With the 2010 Academy Awards right around the corner, here are my picks to win the Oscar:

Best Picture

There are 2 major favorites in this category, the world’s highest grossing film of all time: Avatar, and one of last year’s lowest grossing films: The Hurt Locker.  This match up looks to be a daunting one, and I personally like The Hurt Locker more than Avatar, but if the votes split, there might be an upset winner: Up in the Air.

My Pick: The Hurt Locker
Runner Up: Avatar
Upset Winner: Up in the Air

Best Director

Another very close race, this time for Best Director. Again, it’s mainly the same 3 films in contention, and even though Avatar is as beautiful as it is and Up in the Air such a graceful, hip movie, Kathryn Bigelow will edge them all out, winning at least 2 awards for The Hurt Locker.

My Pick: Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
Runner Up: Jason Reitman – Up in the Air
Upset Winner: James Cameron – Avatar

Best Actor

Possibly the single hardest category to choose from, the Best Actor category has so many great performances that it will virtually be a toss up.  Jeff Bridges portrayal of Bad Blake, a drunk, old Country singer on his last leg finding love in a young single mother was dreadfully superb.  George Clooney came out sly as Sinatra and smooth as Cary Grant in his part as a traveling businessman caught up in a whirlwind of relationships gone awry.  And Jeremy Renner was cool under pressure as the daredevil soldier slowing losing bits of his humanity in the face of a turbulent war.  All three were truly a sight to behold, but I think Jeff Bridges will edge out the competition and bring home the Oscar gold.  I’ll be completely surprised if Morgan Freeman wins in his role as Mandela as I personally thought it was just par for the course.

My Pick: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Runner Up: George Clooney – Up in the Air
Complete Surprise: Morgan Freeman – Invictus

Best Actress

This category is filled with such amazing performances: Gabourey Sidibe’s role as the title character, Precious, was simply heart wrenching as you truly felt sorry for the situation that she was put in to.  Meryl Streep was exceptionally brilliant as Julia Childs in Julie and Julia and made you believe that she was the real Julia.  Carey Mulligan also put in a commendable performance as a naive young girl in 1950′s Britain swept away in a whirlwind romance. But, Sandra Bullock’s portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the woman who brought a young, troubled, black man into her house and helped him find his way was truly inspiring… and at times very amusing.

My Pick: Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Runner Up: Gabourey Sidibe – Precious

Best Supporting Actor

This year, without a doubt, the performance given by virtual unknown (at least by American standards) Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds stands feet about the rest.  His portrayal of the ruthless, diabolical SS “Jew Hunter” Colonel Landa made the entire film.  I dare say that his portrayal was much better than any other actor nominated for any other award save for the Best Supporting Actress.

My Pick: Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
Runner Up: Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
Complete Surprise: Matt Damon – Invictus

Best Supporting Actress

Another pick that I have no doubt about is for the Best Supporting Actress.  Although Maggie Gyllenhaal was magnificent as a journalist and single mother who falls in love an old, battered, drunk, country music legend Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart and Vera Farmiga was one of the reasons that I loved Up In The Air, they were in no comparison to Mo’nique as Clarice Precious Jones mother in Precious. Mo’nique surprised me as the violently verbal and physically abusive mother who’s only concern was not her child or grandchildren but the welfare which she was so dependent on.  The amount of hate that she had in her heart was only serving to mask her true self and Mo’nique played this part wonderfully.

My Pick: Mo’Nique – Precious
Runner Up: tie Maggie Gyllenhaal / Vera Farmiga
Complete Surprise: Anna Kendrick

And Rounding off the rest:

Best Animated Feature Film

My Pick: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Runner Up: Up

Best Original Screenplay

My Pick: Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds

Best Adapted Screenplay

My Pick: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner – Up in the Air

Best Original Score

My Pick: Avatar – James Horner

Best Original Song

My Pick: The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) from Crazy Heart – Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Documentary Feature

My Pick: The Cove