Best Movies of All Time + [prediction]

Predictions: The 84th Academy Awards

With the 84th Academy Awards only a few days away, I figured that now was the time to release my own personal predictions as to how the awards will be handed out this Sunday evening. Before we get into all that, however, I would like to offer the following disclaimer:

The following predictions are merely my own personal assumptions as to what films will win at the Academy Awards. I have done extensive research into the trends and the buzz surrounding the Oscars as well as the other awards ceremonies that have thus far taken place, and while I am confident in my predictions, I cannot say that I am an expert on the Academy's voting practices.
All that being said, let's get into the thick of it, shall we? I've made predictions for 21 of the 24 categories (I don't make predictions for the short films, so I apologize in advance), so let's see how well I'll do this year. I'll highlight my official picks in green so that they'll stand out for you. I also won't be delving into the films I thought were snubbed - if you want a look at my initial reaction to the nominees, check out this post.

Best Documentary, Features
Nominees:
Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Pina
Undefeated
Who Will Win: I'm putting my money on Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory solely based on the fact that it was the only one of these films to be nominated by the Producers Guild at their own awards ceremony.

Who Could Steal: For all I know, this is a wide open race. I'm only making my pick of Paradise Lost 3 based off one award nomination thus far, so I'm definitely not entirely set on this category.

Who I'm Rooting For: I actually haven't seen any of these particular films, so I don't really have any interest in this particular race.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Nominees:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Hugo
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Who Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The work that was done to create and bring life to the Caesar character was so well-done that it would be a bit of a travesty if the Academy doesn't recognize it.

Who Could Steal: I've heard little tidings here and there that Harry Potter could pull an upset here, but I'd say the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Still, the Academy may want to throw something Potter's way after it was left out of the Best Picture race.

Who I'm Rooting For: Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The motion-capture technology has come too far not to award this film.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Nominees:
Drive
Hugo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse
Who Will Win: Hugo, mostly because it's managed to scoop up most of the sound-related awards at previous awards ceremonies.

Who Could Steal: Traditionally, the "sound" categories have gone towards bigger, action-oriented films. Because of this, I wouldn't be surprised to see any of the other films make a run towards stealing here. However, my money would be on War Horse as the favorite behind Hugo.

Who I'm Rooting For: I personally would love to see Drive take home the Oscar statuette seeing as this category marks its only nomination, but I'll be fine if Hugo wins as well.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Nominees:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse
Who Will Win: I'm going with Hugo again here, for the same reasons as were stated in the "Sound Editing" category.

Who Could Steal: Once again, I'll have to go with War Horse as the next favorite, but don't count out The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Transformers, either.

Who I'm Rooting For: I have to go with Hugo here.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Nominees:
"Man or Muppet," from The Muppets
"Real in Rio," from Rio

Who Will Win: I would be absolutely shocked if "Man or Muppet" somehow doesn't take home the Oscar in this category.

Who Could Steal: Well, "Real in Rio," just because it's the only other song nominated.

Who I'm Rooting For: "Man or Muppet." It's been my favorite song of the year since I first heard it while watching The Muppets.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Nominees:
Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Howard Shore, Hugo
John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin
John Williams, War Horse
Ludovic Bource, The Artist

Who Will Win: Because John Williams will probably split votes between his two nominations, I have to go with Ludovic Bource here. He's already taken home awards at the Golden Globes, the Critics' Choice Awards and BAFTA.

Who Could Steal: Obviously John Williams has the best statistical chance to take home yet another Oscar statuette, but I think the most likely dark horse is probably Howard Shore for his score for Hugo.

Who I'm Rooting For: It's no secret that I'm a massive John Williams fan, so I'd love to see him take home another Academy Award, preferably for War Horse.

Best Achievement in Makeup
Nominees:
Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Iron Lady
Who Will Win: I'll probably end up hating this decision, but I'm going to take Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 here. It won this award at the Critics' Choice Awards, and I think that's enough to make Academy voters take notice.

Who Could Steal: The Iron Lady has the best shot at stealing this award. It won at BAFTA, but I feel like that might have been because it is a British-centric film, and the hometown viewers might have wanted to award it as a result.

Who I'm Rooting For: I don't really have a personal preference in this category.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Nominees:
Anonymous
The Artist
Hugo
Jane Eyre
W.E.
Who Will Win: The Artist took home the award at BAFTA and the Critics' Choice Awards, so there's no reason to assume it will be any different come Oscar night.

Who Could Steal: Traditionally, British period pieces perform exceptionally well in this category. Therefore, you can't count out Jane Eyre or even Anonymous until the envelope is opened, but I'd say their chances are a bit slimmer this year.

Who I'm Rooting For: I'd personally love to see Jane Eyre take home the award here.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Nominees:
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
War Horse
Who Will Win: I'm going with Hugo. It was beautifully-crafted.

Who Could Steal: The Artist definitely has a chance to steal, as does War Horse. However, Hugo has been the art direction darling at most of the previous award ceremonies, so I'd be a bit surprised to see it usurped here.

Who I'm Rooting For: I'd be fine with either a Hugo or The Artist win here. I don't have strong convictions either way.

Best Achievement in Editing
Nominees:
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball
Who Will Win: After leaving it off the Best Picture shortlist, I have a feeling that the Academy voters will choose to honor The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in this category, which it also won at the Critics' Choice Awards.

Who Could Steal: The Artist probably has the best shot at the upset here.

Who I'm Rooting For: I thought the editing in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the best I'd see all year, so I have to root for that one.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Nominees:
The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
The Tree of Life
War Horse
Who Will Win: I think War Horse has the best chance to take home a statuette for its cinematography, but it's going to be a close race.

