same way as Mo’Nique and Jeff Bridges. The only reason she wasn’t nominated for a BAFTA this year was because the film wasn’t eligible, and sharing her Golden Globe with Streep was almost certainly another ploy by the HFPA (see above). That said, she faces stiff competition, not only from Streep, but also from the sublime Carey Mulligan, whose performance in An Education has already marked her out as, potentially, one of the best actors of her generation. It would also be naïve to ignore Gabourey Sidibe. While she may not get the gong herself, she may well deprive Bullock of just enough votes to allow Streep or Mulligan to take home a nice new bookend.

  • Costume Design – The Young Victoria

There isn’t a lot to go on by way of statistical data for costume design awards. The Costume Designers Guild has a number of categories, but no overall prize, so it’s hard to tell which film is likely to win the Oscar. The BAFTAs, have a costume design award, but in the last ten years, they’ve only agreed with the Academy twice before. Frankly, it’s very much a stab in the dark as to which film will get it, particularly as four of the five nominees are period pieces, but with the traction The Young Victoria has picked up from BAFTA, it seems the most likely winner.

  • Documentary Feature – The Cove

While again, it’s by no means a clear cut matter, The Cove won both the Critics Choice Award, and the Producers Guild Award already this year. It also had a fair amount of press towards the end of last year, and seems to have been very well received.

  • Documentary Short – The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

While it’s hard to find other awards that serve as a barometer for the Documentary Short category, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant deals with a contemporary and relevant subject, and was also shown on HBO. More to the point, there are 871,000 web pages** that mention the film, compared with less than half that for its closest competitor. While that may not guarantee Oscar success, it does mean more Oscar voters will have seen it, and that can only be to its benefit.

  • Film Editing – Hurt Locker

For the last eight years, the American Cinema Editors Awards have successfully predicted the winner of the Film Editing Oscar. This year they gave the prize to The Hurt Locker. Unfortunately, with the ‘Avatar consolation prize factor’, there’s every chance Cameron’s epic could clinch it.

  • Foreign Language Film – A Prophet

Just to make things difficult, the voting for the Foreign Language Film category is slightly different from standard Oscar procedure. To be allowed to cast a vote, each member must have seen all five of the nominated films at an Oscar screening.

Again, this makes it somewhat difficult to predict, but with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 95% compared to The White Ribbon’s 83%, I’m calling it for A Prophet/

  • Music (Original Song) – Crazy Heart (“The Weary Kind” – Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett)

“The Weary Kind” has already scooped a Golden Globe, and a Critics Choice Award, but neither of those bodies has a particularly good track record when it comes to predicting the eventual Oscar winner. To make matters worse, they are actually often wrong when they agree on a film. That said, the only other real competition in the category comes from Randy Newman, for his work on Princess and the Frog, and with two songs up for a prize, it’s likely he’ll split the vote, allowing Bingham and Burnett to swing it.

  • Short Film (Animated) – A Matter of Loaf and Death

As with the documentary short category, there aren’t really any awards that will suggest who’s going to win the animated short category. That said, a quick Google search on each of the films reveals Loaf and Death to have over eight times the number of mentions online than it’s competitors. That said, Logorama has had a fair bit of press itself recently, due to its rather controversial nature, depicting thousands of brand logos as characters in a bizarre animated action film. Probably not enough press to win though.

  • Sound Editing – Avatar

Back in the realms of consolation prizes here. The Hurt Locker has won a boatload of awards for it’s sound editing, but, the lack of a best picture for Avatar*** could well mean it cleans up in the technical categories

  • Writing (Original Screenplay) – The Hurt Locker

In many ways, Inglorious Basterds seems most likely to grab this award. It certainly did well at the SAG awards, and actors comprise over 20% of Academy members. That said, the WGA have got it right eight years out of ten, including the last six years, and they’re saying The Hurt Locker. For that reason, so am I.

The remaining categories are a little more difficult to predict. The White Ribbon won the American Society of Cinematographers award for, surprisingly, cinematography, while The Hurt Locker got the BAFTA for the same category. My suspicion is that it’ll go to The Hurt Locker, along with just about every other Oscar this year, but it’s a pretty open category. It might even go to Avatar, which won a Critics Choice award for it’s DOP, Mauro Fiore.

The award for Best Makeup is another that’s going to be a bit of a pain to call. The BAFTA went to The Young Victoria, but Star Trek will have been seen by far more academy members, and while many may not vote in a category they know little about, there could still be enough to allow Star Trek to take it. It’s certainly my pick.

My final prediction is for Sound Mixing. Frankly, I have no idea, but as I have to call it, I’m saying Avatar.

The fastidious reader will notice that I have left a category out, Best Live Action Short. That’s because I can’t even find enough information out about the films to begin analysing their chances. If anyone has a strong suspicion about the category, let us know in the comments below.


  • Best Picture – The Hurt Locker
  • Best Director – Katheryn Biggelow, The Hurt Locker
  • Actor In A Leading Role – Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • Actress In A Leading Role – Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
  • Actor In A Supporting Role – Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
  • Actress In A Supporting Role – Mo’Nique, Precious
  • Best Original Screenplay – The Hurt Locker
  • Best Adapted Screenplay – Up In The Air
  • Best Foreign Language Film – A Prophet
  • Best Animated Film – Up
  • Best Documentary Feature – The Cove
  • Best Art Direction – Avatar
  • Best Cinematography – The Hurt Locker
  • Best Costume Design – The Young Victoria
  • Best Film Editing – The Hurt Locker
  • Best Makeup – Star Trek
  • Best Original Score – Up
  • Best Original Song – “The Weary Kind”, Crazy Heart
  • Best Sound Editing – Avatar
  • Best Sound Mixing – Avatar
  • Best Visual Effects – Avatar
  • Best Live Action Short – ?
  • Best Animated Short – Matter of Loaf and Death
  • Best Documentary Short – The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

*BAFTAS, Golden Globes, WGA Awards etc

**According to Google.

***If I’m right.

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In addition to scribbling barely comprehensible copy for HeyUGuys, Ben has spent several years working in low budget film. One might imagine this has given him an insight into the production process - instead it has made him bitter, twisted and convinced of his own superiority. His life ambition is to run Disney.