There's no clear consensus in this category on which movie should win. "Brave," "Frankenweenie," "Hotel Transylvania," "Rise of the Guardians" and "Wreck-It Ralph" all have a good shot, even if "Brave" might the closest thing to a favorite.
But "Frankenweenie," Tim Burton's passion project that began as one of the director's first short films before becoming a full-length feature almost 30 years later, is the only one to have been part of a popular, if macabre, Museum of Modern Art exhibition.
Best foreign-language film
With the Oscar nominations, "Amour" broke out of the foreign-language category and infiltrated the best picture field, so it's a clear favorite here -- one that should win.
Although the film is an Austrian entry, thanks to director Michael Haneke, "Amour" is in French, and its lovely competitors include "A Royal Affair" (Denmark), "Kon-Tiki" (Norway), "The Intouchables" (France) and "Rust and Bone" (also France).
If there is an upset, expect it to be from one of the French rivals since all three deal with the bonds between disabled people and the caretakers who love them (in different ways ).
Best original score
John Williams ("Lincoln"), Dario Marianelli ("Anna Karenina"), Alexandre Desplat ("Argo"), Mychael Danna ("Life of Pi") and Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil (all for "Cloud Atlas") are the nominees.
Williams -- the most celebrated of the bunch -- will win for creating a score accurate to the musical sensibilities of the 19th century. But the "Cloud Atlas" trio had to create something described in David Mitchell's book as a piece for six instrumental voices, with each solo interrupted by its successor, only to be recontinued in order (just like the book and movie's plot).
Put another way, that's six separate plots in six separate genres, serving as the connective tissue of the larger story. It should win, hands down.
Best original song
Keith Urban and Monty Powell ("For You," from "Act of Valor"), Bon Jovi ("Not Running Anymore," from "Stand Up Guys"), Taylor Swift ("Safe & Sound," from "The Hunger Games") and Adele ("Skyfall," from "Skyfall") are up against the "Les Miserables" juggernaut, which has a new original song in "Suddenly."
The latter's director, Tom Hooper, said, "In the novel, there's an extraordinary description of what it's like for Jean Valjean to discover what it's like to love a child who is in his care, and I felt it was the one thing in the original musical that was slightly underplayed. I asked Claude-Michel Schonberg if they could write a song to show this evolution, and here it is."
"Suddenly" will win -- if "Skyfall" doesn't -- but wouldn't it be a thrill if Swift and "The Hunger Games" could be like Katniss Everdeen in the arena, and come out the surprise victor? May the odds be ever in their favor.