TOH's predictions chart also places "The Artist" at the top for Best Picture, while EW goes for Best Director Michel Hazanavicius as well. While "Hugo" took more overall nominations, in a field with many strong contenders, Best Picture frequently heads to the underdog (example: "The Hurt Locker," "Million Dollar Baby," "A Beautiful Mind"). Of the other tightest race, Best Actress, EW's Dave Karger joins TOH in calling Viola Davis over Meryl Streep "but only by a hair." We also agree on Best Actor George Clooney in "The Descendants."
For comparison Gurus o' Gold also chose "The Artist" ass Best Picture, Clooney for Best Actor, and Davis for Best Actress.
EW highlights that it's a good year to be French; two best picture nominees are set in the City of Lights, "Hugo" as well as "Midnight in Paris," and "The Artist" cast and crew is skews French. Oddly, there is no French representation in Best Foreign Language Film, as Sundance title "Declaration of War" didn't make the final five.
EW points out one notable snub: "Cars 2" is the first Pixar film not to be nominated for an Oscar since the "Best Animated Feature" category was established in 2001. Six of the eight Pixar films nominated in the past 11 years won the Oscar. And for some interesting historical context: "The Artist" is the first silent film in 83 to be nominated for an Oscar, the last to win was "Wings" which picked up the first Best Picture statue ever distributed.