And the Oscar Goes to…

Most people are waiting for the fashion and glamour that come with The Oscars, but for die hard movie buffs this time of year is simply magical.

Magic transpires from the moment the host steps on the stage. The host this year will be a familiar face as actor and comedian Billy Crystal will take on the duties, making it Crystal’s ninth time hosting the awards show.

The competition at the 84th annual Oscars ceremony has never been stiffer. With only days to go before the big day, analysts have been making round the clock predictions.

Top Categories like Best Actress and Best Actor in a Motion Picture honestly have no clear cut favorite as of yet. If there is a favorite, it’s only by a slight margin. Take for example the Best Actress category.

Veteran actors Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs, Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady and Viola Davis for The Help all received nominations for the category. These women who are no strangers to the big screen are competing against Hollywood’s leading ladies. Actresses in the likes of fresh-faced Rooney Mara for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and familiar face Michelle Williams for her performance in My Week with Marilyn are all destined to make history in the category, win or lose. As great as the latter movies were, in the end the award will come down between Meryl Streep and Viola Davis, with Davis taking the golden statue home. The Best Actor award is also hotly contested with actors like Brad Pitt for Moneyball and George Clooney for The Descendants gunning against each other. The other actors in the running for the award are Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Jean Dujardin for The Artist and Demain Bichir for A Better Life. George Clooney’s role in The Descendants will give him the edge in this category.

The Best Supporting Actor category has a pretty interesting pick of actors this year. There are no names that stand out to the average moviegoer per se, beside that of funny man Jonah Hill for his role in Moneyball. The actor favored to win is Christopher Plummer for his role in the film The Beginners.

The other actors up for the nod are Kenneth Branaugh for My Week with Marilyn, Nick Nolte for Warrior and Max Von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The Best Supporting Actress category has Berneice Bejo for The Artist, Jessica Chastain for The Help, Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs and Octavia Spencer for The Help. Octavia Spencer who played the role of maid Minnie is favored to walk away with the coveted award.

However, none of these movies took away the most nominations, or the most chances to receive a golden statuette quite like this past year’s biggest animated film. That title belongs to the animated film Hugo, which was written and produced by the legendary Martin Scorsese. The film racked up eleven nominations, for awards including Best Director, for Scorsese and Best Visual Effects, and is likely to win in all three categories. Other films with numerous nominations are: The Artist with 10 nods, and Moneyball and War Horse with six each.

Next up are The Descendants and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with five and The Help and Midnight in Paris with four. Albert Nobbs, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part II, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Tree of Life each have three nominations. Major wins are predicted for the silent film The Artist, including Best Picture.There may be some upsets involving either The Descendants or War Horse, but overall the show will be filled with laughs, and memorable speeches and is a definite must watch.

The show is held annually at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater and will be broadcast on Sunday Feb. 26 on ABC 7.