This Sunday it's finally time for the Academy Awards, and if you enjoy a little light gambling and proving your superiority to all your friends, you've probably entered an Oscar pool by now. I don't know any more about the inner workings of the Academy than anybody else, but I have been paying attention to the Oscar race all season, enough to know that you can predict a lot of the categories, not just The Artist winning Best Picture (which is inevitable, everybody).

So, once again, I'm here to help you win your Oscar pool with my best predictions about who will be taking home prizes on Sunday night. We'll start today with some of the technical prizes and the shorts, then move on to the bigger and bigger prizes until Friday, where we'll end with Best Picture and Best Director. Take a look at the categories below to fill out the lower sections of your ballot and keep coming back throughout the week for the full roster.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
And the winner is: Rise of the Planet of the Apes Andy Serkis may not have managed a Best Supporting Actor nod for his portrayal of the rebel ape Caesar, but the CGI wizards who made his performance possible should be able to get a much-deserved win here. We've never seen anything like Caesar before, and it's likely the Academy hasn't either.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse
And the winner is: Hugo. In a category where The Artist isn't eligible, the most-nominated ought to be able to clean up. Think of how well-balanced all the tricky elements of sound are in this film-- the ticking clocks, the bustling train station, the gorgeous score-- and it's not hard to see Hugo is deserving.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse
And the winner is: War Horse. Is it crazy to predict this award won't also go to Hugo? Maybe. But I think the battlefield effects of War Horse, plus the fact that they shot so much of it outside, ought to give War Horse the advantage.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life
And the winner is: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Strange as it seems, Pixar has been on a real losing streak in this category ever since they started cleaning up in the Animated Feature category, but even though they're not nominated there this year, "La Luna" looks unlikely to have the appeal of the widely rumored favorite "Morris Lessmore."

The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic
And the winner is: The Shore. I'm going with starpower for this, since this is the short that stars Ciaran Hinds and is directed by Hotel Rwanda's Terry George. But this category is often primed for surprise, and I'm hearing good enough things about "Time Freak" that it might pull out a win too. "The Shore" seems like the safest pick though.

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
God Is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
Saving Face
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
And the winner is: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. Word has it that "Saving Face" is the most devastating of the bunch, but Sundance entry "Cherry Blossom" seems more topical and has its fans as well.

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