Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Octavia Spencer - The Help: Viola Davis may have been the heart of the film, but Spencer was its stalwart (and funny) strength. I've been watching her for years and this should be the year she's recognized.
Honourable Mention: Shailene Woodley - watch out for this kid - she's only 20, but impressively held her own as George Clooney's daughter in The Descendants.
Jessica Chastain - easily transitioning from a vulnerable spy in The Debt to an endearingly atypical Southern belle in The Help. I'm loving this lady.
Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Christopher Plummer - Beginners: his moving role as a 75 year-old widower who comes out to his grown son is about as far from Captain Von Trapp as you can get, but he pulls it off effortlessly. Plus, I loved hearing that he liked co-star Ewan McGregor's skinny jeans so much that they went shopping together so he could get some too.
Honourable Mention: Albert Brooks as a gangster in Drive didn't have much in the way of dialogue, but made up for it in laid-back menace.
Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method - he's a chameleon who can kill orcs or dispatch bad guys whilst naked in a steam room at the drop of a towel, er, hat (Freudian slip! See what I did there?).
Best Actress - Comedy or Musical - Motion Picture
Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids: this may be part-wishful thinking, but she deserves it. The woman is a comedic juggernaut.
Honourable Mention: It's like an Oscar who's who here. 'Nuff said.
Best Actor - Comedy or Musical - Motion Picture
Jean Dujardin - The Artist: an intuitive actor-friend raved about the film and George Clooney called him "fantastic" - going with my gut.
Honourable Mention: I'd love to see "The Gos" get it for Crazy, Stupid, Love. I always suspected he had good comic timing. Plus, my sister watched the whole thing and I'm pretty sure she has some form of undiagnosed adult ADD.
Best Actress - Drama - Motion Picture
Viola Davis - The Help: in her first lead role, as the quiet, courageous Aibileen, who dares to tell the truth about the real lives of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 60s, made me laugh, cry, and was riveting in every scene. Plus, she's branded my memory with these words for the rest of my life: "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."
Honourable Mention: Meryl Streep's The Iron Lady is the strongest contender, but Rooney Mara as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a revelation.
Best Actor - Drama - Motion Picture
George Clooney - The Descendants: as Matt King, "a guy who's never won an argument" in Clooney's own words, the actor might have embraced his most memorable character yet. He is, at times, awkward, nervous, and confounded, as a land baron who has been absent from his own marriage and the lives of his tempestuous daughters, only to return when his wife slips into a coma after a boating accident. But it's his restraint as a character and an actor that blew me away. I didn't know that charisma was something you could turn down to "Low" until seeing this, and the result was beyond impressive.
Honourable Mention: Brad Pitt in Moneyball - Clooney's buddy is his biggest rival in this category, and Michael Fassbender brings it once again, as a tormented man with a sex addiction in Shameless.
Best Animated Feature Film
Puss in Boots: it was great seeing Banderas and Hayek reunited - even as animated felines. Endearing characters and a lot of laughs. Me-ow.
Honourable Mention: Rango was great and I'd be happy to see it win, as well. (That snake alone - c'MON.)
Best Foreign Language Film
A Separation: I haven't seen this highly-praised Iranian film, but its popularity at our film festival this year and subsequent rave reviews tell me it's the horse to bet on.
Honourable Mention: The Skin I Live In from acclaimed Spanish director, Pedro Almodóvar.
(I don't care about the Best Song category, so I'm skipping it. I can do that.)
Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: I heard and felt the score for this one throughout the film as if it was another character. ...And the fact that I went through an awesome NIN phase back in the day did not influence my decision. Much.
Honourable Mention: Howard Shore (Hugo) and John Williams (War Horse) are always stiff competition.
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian - Moneyball: call it a hunch.
Honourable Mention: I'd love to see Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, and Jim Rash take it for The Descendants, but we can't rule out Woody, either (Midnight in Paris).
Best Director - Motion Picture
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist: another hunch. This one's a crap shoot, folks.Honourable Mention: More like, Glaring Omission - where's Fincher??
Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Bridesmaids: not just because Kristen Wiig is comic dynamo or because Melissa McCarthy stole every scene she was in, but due to the fact that this was an incredible year for women at the box office and winning the Globe would just be frosting on the cupcake.
Honourable Mention: those black & white mute people better not steal our cupcake!!! (Read: The Artist)
Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Descendants: it's a solid, memorable film that deserves to win.
Honourable Mention: The Help was more about the performances for me, but it would still be lovely to see them win.
That's it for the film portion, folks - stay tuned for my television Globe predictions before Sunday night's show (this means you, Dad)!