Before I get to the main topic of this week’s column, there’s something I have to get off my chest: Buy Marie Moreshead’s new self-titled CD NOW. It’s the best album I’ve heard in months, not only in terms of local music (Marie’s a Portlander) but in terms of all music. Plus, you can catch her perform some of the songs at 7 p.m. Friday at Blue in Portland, and it will only cost you a few bucks as a donation to the club.

OK, that’s out of the way. Moving on …

The Academy Award nominations were announced at 8:38 a.m. Tuesday, and around 8:39 a.m., out came the critics weighing in with their opinions about who got snubbed, who didn’t deserve the nomination, which film got too many nominations, which film didn’t get enough, and blah blah blahdedy blah.

When it comes to the Oscars, everyone thinks they’re an expert, and the amount of ink and airtime devoted to them trying to convince others of their expertise has only just begun.

Far be it from me to break the tradition. In an attempt to get in front of the pack, I’ve already assembled my Oscar predictions for the major categories. Keep in mind that I haven’t seen most of the nominated films. When you have an 8-year-old at home, your theatrical viewing is usually limited to stuff made by Pixar and featuring celebrity voice-overs.

But most movie critics just guess anyway. At least I’m honest about it.

BEST PICTURE: “True Grit.” I’ve seen this one, so it gets my vote. I’ve also seen “Inception,” but psychological thrillers with complicated plots rarely get the prize; and “Toy Story 3,” but no animated film has ever won Best Picture in the 83-year history of the Academy. So I’m going with the Western.

BEST ACTOR: Jeff Bridges, “True Grit.” First, as I’ve already pointed out, I’ve seen this one. Plus, he’s been a darling of critics since “Crazy Heart,” and anyone who can out-Duke John Wayne deserves props.

BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan.” Haven’t seen it. But the Academy loves films that are arty and involve some form of emotional and/or physical trauma, and Natalie needs something to compensate for sharing screen time with Ashton Kutcher in “No Strings Attached.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian Bale, “The Fighter.” Mark Walhberg was robbed of his nomination, so this will somewhat make up for that.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Adams, “The Fighter.” Because I like Amy Adams. And because she’s hot.

BEST DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech.” A biopic about a royal who overcomes adversity? They might as well tell the other nominees to stay home right now.

So those are my picks. What are yours? You’ll get a chance to tell us and enter a contest for movie tickets beginning Sunday, when our annual Oscar poll launches in the Maine Sunday Telegram and online at pressherald.com.

And with that unabashed plug, I bid you adieu until next week.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at:

[email protected]