First, keep an open mind.
Second, also keep it closed.
The art of Oscar predictions is to both embrace the obvious and then to shoo it away. You can't let the obvious choices hoodwink you into believing that the same types of movies and same exact people that were once embraced will be reembraced each year. Because it doesn't work (exactly) like that.
Like anyone else I've made some terrible calls over the years but one thing I'm really proud of in my Oscar prediction track record is that I am not as beholden to statistics as some of my fellow pundits. That's how I've been able to call people correctly who the precursors didn't treat that well. Some of my proudest "they'll be nominated!" moments over the years: Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock; Pedro Almodovar for Talk to Her; Laura Linney for The Savages and in some cases, noone else was saying so. It's also how I've avoided "obvious" traps way early in the punditry game like how so many people were predicting Daniel Day-Lewis for Nine or Cate Blanchett for Benjamin Button for so very long. Not me. Sometimes if the call seems too easy, it is.
Not that I haven't stumbled myself but I'm focusing on the positive here.
<--- Rinko Kikuchi in Japan's Norwegian Wood
The remainder of the first wave of 2010/11 Oscar season predictions will be finalized this weekend since only the big six categories remain. But everything else is now up including Score, Techs and Foreign. The latter is totally foolish guesswork since Cannes is still a month away and even then each country's submissions can go any which way. And finally there's also a page up for Animated Film. Open Mind: I don't think that Toy Story 3 is a sure thing for a win. Isn't Oscar going to get sick of handing trophies to Pixar films? Discuss.
I get the sense from various comments, e-mails and poll results that there's a whole subsection of reader who wish I'd swerve into the pixels a little more often. So I shall try this year. It's strange that I write about animation so rarely because I do like the medium quite a lot. In fact, until I was about 20 I wanted to be an animator.