Well, we are almost a week away and the anticipation is building. Oscar Frenzy will submit their final list of predictions in all categories next Thursday. But for now, let’s take an up close look at some of the most hotly contested categories.

Best Picture:

Obviously, this is the one everyone is talking about. It’s looking like it will come down to The Hurt Locker vs. Avatar. At first glance, The Hurt Locker seems to have the edge. It’s won the PGA, DGA, BAFTA, and the Broadcast Award. It’s easily dominated among the critics, and director Kathryn Bigelow is widely loved and respected. The Academy can make history by awarding Best Picture for the first time to a film directed by a woman. But you can’t forget what’s standing in its way. Only the highest grossing movie of ALL TIME. Sure, Avatar is a sci-fi film and the Academy doesn’t like sci-fi. Sure, it’s got no writing and acting nominations. Sure, it’s directed by the arrogant James Cameron. But it’s still Avatar, the movie event of the year. In the end, people usually tend to vote for the film they had the strongest emotional connection to. The Hurt Locker was an excellent film across the board, but not a particularly moving or emotional film. Avatar, on the other hand, featured a love story and an underdog story. While the story is not particularly original, it may appeal more to the masses. All that being said, we are not quite ready for call this race yet. The Hurt Locker has got to still be the favorite, and it’s already proven it can win a preferential ballot (with the PGA), but can a film that only made $12 million at the box office really beat a film that will make more than $700 million? We’re leaning toward The Hurt Locker, but this prediction is subject to change.

Best Cinematography:

This one also comes down to The Hurt Locker versus Avatar. If you look at precursors, it’s pretty even. Avatar won at the Broadcast Awards and The Hurt Locker triumphed at the BAFTAs. Avatar is prettier, but it’s also largely computer generated and filmed on a soundstage. The Hurt Locker is gripping and very realistic. War movies tend to fare well in this category. However, The Hurt Locker did not score an art direction nomination, which usually goes hand in hand with cinematography. We’ll go with Avatar for now, but there is no doubt that The Hurt Locker could pull the upset.

Best Editing:

Once again, the same two films are in contention. Are you sensing a pattern here? Once again, a split in previous awards as Avatar won Broadcast and The Hurt Locker won BAFTA. This award often coincides with Best Picture, although action films have also fared well, such as Black Hawk Down, The Matrix, and The Bourne Ultimatum. The Hurt Locker won the ACE Eddie award, which is an award handed out by fellow editors. Some people may think Avatar was too long, but then again, Titanic was over three hours long and James Cameron ended up taking the podium for editing that year. We’ll go with The Hurt Locker for now, but it’s entirely possible Avatar could clean up all the tech categories, so we’ll keep monitoring the race closely.