The red carpet has been unfurled, the Oscars are gleaming, and Billy Crystal will “suit up!” for the eighth time to host at this year’s Academy Awards. Audience members and viewers can expect strange things from this year’s ceremony, as it couldn’t be less decided by the fates.

Best Picture:

Nominees: “The Artist,” “The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball,” “The Tree of Life” and “War Horse”

Who should win: “The Artist,” a movie that uses both American and French actors, made an excellent stride in proving that film is universal, an artistic form that anyone can enjoy. Winning could be a long stretch for “The Artist,” but there couldn’t be a movie that deserves it more.

Who will win: This year it could be a toss up. “The Help” has a stereotypical Oscar-winning plot, tackling a difficult subject. “The Descendants,” and “Warhorse” both involve big-name directors, which also garner Oscar votes. With 10 nominations, “Hugo” could also be a contender in the ring. In other words, who knows?!

Actor in a Leading Role:

Nominees: Demián Bichir (“A Better Life”), George Clooney (“The Descendants”), Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Solider Spy”) and Brad Pitt (“Money Ball”)

Who should win: This is Gary Oldman’s first nomination throughout a lifetime of consistently excellent roles, and his role as George Smiley in “Tinker Tailor Solider Spy.”

Who will win: It’s a toss up between George Clooney or Brad Pitt. Both actors have gained a lot of recognition for their roles, but will all the buzz pull either into a win?

Actor in a Supporting Role:

Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (“My Week With Marilyn”), Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”), Nick Nolte (“Warrior”), Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) and Max von Sydow (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”).

Who should win/ who will win: Christopher Plummer, although nominated multiple times, has never won an Oscar. As a straight man playing a gay man, odds are for him in the Oscar cicuit, as was the case with Sean Penn (“Milk”) and Tom Hanks (“Philidelphia”). It is also the most memorable role of the year, from this handful of actors.

Actress in a Leading Role:

Nominees: Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”), Viola Davis (“The Help”), Rooney Mara (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”) and Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”).

Who should win: Michelle Williams’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe is what holds the film together. Her uncanny representation of the 60’s pop icon should pull her an Oscar, but because of Williams’ choices’ in roles she may be overpowered by more highrolling films, that brought in more viewers.

Who will win: Viola Davis, whose role is as memorable as Williams’, derserves it just as much. It’s a tough competition between a couple of very talented women.

Actress In a Supporting Role:

Nominees: Bérénice Bejo,
(“The Artist”),
Jessica Chastain
(“The Help),
Melissa McCarthy
(“Bridesmaids”),
Janet McTeer
(“Albert Nobbs”)
, and Octavia Spencer
(“The Help”).

Who should win/ who will win: Beside holding all the cards in the actress in a supporting role deck, Octavia Spencer filled incredible shoes in her role in “The Help.” The win would be well deserved.

Directing

Nominees: “The Artist,”
“The Descendants,”
“Hugo”

“Midnight in Paris,” and

“The Tree of Life.”

Who should win: “Hugo,”

Who will win: With the many nominations “The Artist” received, it would be no surprise to see it take the win. With that being said, this group of directors is quite talented, all of which are deserving of an Oscar. In honesty, this category could be a toss-up, but no one should be disappointed regardless of who wins.

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