Of the films I named in my top eleven of last year, only three make the short list (although admittedly Black Swan featured in last years awards) but none of this comes as much of a surprise. I think "Drive" perhaps should have featured in "Best Director" or "Best Cinematography", but that never seemed likely to happen. "Marcy Martha May Marlene" however, definitely should have been acknowledged, along with it's star Elizabeth Olsen.
As an animator I'm pleased to see Andy Serkis has not been nominated for his motion capture work in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." While Serkis is a fine actor and gives a great performance, a nomination would have denigrated all the hard work done by the animators who had to convert his movement into the physiology of an ape. Perhaps as this technology gains popularity there should be a separate category that acknowledges both actor and animators. For this reason I'm also relieved to see "The Adventures of Tintin" has not been nominated in best animation (although I found the film entertaining). If "Tintin" had been nominated "Best Animated Feature" then "Avatar" surely would have been eligible too.
The main category that seems way off is the "Best Documentary" which has a ton of great films that didn't get included. The shortlist does not include "The Interrupters", "Project Nim", "Senna", "George Harrison: Living in the Material World", "Life in a Day", "Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey" or "Tabloid."
Anyway, here's my very early guesses at what and who will win the major awards (predicted winners in bold, films I've seen in black, films I've not seen in blue). As there's many films I've yet to see, I've made my decisions based on general awards buzz and critical reaction.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
From my predictions, "The Artist" should finish with the most awards (6), but we'lll have to wait and see. I'll hopefully reappraise my choices nearer the awards in late February when I've hopefully had time to see more of the films.