It's not that Avatar wasn't good. It's that Avatar wasn't great. It was spectacular, in that it was comprised almost entirely of spectacle, and it's a shoe-in for the would-be do-gooders, because it is to the environment what Crash was to racism (that is, an underwhelming movie about a severely dated issue).
So, I guess it's bound to win. In a way, I'm kind of glad that I don't so much follow the Oscars anymore.
It's not that they're meaningless, it's just that they're extremely light-weight. Although, against my better judgments, I'm starting to kind of want to see it in 3D. I have yet to see a live-action movie in 3D, and there are some technical issues that I'd like to get a better, ahem, focus on.