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Will Win: Argo --- It has picked up nearly every other Best Pic award in Tinseltown
Should Win: Silver Linings Playbook --- The best picture of the year. Despite the top-heavy noms, it will likely fall to Argo.
Could Win: Amour --- A critical favorite, pulls the heartstrings. But not a memorable here-and-now kind of movie.
Other nominees:
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’
‘Django Unchained’
‘Les Misérables’
‘Life of Pi’
‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Will Win: Steven Spielberg --- How can the Academy go against their living legend.
Should Win: Ang Lee ---  He filmed the unfilmable.
Could Win: Michael Haneke --- Again, the Academy adores this film and may give it this extra statue.
Other Nominees:
Benh Zeitlin, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’
David O. Russell, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Will Win: Daneil Day-Lewis --- The man became Lincoln. Enough said.
Should Win: Bradley Cooper --- The performance of the year.
Could Win: Joaquin Phoenix --- He is mesmerizing, but his dislike of the award circuit doomed his real chance.
Other Nominees:
Hugh Jackman, ‘Les Misérables’
Denzel Washington, ‘Flight’

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence --- She was amazing, amazing, amazing.
Should Win: Naomi Watts --- Her performance as a mother swept away in the Indonesian tsunami was breathtaking.
Could Win: Emmanuelle Riva --- Oldest nominee. Birthday is Oscar night. Just won a BAFTA. Could spoil the evening.
Other Nominees:
Jessica Chastain, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’
Quvenzhané Wallis, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’


Will Win: Robert De Niro --- Heartbreakingly hilarious.
Should Win: Alan Arkin --- He plays the Hollywood insider too well.
Could Win: Tommy Lee Jones --- It's TLJ for crying out loud.
Other Nominees:
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, ‘The Master’
Christoph Waltz, ‘Django Unchained’


Will Win: Anne Hathaway --- Someone calculated the votes wrong if she loses.
Should Win: Amy Adams --- She is brilliant as the outsider.
Could Win: Helen Hunt --- An Academy favorite in a very sexual performance.
Other Nominees:
Sally Field, ‘Lincoln’
Jacki Weaver, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph --- A hilarious and spot-on feature.
Should Win: Frankenweenie --- Touching beyond words.
Could Win: Brave -- It's Pixar. So, yeah...
Other Nominees:
‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’

Will Win: Amour ---  No chance for anything else to win
Should Win: Amour --- See above
Could Win: Nothing --- See above
Other Nominees:
‘Kon-Tiki’, Norway
‘No’, Chile
‘A Royal Affair’, Denmark
‘War Witch’, Canada

Will Win: Amour --- The Academy loves this kind of script.
Should Win: Moonrise Kingdom --- A touching script.
Could Win: Django Unchained --- Tarantinto always has a shot
Other Nominees:
‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Will Win: Argo --- Has won nearly every script award so far and it comes in as a fave for the big award.
Should Win: Silver Linings Playbook --- Will go down as a classic script. Trust me.
Could Win: Lincoln --- The Academy loves historical scripts.
Other Nominees:
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’
‘Life of Pi’

Will Win: Anna Karenina --- No other period film to match its grandeur.
Should Win: Anna Karenina -- See above
Could Win: Les Miserables --- A chance for this flick to sneak in here.
Other Nominees:
‘Mirror Mirror’
‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

Will Win: Skyfall --- Adele. That is all you need to know.
Should Win: Skyfall --- See above.
Could Win: Nothing else stands a shot.
Other Nominees:
“Before My Time” from ‘Chasing Ice’
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from ‘Ted’
“Pi’s Lullaby” from ‘Life of Pi’
“Suddenly” from ‘Les Misérables’

Will Win: Life of Pi --- Has picked up virtually every score award so far.
Should Win: Skyfall --- Breathless action music. Amazing.
Could Win: Anna Karenina --- Period piece with classical taste.
Other Nominees:

Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man --- Amazing Detroit doc.
Should Win: Searching for Sugar Man -- See above.
Could Win: How to Survive a Plague --- Liberal Hollywood might want to give another doc award to conservative bashing.
Other Nominees:
‘5 Broken Cameras’
‘The Gatekeepers’
‘The Invisible War’


Will Win: Inocente --- Cute, but serious.
Should Win: Redemption --- Very serious.
Could Win: King's Point --- Doc about retirement community issues.
Other Nominees:
‘Kings Point’
‘Mondays at Racine’

Will Win: The Hobbit --- Did you see those beards?
Should Win: The Hobbit --- See above.
Could Win: Les Miserables --- Period piece makeup.
Other Nominees:

Will Win: Anna Karenina --- The theatre-as-a-set thing was brilliant.
Should Win: Anna Karenina --- See above.
Could Win: Les Miserables --- Again, a period piece.
Other Nominees:
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’
‘Life of Pi’

Will Win: Life of Pi
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Could Win: Argo
Other Nominees:
‘Silver Linings Playbook’


Will Win: Life of Pi --- Beautifully shot.
Should Win: Life of Pi -- See above.
Could Win: Lincoln
Other Nominees:
‘Anna Karenina’
‘Django Unchained’

Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Life of Pi
Could Win: Skyfall
Other Nominees:
‘Django Unchained’
‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Will Win: Les Miserables
Should Win: Life of Pi
Could Win: Argo
Other Nominees:


Will Win: Life of Pi --- Astonishing effects
Should Win: Prometheus --- the 3D was beyond amazing
Could Win: The Hobbit --- They love Peter Jackson's WETA
Other Nominees:
‘Marvel’s The Avengers’
‘Snow White and the Huntsman’


Will Win: Paperman --- Nearly perfect, though very saccharine
Should Win: Paperman --- See above
Could Win: Adam and Dog
Other Nominees:
‘Fresh Guacamole’
‘Head over Heels’
‘Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”’


Will Win: Curfew
Should Win: Curfew
Could Win: Asad
Other Nominees:
‘Buzkashi Boys’
‘Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)’
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Well, it is that time of year. Actually that isn't true. For years on end Oscar has made its nominees announcement one or two weeks further into January, but this past year The Academy decided they hated waiting for all the guilds and other awards shows to make their picks and award their winners before The Academy even got around to nominating people and films. So, in an effort to make themselves "more relevant" they pushed up the nominations window. This had three huge impacts. First, nominations began near the beginning of December. Several films, including some of the biggest and most anticipated, had not even opened at the theater. This means that some of the Academy voters didn't get a chance to see all of the films. The second impact was ending the nomination period before all of the guilds (especially the influential Directors Guild) had a chance to make their feelings known. This could result in the broader Academy and the member guilds having very different picks. Finally, this is the first time in decades that the Academy makes its nominations before the Golden Globes are handed out. This, again, could result in some diverging picks.

And this isn't even noting the new e-voting....

Two quick nomination thoughts before the list:

1) Two movies that hit it big were Beasts of the Southern Wild and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK! Beasts is the little movie that could. It got a best actress nomination (including the youngest actress ever nominated), along with screenwriting and directing. Love it, love it, love it. And my personal favorite all along has been Silver Linings Playbook. SLP scored the sextuplet of nominations at the top. SLP has someone from ALL FOUR acting categories. SLP got a directing nod. And it got a Best Picture nod. This is a feat that has not been matched in more than three decades. And, in nearly every case (all but one in the history of The Academy), the film went on to win Best Picture.

2) Where are the big name directors? Sure, Spielberg got a nod for Lincoln, but Kathryn Bigelow didn't get a nom for Zero Dark Thirty. Tom Hooper didn't get one for Les Miserables. Ben Affleck didn't get one for  Argo. The chances of a film winning Best picture fall VERY dramatically when the film's director doesn't get nominated. In fact, it has been so long since a film won Best Picture without having its director nominated that it is considered a "death knell" for a film's chances.

So. On to the nominees. This will include the list of nominees in the top categories and my CURRENT thoughts on the CURRENT front-runners:

Best Picture:

"Beasts of the Southern Wild"--- Could be a dark house. Watch out SLP!

