Well, maybe some other year.
The 84th Annual Academy Awards are going to go down exactly as you think—or maybe even fear—they're going to go down. Our predictions:
Picture: The Artist
Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Actress: Viola Davis, The Help
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
Art Direction: Hugo
Cinematography: The Tree of Life
Film Editing: The Artist
Sound Mixing: Hugo
Sound Editing: Hugo
Costume Design: W.E.
Visual Effects: Hugo
Why You Should Listen to Us: Because we listened to the guilds. Every above winner was a winner at the corresponding guild awards. In the case of art direction, Hugo shared the guild spotlight with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, but we opted for Hugo because it won for period film, while HP8 won for fantasy, and come Oscar time, period almost always trumps fantasy. In the case of visual effects, where Hugo and Rise of the Planet of the Apes were both honorees at the Visual Effects Society Awards, we opted for Hugo because Hugo won for best effects in a movie, period, while Rise won for best effects in a "visual effects-driven" movie. In the case of sound editing, Hugo and War Horse were both winners at the Golden Reel Awards, but we opted for Hugo because it's Hugo. And, finally, in the case of film editing, The Artist and The Descendants were the big Eddie winners, but we opted for The Artist because it's The Artist, and everything we know about Oscar science tells us it's going to win Best Picture.
Animated Feature: Rango
Foreign-Language Film: A Separation
Documentary Feature: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Documentary Short: Saving Face
Original Score: The Artist
Original Song: "Real in Rio," from Rio
Makeup: The Iron Lady
Why You Should Listen to Us: Because we perused the concensus odds, recalled that the median age of Oscar voters is 62 (Down with the Muppets! Up with Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher look!), and generally took what we like to believe are educated guesses.
Live-Action Short: "The Shore"
Animated Short: "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"
Why You Should Listen to Us: Because, sue us, we took a couple of wild guesses. Also, we like saying "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."
The Bottom Line If We're Right: The Artist edges Hugo, five wins to three four, and you finally catch the film when it comes to Netflix, after which you wonder aloud, "So, um, that's it?"
The Bottom Line If We're Wrong: Oscar night will be a whole lot of fun.
POST-OSCARS UPDATE: Out of the 24 categories, we got 18 picks right, including five of the six top categories (Meryl Streep, d'oh!). The guild awards served us pretty well; the guesses served us even better.