The Descendants,The Artist, My Week With Marilyn,

Fox Searchlight; The Weinstein Company

Oscar Watch

Pulling for Michelle Williams? Looking forward to a George Clooney speech? Desperately pining for Brad Pitt to be honored for the finest performance of his career? 

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. 

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