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Oscar Futures: Our Final Pre-Nomination Predictions

Every week between now and February 2 when the nominations are announced, movies and stars will help themselves — or sometimes, hurt themselves — in the Oscar race. Vulture's "Oscar Futures" will listen for insider gossip, comb the blogs, and out-and-out guess when necessary to track who's up, who's down, and who's currently leading the race for a coveted nomination.

Best Picture UP: The Hurt Locker. The movie's surprise victory at Sunday's Producers Guild Awards gives it a big boost. And like the Oscars, the PGA had ten nominees and used the dreaded preferential ballot. DOWN: Avatar. If money-grubbing producers can't get behind history's biggest-ever movie, then will it have a problem with the Academy's general membership?
CURRENT PREDIX: Avatar, An Education, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Invictus, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air.
Best Director UP: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker. Even if Avatar takes Best Picture, she's got a good shot here. And with Locker's stock rising after its PGA victory, she's maybe got a really good shot. DOWN: Jason Reitman, Up in the Air. With Air thought to be in third place behind Locker and Avatar, he's still battling charges that he's not giving his co-writer enough credit.
CURRENT PREDIX: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; James Cameron, Avatar; Lee Daniels, Precious; Jason Reitman, Up in the Air; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds.
Best Actor UP: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart. Though Fox Searchlight was stingier with Heart screeners than Paramount was with Up in the Air ones, Bridges beat Clooney at last weekend's SAG awards, widening his lead. DOWN: George Clooney, Up in the Air. What does Clooney have to do to get an award up in here? He's lost to Bridges at the Globes, the Critics' Choice awards, and now the SAG, too.
CURRENT PREDIX: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; George Clooney, Up in the Air; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.
Best Actress UP: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side. With her win at Saturday's SAG Awards, she pulled ahead of Streep, with whom she tied at the Critics' Choice awards and took dual honors at the Globes. She's the front-runner, we suppose. DOWN: Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia. Losing is probably bad enough, but to do it to Sandra Bullock? Fucking ouch!
CURRENT PREDIX: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; Meryl "T-Bone" Streep, Julie & Julia.
Best Supporting Actor UP: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds. He scored a SAG trophy for supporting actor, plus his work in Basterds was good enough to help the film win the guild's ensemble award, even though it also stars Eli Roth. DOWN: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger. Great though he may be, Waltz's biggest competition hasn't won anything since the NBR awards.
CURRENT PREDIX: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.
Best Supporting Actress UP: Mo'Nique, Precious. In keeping with the law that says she must win every award for Best Supporting Actress given this season, she won a SAG Award last Saturday. DOWN: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air. Great though she may be, Mo'Nique's biggest competition hasn't won anything since the NBR awards.
CURRENT PREDIX: Penélope Cruz, Nine; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo'nique, Precious; Julianne Moore, A Single Man.
Photo: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment