This award alternates between the eventual Best Picture winner and a loud blockbuster movie that features great special effects. War movies and musicals have also done well in this category. The last two years saw Oscars handed out to Best Picture winners The Hurt Locker and Slumdog Millionaire. Go a little further back and you’ll find winners for The Bourne Ultimatum, King Kong, Dreamgirls, and The Return of the King. Here are this year’s nominees:

Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit
Salt

Just yesterday, True Grit won the Sound award from the Cinema Audio Society. What does this mean? Not a whole lot. Many films have won the CAS award only to go empty handed at the Academy Awards. The BAFTA Sound award matches up a little better with Oscar and Inception, the consensus favorite, took that down last week.

Normally, we would be high on The King’s Speech, which appears to be the Best Picture winner, but does anyone really think The King’s Speech had exceptional sound? The nomination itself was a surprise to many. On the other hand, The Social Network did have incredible sound. The mixers did a fantastic sound weaving the music and dialogue. Just look at the scene in the club where Justin Timberlake is trying to seduce Zuckerberg by pledging he could put Facebook on five continents. The dialogue is perfectly cued to the boom boom vibrations in the background. Salt’s nominations marks another milestone for mixer Greg P. Russell, who has famously not won despite over 20 nominations. Someone needs to tell the dude to get on board a Scorsese or Nolan film rather do Transformers 3. Or maybe he just doesn’t give a damn about an Oscar.

So in the end, it’s a three way battle between Inception, True Grit, and The Social Network. True Grit is probably a little too quiet to win and The Social Network will likely get voters’ attentions in other categories, such as editing and adapted screenplay. So we are predicting Inception, which features spectacular and loud effects and an overpowering score to walk away with the Oscar.