This year's nominees for Best Editing are Black Swan, The Fighter, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, and The Social Network. (How is Inception not on that list?) As always, voters in this category have a choice between awarding solid storytelling or flashy, stylized editing. The one that stands out to me is 127 Hours, where the editor had to depict James Franco's character's mindset from multiple sources and build to a frenetic climax. In fact, discussion of the movie focuses as much on the editing as Franco's performance and those shocking three minutes near the end.
Best Sound Editing is about sound effects and there are five great nominees: Inception, Toy Story 3, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, and Unstoppable. Unstoppable probably has the most sound effects and Tron: Legacy probably has the most exotic, but I'm going to give my pick to Inception. Voters always want to give awards to high-quality prestige pictures, but categories like this are dominated by action films. Giving it to Inception solves both problems.
Best Sound Mixing takes all the sound aspects of a movie into consideration - how the dialogue, effects, music, and foley all work together. The nominees are Inception, The King's Speech, Salt, The Social Network, and True Grit. One of my chief complaints about The Social Network was its sound mix, so I'm inclined to count it out. Again, Inception seems the likely choice. It was a highly technical production with a lot of sound aspects, but it was still a cerebral prestige film. I think voters will feel good about giving them the win here.
The Best Visual Effects nominees are Alice In Wonderland, Harry Potter 7a, Hereafter, Inception, and Iron Man 2. Once again, a prestige picture has the edge and Inception will likely be the victor. Its main competition is Hereafter (also a prestige film, but lacking Academy support) and Alice In Wonderland (which was created mostly in computers). In the end, though, I think that Alice will clean up in the Artistic categories and that Inception will rock the Technical awards.