– Crystal Holmes, Ashleigh Gray, Luke Morton, Samantha Viner and Elizabeth Fish contributed to this article

The 82nd Oscars are looming, and the event promises to be different from previous ones. Viewers can now “play along” on the website, or are encouraged to hold Oscar parties, but if you’re fed up of watching actors and actresses cry through long speeches, the event organisers have cut speech time down to 45 seconds (winners can reel off their full speech to a camera backstage). The night looks to be an interesting one, with “Avatar” up for nine awards, “Up in the Air” nominated for six and “Inglourious Basterds” nominated for eight. The Linc’s Culture section takes a look at the biggest awards and predicts the outcome.

Were we right on the night? Check out the winners below:

Best Picture
At first glance the obvious winner is “Avatar”. Being the highest grossing film of all time and arguably one of the most famous, it’s going to be a tough film to beat. However “Inglorious Basterds” and “District 9” are both fantastic pictures to behold, both with great acting and brilliant storylines. Although, “The Hurt Locker” might surprise us all after taking the BAFTAs.

Prediction: Avatar
Winner: The Hurt Locker

Animated Feature Film
There have been a lot of animated features over the last 12 months, Pixar’s “Up” being possibly the favourite. Whereas most animations are aimed primarily at the younger audience, “Up” really appealed to film fans young and old. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” did this too, taking a story we all know and love and adding a bit more to it.

Prediction: Up
Winner: Up

Visual Effects
Again “Avatar” could quite easily storm this one, having taken place almost entirely against blue screens and being primarily CGI. It looked fantastic, no one can doubt that, but it’s almost a given that “Avatar” will win – hopefully “District 9” or “Star Trek” will sneak a victory. The ‘prawns’ in “District 9” need at least an honorary mention.

Prediction: Avatar
Winner: Avatar

Art Direction
There are a variety of entries for this category, from the early streets of London in “Sherlock Holmes” to the stage in “Nine”, and another dimension of the mind in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. Also in this category is “The Young Victoria” and “Avatar”, and it is through their art direction that they so perfectly match their intended eras. Although there is wonderful craftsmanship in all the features in this category, it will probably be one of the possible nine scoops for “Avatar”.

Prediction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Avatar
Winner: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Avatar

Short Film (Animated)
The entries for this category are all amusing animated features, but it seems that “A Matter of Loaf and Death” is the favourite, as Wallace and Gromit return in a short search for a serial killer threatening their bakery. “Logorama” plays a role in showing audiences how consumer driven we have become, whilst a man simply loses his wallet in “French Roast”. Death and Doctor battle over a lady’s life in “The Lady and The Reaper”, and “Sleeping Beauty” is retold in “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”.

Prediction: Nick Park, A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Winner: Nicolas Schmerkin, Logorama

Music (Original Score)
James Horner is again nominated for his work on “Avatar”, and has already claimed victory in this category for “Titanic’s” score in 1997. Another Oscar winner is in this category for his work on “Sherlock Holmes”, and that is Hans Zimmer. Other scores that are up for nomination are “The Hurt Locker” (Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders), “Up” (Michael Giacchino) and “The Fantastic Mr Fox” (Alexandre Desplat).

Prediction: Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes.
Winner: Michael Giacchino, Up

Music (Original Song)
Previous Oscar winner Randy Newman is nominated twice in this category for his songs “Almost There” and “Down in New Orleans” in Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”. Other nominations go to Maury Yeston for “Take it All” in the musical “Nine”, Reinhardt Wagner for “Loin de Paname” in “Paris 36” and Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett for “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart”.

Prediction: Randy Newman, ‘Almost There’.
Winner: Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett, “The Weary Kind”

Original Screenplay
Think what you will about the film, but there’s no doubt that Quentin Tarantino took a bold risk with his movie “Inglorious Basterds”. There’s no way he’ll win the big “Best Picture”, but he should be rewarded for his originality and it might well be here.

Prediction: Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Winner: The Hurt Locker (Mark Boal)

Adapted Screenplay
Though it would be nice to see “In the Loop” nab this, too much swearing and being up against commercial favourites “Precious” and “Up in the Air” makes it impossible. The latter has lost momentum at the award ceremonies recently, but will probably pick up this one after being a critic’s favourite from day one.

Prediction: Up in the Air
Winner: Precious

Providing “The Hurt Locker’s” producer Nicolas Chartier didn’t irritate the Academy too much when he tried to bribe them, Kathryn Bigelow will most likely snatch this from her ex-husband James Cameron (“Avatar”) for her intense war film set in Iraq – this would make her the first female to win the best director prize.

Prediction: Bigalow
Winner: The Hurt Locker

Costume Design
The Academy seem to love period drama costumes, (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and “The Duchess” designers have picked up the gong for the past two years respectively), and so after winning a BAFTA two weeks ago, Sandy Powell looks set to deservedly grab the Oscar for “The Young Victoria”.

Prediction: The Young Victoria
Winner: The Young Victoria

Unlike other categories, there are only three nominations in this category: “Il Divo”, “The Young Victoria” and the newest “Star Trek” film. Although “The Young Victoria” uses effective, natural makeup to get across the Victorian queen’s look,  the edgy, next-generation film “Star Trek” will take this for the many tricks makeup artists must have used.

Prediction: Star Trek
Winner: Star Trek

Actor in a Leading Role
It’s nice to see Brit Colin Firth nominated in this category, although his chances of actually winning are slim considering his competition. “Crazy Heart” star Jeff Bridges is widely regarded the favourite to win following his success at the Golden Globes with the same nomination. First timer Jeremy Renner is also in with a chance thanks to his leading role in “The Hurt Locker”, think of him as a bit of a dark horse.

Prediction: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Winner: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

Actor in a Supporting Role
Again, the Golden Globes have gone a long way in helping to predict the winners of this year’s Oscars. Christoph Waltz is expected to win his first Oscar nomination for his role as Col. Hans Landa in “Inglorious Basterds”. Woody Harrelson’s role in “The Messenger” is also a favourite with the critics but is unlikely to over take Waltz’s performance.

Prediction: Christoph Waltz – Inglorious Basterds
Winner: Christoph Waltz – Inglorious Basterds

Actress in a Leading Role
Leading actress is definitely a two horse race between Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep who both won leading actress awards at the Globes. They are both favourites, but which performance will win the gold? Bullock’s performance in “The Blind Side” is a step out of her comedy comfort zone with dramatic results. Streep’s nomination for “Julie & Julia” is her 16th but her performance may not have been quite good enough to beat Sandra’s first Oscar nomination.

Prediction: Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Winner: Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Actress in a Supporting Role
This category is dominated by Mo’Nique. Her performance in the heart wrenching “Precious” was good enough to win the Golden Globe and this winning streak is likely to continue with the Oscars. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s nomination for “Crazy Heart” is the close second for the supporting role and can be considered as another dark horse for this award. They are both first time nominations but who will have their first win?

Prediction: Mo’Nique – Precious
Winner: Mo’Nique – Precious