In the end, Avatar did far better than I was expecting. Initially I had figured it would not land nominations for screenplay, costume or song. But now it looks like it might, so I'm betting that Avatar could land an amazing 12 nominations, even without any actors. By comparison, Titanic scored 14 noms and won 11 Oscars. After Avatar, The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds could earn eight nominations each, Up in the Air and Star Trek seven, District 9 six, Precious five, An Education, Sherlock Holmes, Crazy Heart, Invictus and Up three, and A Serious Man, The Last Station, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Nine, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and A Single Man two.
That leaves among the single digit titles: The Blind Side, Julie & Julia, The Messenger, The Lovely Bones, Ponyo, The Princess and the Frog, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, Bright Star, The Young Victoria, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Where the Wild Things Are, Everybody's Fine and 2012--plus the foreign and doc nominees. I'm probably off-base to a degree, especially with the hard-to-call music categories. One category that's wide open to surprises is supporting actor. Other than likely ultimate winner Christoph Waltz, nobody is a lock in that one. We'll see tomorrow.