When it comes to the acting categories, Best Actor is a horse race, Best Actress is a wash, Best Supporting Actress -- as we'll soon learn -- is the most competitive, but Best Supporting Actor? This field may actually hold the most surprises when the nominations are announced a little over four months from now.
Sure, "Inglourious Basterds'" Christoph Waltz is the presumptive favorite, but the quartet who joins him could provide any number of honest challengers. "An Education's" Alfred Molina, "The Hurt Locker's" Anthony Mackie, "The Messenger's" Woody Harrelson and "Me and Orson Welles'" Christian McKay are all performances Academy members could rally around. Plus, George Clooney is truly great in "The Men Who Stare At Goats." It sounds improbable, but could the Year of the Clooney end with the industry favorite bringing home two acting statues? Stranger things have happened.
Click here to take a gander at the pros and cons of this year's pool of potential nominees and share your thoughts below.
Look for additional contenders breakdowns in the weeks to come. For a rundown on the 2010 Best Picture contenders, click here. For a look at the Best Actor field, click here and for Best Actress, click here.
For constant updates on awards season and entertainment news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter at Twitter.com/HitFixGregory