Writ­ten by Paul Stathakis  |  Feb­ru­ary 26, 2012

The 84th Acad­e­my Awards will air live tonight on ABC at 7pm Eastern/5pm Pacif­ic. The ever-tal­ent­ed Bil­ly Crys­tal will be return­ing as host and this will mark his ninth appear­ance as Oscar MC. The race this year is quite tight, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the Best Actor cat­e­go­ry where George Clooney and Jean Dujardin are the clear front-run­ners. At this year’s Gold­en Globes, Clooney won for Best Actor in a dra­mat­ic role while Dujardin took home the award for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical. The Best Actress cat­e­go­ry and Best Pic­ture cat­e­go­ry are just as close and unpre­dictable this year. Can Vio­la Davis win against Meryl Streep who, with her nom­i­nat­ed per­for­mance in “The Iron Lady”, now totals 17 Oscar nom­i­na­tions. Streep won the Gold­en Globe for Best Actress but will she win the Oscar too? At this year’s Gold­en Globes, two films won for Best Pic­ture but in two dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories: “The Descen­dants” won Best Motion Pic­ture Dra­ma while “The Artist” won for Best Motion Pic­ture Comedy/Musical. The Best Direc­tor prize at the Globes sur­pris­ing­ly went to Mar­tin Scors­ese for “Hugo” but many felt Michel Haz­anavi­cius’ work was over­looked. So the big ques­tion now is, will Haz­anavi­cius win tonight for Best Direc­tor?

 


Here are my Oscar pre­dic­tions for the main cat­e­gories:

 

Best Actor:

  • Demián Bichir in “A Bet­ter Life”
  • George Clooney in “The Descen­dants”
  • Gary Old­man in “Tin­ker Tai­lor Sol­dier Spy”
  • Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”
  • Brad Pitt in “Mon­ey­ball”

 

Best Actress:

  • Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”
  • Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”
  • Vio­la Davis in “The Help”
  • Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Drag­on Tat­too”
  • Michelle Williams in “My Week with Mar­i­lyn”

 

Best Sup­port­ing Actor:

  • Ken­neth Branagh in “My Week with Mar­i­lyn”
  • Jon­ah Hill in “Mon­ey­ball”
  • Nick Nolte in “War­rior”
  • Christo­pher Plum­mer in “Begin­ners”
  • Max von Sydow in “Extreme­ly Loud and Incred­i­bly Close”

 

Best Sup­port­ing Actress:

  • Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”
  • Jes­si­ca Chas­tain in “The Help”
  • Octavia Spencer in “The Help”
  • Melis­sa McCarthy in “Brides­maids”
  • Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs”

 

Best Direc­tor:

  • Michel Haz­anavi­cius “The Artist”
  • Alexan­der Payne “The Descen­dants”
  • Mar­tin Scors­ese “Hugo”
  • Woody Allen “Mid­night in Paris”
  • Ter­rence Mal­ick “The Tree of Life”

 

Best Pic­ture:

  • War Horse”
  • The Artist”
  • Mon­ey­ball”
  • The Descen­dants”
  • The Tree of Life”
  • Mid­night in Paris”
  • The Help”
  • Hugo”
  • Extreme­ly Loud and Incred­i­bly Close”

 

Best Orig­i­nal Screen­play:

  • The Artist”
  • Brides­maids”
  • Mid­night in Paris”
  • Mar­gin Call”
  • A Sep­a­ra­tion”

 

Best For­eign Film:

  • Bull­head”
  • Foot­note”
  • In Dark­ness”
  • Mon­sieur Lazhar”
  • A Sep­a­ra­tion”

 

Best Ani­mat­ed Fea­ture:

  • A Cat in Paris”
  • Chico and Rita”
  • Ran­go”
  • Kung Fu Pan­da 2”
  • Puss in Boots”