"Silver Linings Playbook" --- Not only is the my favorite, but getting a nod in every top category vaults it to the front.

"Zero Dark Thirty"

"Lincoln"--- Another dark horse. A historical Spielberg film has to be in the mix until the end.

"Les Miserables"

"Life of Pi"


"Django Unchained"


Best Director:

David O'Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook" ---- He has to be the frontrunner now with no Bigelow, Affleck or Hooper.

Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"--- Could be a dark horse because of the technical achievements in the film.

Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"

Michael Haneke, "Amour"

Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"



Best Actor:

Daniel Day Lewis, "Lincoln"--- Dark horse one because he becomes Lincoln.

Denzel Washington, "Flight" --- Dark horse two because he is simply amazing.

Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"

Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook" --- Hands down the favorite for the moment.

Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"


Best Actress:

Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"

Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"--- Dark horse one. She is very good; very versatile.

Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"--- Frontrunner. Not because of SLP's nomination haul, but because she is just that good.

Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"

Quvenzhané Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"--- Who could say no to the youngest Oscar nominee ever?


Best Supporting Actor:

Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"

Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"

Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook" --- He is irresistible here. Hilarious, infuriating, sad.

Alan Arkin, "Argo"

Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"


Best Supporting Actress:

Sally Field, "Lincoln"

Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables" --- She should have this in the bag.

Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook"--- But SLP could run the table.

Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"

Amy Adams, "The Master"

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I am back. For the moment.

I will be posting my thoughts on the Oscar 2013 nominations early tomorrow. Until then,




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Yep, it is THAT time of year again. Time for the Hollywood elite and their addiction therapists to step out from the shadows and into a primetime telecast!

Like last year's Oscars, there are again 10 nominees for Best Picture. But this year the Academy is using a variation of "preferential voting" to determine winners. That means the most number one rankings do not a winner make. In fact, the winning picture could, mathematically, be ranked as low as sixth on a majority of ballots and still come away a winner. I am sure that puts a lot of faith in the Academy!

Anywho, here is a list of nominees for each category followed by who SHOULD win and who is LIKELY to win. Because of the preferential voting, it is beyond impossible to say who will win, just who is most likely.

Oh, and I will also be live blogging the Oscars beginning anywhere from 4 to 7 (when the show starts), depending on my setup. So, here it goes:

"127 Hours"
"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The King's Speech"
"The Social Network"
"Toy Story 3"
"True Grit"
"Winter's Bone"

SHOULD WIN:  Inception
LIKELY TO WIN: The King's Speech


Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"
Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
James Franco, "127 Hours"

SHOULD WIN:  Jesse Eisenberg
LIKELY TO WIN: Colin Firth

Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

Jennifer Lawrence
LIKELY TO WIN: Natalie Portman

Christian Bale, "The Fighter"
John Hawkes, "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner, "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech"

SHOULD WIN:  John Hawkes
LIKELY TO WIN: Christian Bale

Amy Adams, "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"
Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"
Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"
Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom"

SHOULD WIN:  Jacki Weaver
LIKELY TO WIN: Melissa Leo


Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, "True Grit"
David Fincher, "The Social Network"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"

SHOULD WIN: David Fincher
LIKELY TO WIN: David Fincher


"Another Year," Mike Leigh
"The Fighter," Paul Attanasio, Lewis Colich, Eric Johnson, Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy
"Inception," Christopher Nolan
"The Kids Are All Right," Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko
"The King's Speech," David Speidler

SHOULD WIN:  Inception
LIKELY TO WIN: The King's Speech

"127 Hours," Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle
"The Social Network," Aaron Sorkin
"Toy Story 3," Michael Arndt
"True Grit," Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
"Winter's Bone," Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini

SHOULD WIN:  Winter's Bone
LIKELY TO WIN: The Social Network

"Alice in Wonderland," Robert Stromberg; Karen O’Hara, Peter Young
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I," Stuart Craig; Stephanie McMillan
"Inception," Guy Dyas; Lisa Chugg, Paul Healy, Douglas A. Mowat
"The King’s Speech," Eve Stewart; Judy Farr
"True Grit," Jess Gonchor; Nancy Haigh

SHOULD WIN:  Alice in Wonderland
LIKELY TO WIN: The King's Speech


"Black Swan," Matthew Libatique
"Inception," Wally Pfister
"The King’s Speech," Danny Cohen
"The Social Network," Jeff Cronenweth
"True Grit," Roger Deakins

SHOULD WIN:  Inception

"Alice in Wonderland," Colleen Atwood
"I Am Love," Antonella Cannarozzi
"The King’s Speech," Jenny Beaven
"The Tempest," Sandy Powell
"True Grit," Mary Zophres

SHOULD WIN:  Alice in Wonderland
LIKELY TO WIN: The King's Speech

"127 Hours," Jon Harris
"Black Swan," Andrew Weisblum
"The Fighter," Pamela Martin
"The King’s Speech," Tariq Anwar
"The Social Network," Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall

SHOULD WIN:  Black Swan
LIKELY TO WIN: The Social Network


"Barney’s Version"
"The Way Back"
"The Wolfman"

SHOULD WIN:  The Wolfman
LIKELY TO WIN: The Wolfman

"127 Hours," A.R. Rahman
"Inception," Hans Zimmer
"The Social Network," Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
"The King’s Speech," Alexandre Desplat
"How to Train Your Dragon," John Powell

SHOULD WIN:  Inception
LIKELY TO WIN: The Social Network

"If I Rise" from "127 Hours"
"Coming Home" from "Country Strong"
"I See the Light" from "Tangled"
"We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3″

SHOULD WIN:  "If I Rise" (127 Hours)
LIKELY TO WIN: "We Belong Together" (Toy Story 3)

"The King's Speech"
"The Social Network"
"True Grit"

SHOULD WIN:  Inception
LIKELY TO WIN: Inception

"Toy Story 3"
"TRON Legacy"
"True Grit"

SHOULD WIN:  Inception
LIKELY TO WIN: Inception

"Alice in Wonderland"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I"
"Iron Man 2"

SHOULD WIN:  Inception
LIKELY TO WIN: Inception


"Biutiful" (Mexico)
"Dogtooth" (Greece)
"In a Better World" (Denmark)
"Incendies" (Canada)
"Outside the Law" (Algeria)

SHOULD WIN:  In a Better World
LIKELY TO WIN: In a Better World

"How to Train Your Dragon"
"The Illusionist"
"Toy Story 3"

SHOULD WIN:  Toy Story 3
LIKELY TO WIN: Toy Story 3

"Day & Night"
"The Gruffalo",
"Let’s Pollute"
"The Lost Thing"
"Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)"

SHOULD WIN:  The Lost Thing
LIKELY TO WIN: Madagascar...

"Exit through the Gift Shop"
"Inside Job"
"Waste Land"

SHOULD WIN:  Exit through the Gift Shop


"Killing in the Name"
"Poster Girl"
"Strangers No More"
"Sun Come Up"
"The Warriors of Qiugang"

SHOULD WIN:  Killing in the Name
LIKELY TO WIN: Strangers No More

"The Confession"
"The Crush"
"God of Love"
"Na Wewe"
"Wish 143"

SHOULD WIN:  Wish 143
LIKELY TO WIN: God's of Love

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Here are the ten films with the best chances of being one of the ten best picture nominees, according to the Oscar BuzzMeter. I have included a quick link to each film's IMDB page for reference...

- The Town
- HereAfter
- The Social Network
- Inception
- Shutter Island
- The King's Speech
- The Fighter
- Country Strong
- True Grit
- Conviction

Others that just missed the top ten include Black Swan, Toy Story 3, The Kids Are Alright, Love and Other Drugs, Never Let Me Go, 127 Hours, Blue Valentine, and Catfish.
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THE GHOST WRITER (Summit - Feb 17) Roman Polanski earned strong reviews for this Hitchcock-style drama in which Ewan MacGregor ghostwrites the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister played by Pierce Brosnan. It has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 84% fresh  and did well by indie film standards. Oscar Chance: Summit will have to step up to the plate in order to revive it. Insiders at the distrib have special hopes for a Brosnan supporting bid.

