05/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Predicting the Oscars: No Country For Blue Na'vis?

When was the last time an Oscar Best Picture reflected the times we live in? The Departed? Not so much. No Country For Old Men? Not quite. Crash? Maybe, but that film wasn't worthy. Back in the 1970s, films that won top honors always felt like they personified the year in which they won. You can argue for other decades, but for the most part, the 2000s thus far have failed to do so. I mean, the films that won the top gold guy following 9/11 were Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, and Chicago. Seriously?

As we approach this year's telecast, one would hope Hurt Locker or Up in the Air would overtake Avatar to claim Best Picture. Years from now, decades from now, either one of those two flicks -- if they win anyway -- would be best remembered as a film that personified the war-fueled and economic disaster that was 2009. Thanks to dwindling Oscar buzz for the George Clooney airliner and a Locker producer's lame attempts to sway Oscar judges, I'm not so sure that will happen. It could very well be a glorious night for James Cameron or a surprising Inglourious night overall.

That said, here are my predictions for Sunday for each category -- even the ones you could care less about. One thing is clear: Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin should be hilarious hosts. Let's just hope for a Conan O'Brien cameo during the telecast. In any event, here are my Precious predictions:

Best Picture:
Sure Bet: The Hurt Locker
If that Locker producer messed it all up: Avatar
Might surprise: Inglourious Bastards
Should win: Up in the Air

Best Actor:
Sure bet: Jeff Bridges
If the Bridges Lifetime Achievement Award can wait: George Clooney
Might surprise: Nah, C'mon this is Bridges's year.
Should win: George Clooney

Best Actress:
Sure bet: Meryl Streep, because she only wins Oscars for roles with names in the title (Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie's Choice).
If the Sandra Bullock train continues to run: Bullock, even though I'd say a nomination does her enough justice.
Might surprise: This is a two-horse race between Streep and Bullock so if one of the two don't win it'll be a surprise.
Should win: Gabourey Sidibe gave the most powerful performance here in my book.

Best Supporting Actor:
Sure Bet/Should Win: Christoph Waltz -- expect an incoherent speech.
Might Surprise: Waltz has had this wrapped up since August.

Best Supporting Actress:
Sure bet/should win: Mo'Nique
Might Surprise: This is no contest.

Best Director:
Should and will win: Kathryn Bigelow
Might surprise: I honestly don't see anyone else winning this. Sorry Jim Cameron.

Adapted Screenplay:
Should and will win: Up in the Air

Original screenplay
Should win: Inglourious Basterds
Will win: The Hurt Locker

In Brief
Best Animated Film:
Should and will win: Up

Art Direction:
Should and will win: Avatar

Should and will win: The Hurt Locker

Costume Design:
Will win: Nine
Should win: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Best Documentary Feature:
Will win: Food, Inc.

Best Documentary Short:
Will win: Rabbit a la Berlin

Best Editing
Should win: District 9
Will win: Hurt Locker

Foreign Language Film:
Should and will win: The White Ribbon

Should and will win: Star Trek

Should and will win: Up

Should and will win: "The Weary Kind," Crazy Heart

Animated Short:
Will win: Logorama

Live Action Short:

Will win: Kavi

Sound Editing:

Should and will win: Avatar

Sound Mixing:

Should and will win: Avatar

Visual Effects:

Should and will win: Avatar