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"It's the veteran stalwart versus the upstart ingénue," Belloni said. "There's a lot of momentum behind Carey Mulligan ("An Education"). She burst onto the scene with this movie. She's in other movies now based on her performance. There's temptation with voters to reward that."

At the same time, Helen Mirren in the Tolstoy biopic "The Last Station" is gaining momentum.

"Sandra Bullock's the wild card," Belloni added. In "The Blind Side," Bullock is in the "feel good movie of the year. If there's an upset, it will be her. People would like to see her win. It would be a nice moment."

Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama

"This is Jeff Bridges' to lose," Belloni said.

Belloni said Bridges, as a washed-up country singer in the film "Crazy Heart," is at his prime and is easily considered the frontrunner.

"The knock on George Clooney is it's just Clooney doing Clooney" in "Up in the Air," he added.

But Belloni said that notion couldn't be more wrong. "It's a character," he said. "And he is so good. There's not any other actor who could pull off his performance."

Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical

"Even though she's competing against herself, I think Meryl Streep still wins," Belloni said. "And it's a pretty clear choice which one of those movies you vote for. Her performance in 'Julie and Julia' was the most talked about, and the one she'll get an Oscar nomination for. It's a much showier, nuanced, much tougher performance," Belloni said, compared to her role in "It's Complicated," for which she's also nominated.

"This is someone known throughout her career as a serious dramatic actress and she got two comedy nods this year," Belloni added. "She's the hottest actress in Hollywood right now."

Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical

"It's too close to call," Belloni said. "Matt Damon's performance was really good, but 'The Informant' has dropped off the radar."

Belloni said the Coen brothers' film "A Serious Man" is good, but some are questioning whether it's more drama than comedy.

Best Supporting Actress

"It's a no brainer," Belloni said of the predicted winner of this category.

"It's Mo'nique's to lose," Belloni said. "She's a real standout. She's getting lot of critics' attention. Mo'nique is such a driving force in 'Precious.'"

And that force could take her all the way to the Oscars, where she's also expected to win in the same category.

Best Supporting Actor

It's Christoph Waltz from Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" "by a landslide," Belloni said. "He's such a standout in this film, especially with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It's his to win."

Best Animated Feature

Belloni said this is likely to be one of the most interesting races with the greatest potential for an upset.

"Up" is considered the front-runner, like other previous Pixar films. But Wes Anderson's "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is a critics' favorite.

"'Up' is almost the safe choice, whereas 'Mr. Fox' is something different," Belloni said. "You could see a real shock."

Best Director

The directors' race is likely to mirror the best picture race.

Belloni said it's a three-way race between Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow, the director of "The Hurt Locker" and Jason Reitman, the "Up in the Air" director.

But Tarantino could pull off an upset win. "He's such a beloved figure, especially in international cinema," Belloni said. "I could see him winning best director."


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