You never can tell for sure what the Academy voters will decide. But if you look at who's been winning prizes at the award ceremonies that have already taken place, you'll get a pretty good idea of who's on the inside track.
On that basis, I have to say that jeff bridges seems to have locked up the best actor award for his fantastic performance as broken down country singer-song writer Bad Blake in "Crazy Heart." Bridges has had four previous nominations without a victory and that probably increases his chances of winning.
For best actress I think it comes down to a close competition between Meryl Streep as Chef Julia child in "Julie & Julia," and Sandra Bullock as a southern mother who takes in a homeless African American boy in "The Blind Side." This race is simply too close to call.
The best supporting actor will almost certainly be Christoph Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds." He's won the prize at every awards show to date and for my money his performance as a charming Nazi was the best thing about the film.
Best supporting actress will likely go to Mo'nique in "Precious." She's got a winning record in the early contests, and she was terrific, playing an abusive mother.
This year ten films have been nominated for best picture, but the race comes down to "The Hurt Locker" versus "Avatar."
"Avatar"'s 3D cinematography and performance capture animation are spectacular. Plus, the film has taken in over 2 billion dollars and has became the top box office draw in history.
On the other hand, "The Hurt Locker," a serious drama about a bomb squad diffusing I.E.D.'s in Iraq, is an anti-war masterpiece that relatively few people have seen.
"Avatar" will probably win, because as everybody knows, money really talks in Hollywood, but I'm pulling for "The Hurt Locker" which is now available on DVD.