Now for the technical, the foreign, and the shorts:
Life of Pi - Claudio Miranda
Deakins gets shafted -- again. The Shanghai sequence alone is Oscar-worthy. That said, Miranda is a fine choice -- Pi is gorgeous (albeit CGI enhanced).
Argo - William Goldenberg
I can't see the Academy going against the ACE award winner (although they did last year...). My choice would be Zero Dark Thirty, co-edited by... Goldenberg. Good year for that guy.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Anna Karenina - Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer
I haven't seen it (one of the few I missed), but consensus seems to be that the fourth time's the charm for Greenwood and Spencer. Joe Wright's films always have a unique look.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Mirror, Mirror - Eiko Ishioka
Vote against Colleen Atwood at your own peril, but I think I can make an exception for what would, sadly, be a posthumous Oscar, even if the movie was probably shit (hey, The Wolfman has an Oscar).
Les Misérables - Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
I'll be rooting for The Hobbit, so I can't lose either way. But Les Miz has more nominations and the sheer number of closeups means more, er, face time for the makeup.
Life of Pi - Mychael Danna
It seems like this category has been really easy to call the last few years. This was also a weak year for scores -- none of the nominees were particularly memorable (haven't seen/heard Karenina).
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Skyfall - "Skyfall" - Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
A damn fine Bond theme after a pretty long string of misfires (Madonna? Chris Cornell?).
BEST SOUND MIXING
Les Misérables - Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, and Simon Hayes
Live singing, yadda yadda yadda. I'd vote for Skyfall.
BEST SOUND EDITING
Life of Pi - Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
There's usually a "When in doubt, pick X" movie in the technical categories. This year, it's Life of Pi.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Life of Pi - ill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott
This time I'm not in doubt -- this is a lock. As impressive as anything this side of Avatar. Prometheus deserves a mention here as well.
BEST ANIMATED FILM
Wreck-It-Ralph - Rich Moore
Down year for Pixar, plus it cleaned up at the Annies. More importantly, I saw it -- and loved it.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Amour - Michael Haneke
Lock. It. In. Just like Jean-Louis Trintignant tried to do with that fucking pigeon.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Searching for Sugar Man - Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn
Because it's the only documentary most people heard about this year. I think this category is more open than most think though -- notoriously hard to predict. Watch for Plague and Gatekeepers.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Open Heart - Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
Because the internets told me so. (I never see -- or want to see -- these things).
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Paperman - John Kahrs
A so-so slate this year -- not true standout as in years past. But Disney's Paperman is the most accomplished, and should win. Anyone with a spare two minutes should check out Fresh Guacamole.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Curfew - Shawn Christiansen
I've seen all of these and Death of a Shadow is by far the best. Curfew is trite, to be sure, but also enjoyable and, important for voting purposes, American.