CATEGORIES Movie News
I realize it's weird, but the Oscar nominations announcement has been almost as big an event for me as watching the awards themselves. For decades, it's been a ritual. I make my coffee, sit on the couch, and watch Good Morning America and E! as the news pours in.

As a kid, I used to tape the nominations and watch them when I got home from school. Without the Internet, I never had to worry about anyone spoiling the news. As years went on, my interest only peaked. I used to go into high school late on "announcement day" because movies meant so much more to me than Earth Science did. By college, I'd bring a beat-up Watchman (yes, I'm showing my age) and listened with headphones on in the middle of class.

For years, "announcement day" meant comparing my predictions to the always on-point critic Joel Siegel before the real ones were revealed. While the late great movie critic passed away in 2007, I'm always reminded about those special times during my younger days.

This year -- specifically a week from today (Jan. 24) -- I will be passing this odd tradition onto my newborn son, who unknowingly, will watch with me. As always, following the announcements, I will call my dad and give him the rundown of who did and didn't get nominated. Getting to the point of this post, here's my stab at predicting most of the categories for the 84th Annual Academy Award.The nominations are actually a little harder to predict this year since new rules allow for up to 10 Best Picture nominees (I predict eight because I sense Oscar votes will show some love to Harry Potter ... I could be wrong) but here goes nothing...

Best Picture The Artist The Descendants Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 The Help Hugo Midnight in Paris Moneyball War Horse Should Be Nominated But Won't: Warrior Snub Potential: The Tree of Life, War Horse

Best Actor George Clooney, The Descendants Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar Jean Dujardin, The Artist Michael Fassbender, Shame Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Should Be Nominated But Won't: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50 Snub Potential: Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Best Actress Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs Viola Davis, The Help Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Should Be Nominated But Won't: Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Snub Potential: Charlize Theron, Young Adult (If she gets nominated look for Swinton to be left off)

Best Supporting Actor Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn Albert Brooks, Drive Christopher Plummer, Beginners Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Should Be Nominated But Won't: Nick Nolte, Warrior Snub Potential: Jonah Hill, Moneyball, Armie Hammer, J. Edgar (I'm going out on a limb with Von Sydow and especially Hoffman but my gut is my gut. If either of them don't get in, expect one of these two to slip in. No matter who gets nominated no one is beating Plummer by the way...)

Best Supporting Actress Berenice Bejo, The Artist Jessica Chastain, The Help Carey Mulligan, Shame Octavia Spencer, The Help Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Should Be Nominated But Won't: Judy Greer, The Descendants; Anna Kendrick, 50/50 Snub Potential: Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs, Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Best Director Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life Alexander Payne, The Descendants Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Should Be Nominated But Won't: Bennett Miller, Moneyball Snub Potential: Steven Spielberg, War Horse

The Rest...

Best Original Screenplay The Artist Bridesmaids 50/50 Midnight in Paris Young Adult

Best Adapted Screenplay The Descendants The Help Hugo Moneyball Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Best Animated Feature Arthur Christmas The Adventures of Tin Tin Rango (If five, expect Kung-Fu Panda and Puss in Boots)

Best Cinematography The Artist The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Hugo The Tree of Life War Horse

Best Score The Artist Drive The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Hugo War Horse

Best Original Song Lay Your Head Down - Albert Nobbs Hello Hello - Gnomeo & Juliet The Living Proof - The Help Life's a Happy Song - The Muppets Man or Muppet? - The Muppets

Art Direction The Artist Captain America The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Hugo

Costume Design The Artist The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Hugo The Iron Lady Midnight in Paris

Film Editing The Artist The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Moneyball War Horse The Descendants

Best Visual Effects Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Rise of the Planet of the Apes The Tree of Life X-Men: First Class

Best Sound Editing Captain America Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Rise of the Planet of the Apes War Horse Best Sound Mixing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Hugo Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Rise of the Planet of the Apes War Horse

Best Make-Up Albert Nobbs Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 The Iron Lady