Will win: “The Artist”
Could win: “The Descendants”
There’s little chance “The Artist” won’t win, as it has swept almost all the awards for which it has been nominated. It will become the second lowest-grossing Best Picture winner, which is unsurprising considering it’s a black-and-white silent film.
Will win: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Could win: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
Though he’s the only freshman among the nominees, Hazanavicius seems sure to win. Best Picture and Best Director rarely split, and “The Artist” is the kind of inventive, visually dazzling film that people like to reward. If Scorsese hadn’t won for “The Departed,” he would be more of a threat here.
Will win: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Could win: George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Initially it appeared that Clooney would win his second Oscar for “The Descendants,” as the film has garnered him the best reviews of his career. Most groups, however, have been rewarding Dujardin for his silent performance in “The Artist.”
Will win: Viola Davis, “The Help”
Could win: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Davis almost won an Oscar for “Doubt” three years ago, but it seems like her time has finally arrived. “The Help” was widely praised for its ensemble praise, but Davis was easily best in show. If “The Iron Lady” had been a better film, Streep could have received her first Oscar since 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice.”
Best Supporting Actor
Will win: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Could win: Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
There’s no chance anyone but Plummer will win in this category. Though this is only his second nomination after a long career, Plummer gave one of his best performances in “Beginners” as a recently out gay man dying of cancer. Von Sydow is also deeply respected, but the reviews for his film were polarizing.
Best Supporting Actress
Will win: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Could win: Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Spencer’s performance has received almost as many laurels as Davis’ for her work as a fed-up maid in “The Help.”
Best Original Screenplay
Will win: “Midnight in Paris”
Could win: “The Artist”
This marks Woody Allen’s 15th nomination in this category, and it’s for one of his most acclaimed films in two decades. Unless “The Artist” really sweeps the awards, Allen will win his third screenwriting Oscar for “Midnight in Paris.”
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will win: “The Descendants”
Could win: “Moneyball”
Though “The Descendants” at one point seemed like a front-runner for the Best Picture prize, it’s only win will likely come in this category; director and screenwriter Alexander Payne previously won here for “Sideways.” Last year’s winner, Aaron Sorkin, could eke out a win here for the “Moneyball” script he co-wrote.