By Tony Johnson, Arts & Entertainment Editor

This year’s awards season, from the critics circles to the Golden Globes and SAG’s, has offered very few surprises. The winners have all been deserving and consistently show up on each stage to collect their trophy. However, the announcement of the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominees did present a few shocking additions and snubs in each category. Even with different choices of nominees, the Oscars will most likely award the same actors that won at the previous ceremonies, and will finally allow them to finish their streak at the Kodak theater’s stage.

Here’s our final list of predictions of the nominees that will win, and those we think should win.

Best Picture:

Will win? The King’s Speech has swept nearly all the “guild” awards including the DGA’s (director’s guild), PGA’s, (producer’s guild), and the SAG’s (screen actor’s guild). Films that have won all three normally went on to win the big trophy on Oscar night. Speech is by all means deserving of the award, however it doesn’t seem to stick with you as much as some of the other nominees, including the film we think should win.

Should win? The Social Network actually might be Speech’s biggest competition. No doubt the Colin Firth-driven biopic will pick up the best picture prize, but David Fincher’s dark, indelible modern masterpiece has it all and is one of the few other nominees that really deserves the trophy as well. If any film will make an upset in this category and take it away from Speech, it’ll be The Social Network.

Best Director:

Will and should win? The reason The Social Network still has some hope in stealing Best Picture is because of its brilliant director, David Fincher. Speech’s director Tom Hooper did win the award at the DGA’s, but Fincher has won at the majority of the other ceremonies and after losing the award in 2008 for his work in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the Academy will probably give it to him this time.

Best Actor:

Will win? Colin Firth will, no doubt about it, finally pick up an Oscar for his astounding performance in The King’s Speech after losing last year to last minute nominee entry Jeff Bridges. Firth put a lot of research and spirit into his performance as King George the VI, and it shows in the film. However, Firth really should’ve won last year for his heart-breaking work in A Single Man. He will be cheered for at the podium, but there’s no denying some Academy members found other nominees’ performances even more sweeping.

Should win? It’s really hard to say who ‘should’ considering the slew of great performances in this category, but it really comes down to two. James Franco was absolutely riveting and touching as hiker Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle’s celebrated but little-known film, 127 Hours, however his hosting duties will prevent him from actually winning. Then there’s Jesse Eisenberg for his fast-talking and breathtaking performance as Facebook’s finder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in Network. Both actors are still relatively young, so both will most likely earn a couple more nominations throughout their careers. Don’t expect any upsets from the other two nominees Jeff Bridges and Javier Bardem either. February 27th will be Colin Firth’s night.

Best Actress:

Will and should win? Celebrators of indie-flicks are going to argue that Michelle Williams deserves it more than any other nominee for her performance in Blue Valentine. However, that’s the problem. Derek Cianfrance’s dark film has been released to so few places that so few movie-goers and Academy members alike have been able to see it and Williams’ performance. Which is why Natalie Portman has the best bet, for her utterly impressive and haunting performance as a tormented ballerina in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. The surprisingly widely successful art-house film provides one of the best performances of Portman’s career. Annette Bening will be present for a possible upset due to her seniority and for her impeccable performance as a lesbian mother in The Kids Are All Right, but Portman has won the majority of the other trophies this season, and will more than likely finish her streak this Sunday.

Best Supporting Actor:

Will and should win? Though there is surprisingly some good competition in this category this year, Christian Bale is most likely going to walk away with his first statue on Oscar night for his work in The Fighter. His biggest competition is Geoffrey Rush of Speech, but Bale has won at every ceremony except the BAFTA’s. It would’ve been nice for the Academy to have recognized Andrew Garfield’s remarkable acting in Network, but even if he did receive a nomination the trophy will still go to Bale. His piercing and immensely touching performance as real-life, broken-down boxer Dicky Eklund has earned his his first Oscar nomination, and will no doubt give him his first win.

Best Supporting Actress:

Will win? The supporting acting categories will be swept by the supporting roles found in The Fighter, with best supporting actress looking to go to Melissa Leo for her versatile performance as the Eklund brothers’ mother. Her recently released “consider” self-campaign ads have definitely held back some Academy voters, but it’s ultimately about the performance. After being nominated back in 2009 for best actress for her powerful work in Frozen River, the Academy will reward Leo this time despite her bizarre ads.

Should win? Though Leo does deserve it, it would be nice to see the always impressive Amy Adams to finally take one home for herself for her part in Fighter. Leo carries the more showy role as the passionate mother, but Adams tries something new as Micky Ward’s (played by the underrated Mark Wahlberg) tough, bartender girlfriend. She strays away from being a sweet and innocent character, and she does so in a flawless manner. It would be a delight to see new-comer Hailee Steinfeld to take one home for her breakout performance in True Grit, but critics and Academy members alike feel that she belonged more in the leading category rather than the supporting. With this being Adams’ third nomination and a nomination for the best performance of her career to date, it’s time for her to take one home too. Maybe it could end up being a tie? Dream big, movie-lovers, dream big.

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