Oh, the pesky business of predicting Oscar winners.  Depending on Academy voters’ moods, a pundit can come off as brilliant or dumb as a post.  This seems to be an awfully predictable year – but be warned, that could mean upsets are in the air.

That said, here are my predictions for who will take home the gold at this Sunday’s Academy Awards in the major categories.  I’ve devised my own odds system, which is completely made up; but, it does give a sense of how strongly I view the chances of each nominee.

What do you think?  Am I way off base anywhere?  Which categories are easiest to predict?  Will this go down as one of the most predictable Oscar telecasts in recent years?

Best Picture

‘Black Swan’ – 10/1

‘The Fighter’ – 9/1

‘Inception’ – 12/1

‘The Kids Are All Right’ – 20/1

‘The King’s Speech’ - Even

‘127 Hours’ 10/1

‘The Social Network’ – 5/2

‘Toy Story 3’ – 20/1

‘True Grit’ – 6/1

‘Winter’s Bone’ – 30/1

Clearly, this is between ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘The Social Network.’  The latter was the front runner early in the season, picking up nearly every critics’ award.  But as ‘The King’s Speech’ was seen by more people, it picked up steam fast, winning the PGA, DGA and SAG awards.  (It wasn’t eligible for the WGA award.)  ‘The Social Network’ could come back from behind, but it would be unwise to bet against ‘The King’s Speech,’ which is not only a crowd pleaser, but it’s got Oscar pedigree smeared all over it.

Best Actor

Javier Bardem, ‘Biutiful’ – 20/1

Jeff Bridges, ‘True Grit’ - 15/1

Jesse Eisenberg, ‘The Social Network’ – 8/1

Colin Firth, ‘The King’s Speech’ – 1/5

James Franco, ‘127 Hours’ 7/1

Firth is a lock.  He’s been an awards darling all season, and he really has no competitor here.  It’s an interesting reversal of last year, when Bridges was a shoo-in over Firth.  This is ‘The King’s Speech’’s most guaranteed award of the night.  Hands down.


Best Actress

Annette Bening, ‘The Kids Are All Right’ - 5/2

Nicole Kidman, ‘Rabbit Hole’ – 15/1

Jennifer Lawrence, ‘Winter’s Bone’ – 20/1

Natalie Portman, ‘Black Swan’- Even

Michelle Williams, ‘Blue Valentine’ – 20/1

This is Natalie Portman’s to lose, but I also think this race is closer than we think.  Yes, Portman was fantastically creepy in ‘Black Swan,’ but Bening is overdue for the award and gave a beautifully subtle performance in ‘The Kids Are All Right.’  It does not hurt her chances that she’s well-liked by Academy members and has been making the rounds this awards season.  I expect Portman to make it to the podium, but if Bening’s name is called, I will not be shocked.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, ‘The Fighter’ – 2/1

John Hawkes, ‘Winter’s Bone’ – 20/1

Jeremy Renner, ‘The Town’ – 15/1

Mark Ruffalo, ‘The Kids Are All Right’ – 15/1

Geoffrey Rush, ‘The King’s Speech’ – 5/2

Another race that may be closer than we think.  Bale is the clear front-runner, having won the Golden Globe, SAG and many critics’ awards.  But Rush was an early favorite, and support behind his film can only help his chances.  Being an actor in the ultimate Best Picture winner ups your chances immensely.  He’s also essentially the film’s second lead, and potentially could have been nominated alongside Firth as Best Actor.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, ‘The Fighter’ - 4/1

Helena Bonham Carter, ‘The King’s Speech’ – 7/2

Melissa Leo, ‘The Fighter’ 3/2

Hailee Steinfeld, ‘True Grit’ – 2/1

Jacki Weaver, ‘Animal Kingdom’ – 7/1

Probably the closest category of the night.  I could see this award going to anyone but Weaver, great though she was. Leo is ahead of the pack, but she’s not a lock.  She placed ads on her own behalf in Hollywood trade papers, which has been a divisive move… smart politics, or inflated ego?  Hailee Steinfeld, basically the third lead in ‘True Grit,’ has a real shot here, as does Helena Bonham Carter, who could ride ‘The King’s Speech’’s wave, or Amy Adams, who could finally collect on her third nomination.

Best Director

Darren Aronofsky, ‘Black Swan’ – 10/1

David O. Russell, ‘The Fighter’ – 12/1

Tom Hooper, ‘The King’s Speech’ 5/2

David Fincher, ‘The Social Network’ – 2/1

Joel and Ethan Coen, ‘True Grit’ – 5/1

It’s unwise to bet against Tom Hooper of ‘The King’s Speech,’ since he won the DGA award, and that rarely splits from the Academy.  But David Fincher is very well liked, and ‘The Social Network’ is flashily directed compared to ‘The King’s Speech,’ which Entertainment Weekly recently noted, could have been a really, really great TV movie.  No other competitors here stand a chance.

Best Original Screenplay

‘Another Year’ – 20/1

‘The Fighter’ – 6/1

‘Inception’ – 6/1

‘The Kids Are All Right’ – 4/1

‘The King’s Speech’ – ½

This is ‘The King’s Speech’’s to lose.  Did you know it’s been in the making for dozens of years?

Best Adapted Screenplay

‘127 Hours’ – 8/1

‘The Social Network’ – 1/5

‘Toy Story 3’ – 20/1

‘True Grit’ – 9/1

‘Winter’s Bone’ – 15/1

A lock for Aaron Sorkin. No question.