Who Could Steal: The Tree of Life. It actually tied War Horse in this category at the Critics' Choice Awards, so I'm predicting a race between these two for top honors on Oscar night. The Artist has an outside shot and could steal, but it'll be tough to overcome the front-runners.

Who I'm Rooting For: The Tree of Life. I thought it was as visually stunning as it was emotionally and mentally. Some of the shots were simply fantastic.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Nominees:
Bullhead
Footnote
In Darkness
Monsieur Lazhar
A Separation
Who Will Win: A Separation. It's nominated in other categories as well, meaning the Academy has noticed more than just its merit as a film contending in this category.

Who Could Steal: Of the remaining nominees, Monsieur Lazhar has received the most critical praise, but in all honesty, any film in this category could potentially make the steal. I just don't think it's terribly likely.

Who I'm Rooting For: I haven't seen any of these films, so I don't have a personal preference as to which film wins the award.

Best Animated Film of the Year
Nominees:
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango
Who Will Win: The exclusion of The Adventures of Tintin opens the door for Rango to take home this award, and it shouldn't have any trouble doing so.

Who Could Steal: I feel as though A Cat in Paris or Chico & Rita have much stronger chances to nab the upset here than do Kung Fu Panda 2 or Puss in Boots.

Who I'm Rooting For: Rango. It was one of my personal favorite films of the year.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published or Produced
Nominees:
The Descendants
Hugo
The Ides of March
Moneyball
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Who Will Win: I think The Descendants has the best shot at taking home this award, although it's by no means a sure thing. It's going to have some tough competition from the likes of Moneyball.

Who Could Steal: Definitely Moneyball. It was written in a collaboration between former Oscar winners Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, and their star power may be enough to sway Academy voters to their side.

Who I'm Rooting For: I'd actually love for The Ides of March to win here. I thought it offered a well-written screenplay that delved into some real social issues.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Nominees:
The Artist
Bridesmaids
Margin Call
Midnight in Paris
A Separation
Who Will Win: Woody Allen's gonna take home another Academy Award when Midnight in Paris takes this one.

Who Could Steal: The Artist definitely has a chance, but I don't foresee it happening. Midnight in Paris has been the Original Screenplay darling this year, and its chances were boosted by a win at the Writers Guild Awards.

Who I'm Rooting For: Midnight in Paris.

Best Achievement in Directing
Nominees:
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Who Will Win: It's going to be a bit of a battle, but Michel Hazanavicius should come out victorious here. He's won in this category at every major award ceremony save the Golden Globes, and that win at the Directors Guild Awards is going to prove very helpful.

Who Could Steal: Obviously Martin Scorsese has a shot to steal here, but with each passing day, the idea of him nabbing his second Oscar for directing seems more and more unlikely.

Who I'm Rooting For: Of these nominees, I'd love to see Malick take home the award, but I concede that it probably won't happen.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Who Will Win: Normally, when two actors are nominated from the same film, there's worry that their votes will cancel each other out and lead the way for a dark horse to take the win. However, Octavia Spencer has thus far proven that her performance is strong enough to win awards, so we should be seeing her take home the Oscar as well.

Who Could Steal: While Spencer's co-star Chastain could potentially take the steal, the next best bet is actually Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids. Yes, Bejo has a great chance at pulling votes with The Artist the second-most-nominated film at this year's awards, but I personally think she's been placed into the wrong acting category. Therefore, McCarthy is our dark horse here, but here's to hoping there's no way she wins.

Who I'm Rooting For: I personally thought Chastain was better in her role than Spencer, so I'd like to see her take the award.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Nick Nolte, Warrior

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer, hands down. This is your safest bet at this year's Academy Awards.

Who Could Steal: If anyone's going to do it, it'll actually be Max von Sydow. The fact that Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was nominated for Best Picture will boost his number of votes significantly.

Who I'm Rooting For: I raved about Nolte in Warrior, so to see him win would be quite a treat.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Viola Davis, The Help

Who Will Win: I'm going with Viola Davis. Sure, Meryl is the most-nominated actress of all-time, but she also hasn't won an Academy Award since 1983.

Who Could Steal: Meryl is the next-best choice and gives Davis the best run for her money. Of the remaining nominees, only Rooney Mara has a potentially realistic shot at taking home the gold.

Who I'm Rooting For: Of these nominees, I have to root for Davis. I thought she was fantastic in The Help.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Demían Bichir, A Better Life
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Who Will Win: This is probably the most difficult category for me to make a pick, with the two front-runners being Clooney and Dujardin. Both have essentially split the awards at the previous ceremonies, and so, it's essentially a toss-up. However, I'm going to have to go with Jean Dujardin for the win here. The fact that The Artist received ten total nominations to The Descendants' six should give Dujardin a bit of a boost.

Who Could Steal: As I said, Clooney has the best shot here, and he very well could take it. This one's going to go either way.

Who I'm Rooting For: Brad Pitt, mostly because he's one of my favorite actors.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Nominees:
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse
Who Will Win: The Artist has all the buzz and all the momentum going into Sunday night's ceremony, so there's no reason to assume it won't take home top honors.

Who Could Steal: Hugo has the best shot. It's the most-nominated film this year, but it feels like this is going to The Artist's award to lose.

Who I'm Rooting For: I'm rooting for Hugo.

Well, there ya have it, folks! I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of this year's nominees. Be sure to tune in on Sunday evening when all the festivities begin. Let's hope I make the right picks!