Inching closer to Sunday night, Hollywood is preparing for the biggest night of the year - The 84th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater (starting @ 7pm on ABC with the Red Carpet Coverage).  The other award nights have all led to this final climax for the highest award in the film industry.  Looking into the crystal ball on what may happen, 2 Hollywood power players factor greatly in numerous categories.

George Clooney and Woody Allen have received multiple nominations this year - Clooney (pictured) for writing and acting, and Allen (not pictured - Clooney is nicer on the eyes) for directing and writing.  This fact is important because the odds have shown that someone with a dual nomination usually walks away with at least one Oscar.  Allen is one of 63 people in the Academy history to be a multiple winner in a single year (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Annie Hall in 1977).

With this in mind, numerous categories will be affected for Sunday night.  Today we will at 4 of those categories with the Clooney/Allen factor:

Best Director -- Allen (Midnight In Paris) is battling Clooney indirectly here.  The Descendants, which stars George, has its director Alexander Payne in the battle, along with legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese for his family 3-D flick Hugo.   Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) and Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) round out this category.

SHOULD WIN  --  Hazanavicius  /  WILL WIN  --  Allen

The Artist has the buzz, but how do you deny Woody's highest grossing film of his illustrious career (at $150 Million worldwide).  The work Woody got out of Owen Wilson alone makes him worthy - 4 years removed from his suicide attempt and a series of duds at the box office, Allen tapped into something inside Wilson that made him shine (and only a very strong Best Actor field shut him out from a nomination).  The Artist will be rewarded this night, but that will come later.  Woody Allen does not come out for many events (except for New York Knick basketball games).  Should there be any chance he would be there, give him the award!

Best Original Screenplay -- Allen does not get the rare double so let's look at the other 4: Kristen Wiig of SNL got recognized for Bridesmaids (kudos to the Academy for getting this right), Hazanavicius is a dual nominee as well for The Artist, J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) and Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) roud out this field.

SHOULD WIN  --  Wiig  /  WILL WIN  --  Hazanavicius

The Frenchman, like Allen, will be rewarded for his dual nomination.  These two guys could flip-flop in category win.  Wiig has the biggest box office film at the awards show this year and deserves more than just recognition, but what hurt her chances was the fact the film was not nominated for Best Picture (hard to write the Best Original Screenplay if your film is not among the best of the year - more on that tomorrow!)

Best Adapted Screenplay -- Clooney is up for his adaptation of The Ides of March, and he's battling Payne for the film he starred in (The Descendants).  Former Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin is up for Moneyball, and the other 2 nominees are John Logan for Hugo, plus Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan for Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy.

SHOULD WIN  --  Payne  /  WILL WIN  --  Payne

The dual nominee theory plays again, and the film (with 5 Oscar nominations and about $150 Million worldwide) is considered one of the favorites for Best Picture.  Add it up and it comes up Oscar gold for Payne.

Best Actor -- Clooney is battling his good friend Brad Pitt (Moneyball).  Gary Oldman was the surprise nominee this year because he had no other major award nominations for Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, but his performance steals this film.  Demian Bichir was most known for his 2 seasons on Weeds on SHOWTIME (as Esteban - Drug Lord and Nancy's lover), and now an Oscar nod for A Better Life.  Rounding out the list here is Jean Dujardin for The Artist.

SHOULD WIN  --  Dujardin or Clooney  /  WILL WIN  --  Clooney

The voters will not shut Clooney out  Many critics call his performance the best of his career (backed by his Critics Choice Award win), and George has major fans in the Academy (nominated twice in a year would prove that).  Dujardin has the SAG Award under his belt along with a Golden Globe win, but Clooney also took a Golden Globe this year.  The difference again is the dual nomination factor to the biggest star on the planet right now.

Enjoy this taste for now.  Tomorrow the women take center stage, plus Billy Crystal, Sasha Baron Cohen, and the Best Picture.


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