SHUTTER ISLAND (Paramount - Feb 19) Paramount had initially penciled in this fine Martin Scorsese thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio for last season’s awards race. But financial considerations led them to move to the very unfriendly Oscar territory of February. Yet it became the legendary director’s most successful film ever at the box office, earning $292 million worldwide and receiving good critical notice. Oscar Chance: The studio intends to campaign it and has already sent out screening notices to Guilds and Academy members. But it will be competing with Par’s two year-end entries True Grit and The Fighter for attention from the front office.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Walt Disney Pictures - March 5) Tim Burton’s take on the classic tale remains one of the biggest success stories of the year with a whopping billion dollar take at the worldwide boxoffice. Critical response was right down the middle with a 51% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Oscar Chance: This would seem a natural  bet for the Golden Globes Comedy/Musical categories and lots of technical nods at the Academy, too.

CITY ISLAND (Anchor Bay - March 19) Andy Garcia’s finely-honed comic turn in this New York-centric family comedy could -- and should -- be remembered at Golden Globe time. Oscar Chance: Slim, but the tiny distributor has hired a PR firm to make sure it’s not forgotten. Awards pundits got a DVD in the mail this week.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Music Box - March 19) The first in the Swedish trilogy became the most successful foreign language release of the year and has created Best Actress buzz for star Noomi Rapace. Oscar Chance: Music Box will have to spend to reap rewards.  Problem is, Rapace has become so hot that she’s now filming the Sherlock Holmes sequel in England and likely won’t be around to promote the final chapter, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest when it opens at the end of the month. She'll miss valuable face time in front of voters.

GREENBERG (Focus Features - March 19)  Focus has set up some screenings and includes it in their Academy ads. But it's not likely to give much support beyond that to this Ben Stiller/Noah Baumbach  passion project which never quite caught on the way they hoped. Oscar Chance: Uh, probably not.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR  DRAGON (Dreamworks Animation - March 26) Rapturous reviews gave it a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes placing it between Toy Story 3 and The Social Network for bragging rights. Top box office  doesn’t hurt, either. Oscar Chance: An animated feature nod is a given. But Dreamworks is aggressively going for the gold with this one, starting with a big DVD launch party next week to renew the fire. Suggestions of not only an animated  category nom but also Best Picture mean they dream big there. But is there room for two toons on that list of 10 which will include Disney's Toy Story 3?

PLEASE GIVE (Sony Pictures Classics - April 30) Writer/Director Nicole Holofcener’s quirky comedy was well received and sparked buzz of an Original Screenplay nomination upon its release last spring. But that seems to have faded. Oscar Chance: It’s still deserving as is Ann Morgan Guilbert’s nifty supporting turn as the tenant who just won’t die. SPC will be asking members to please give the DVD a play.

MOTHER AND CHILD (Sony Pictures Classics - May 7) Rodrigo Garcia’s multi-character drama came and went in theatres, so wisely SPC made sure the screener was the very first one Academy voters got this season. Oscar Chance: On the DVD box, they are suggesting Annette Bening for Best Actress but, great as she is here, there’s no way she gets it for this over the higher profile The Kids Are All Right.

IRON MAN 2 (Paramount - May 7) The first Iron Man in 2008 only landed nominations for Visual Effects and Sound Editing. Oscar Chance: Visual Effects and Sound Editing.

LETTERS TO JULIET (Summit - May 14) This chick flick did pretty well at the box office. Oscar Chance: Vanessa Redgrave was terrific in a supporting role. And, in a 14 month span during which she lost her daughter, sister, and brother, she could use some good news. Long shot.

ROBIN HOOD (Universal - May 14) Ridley Scott’s take on the legendary Robin Hood tale starring Russell Crowe opened Cannes and did better internationally than in the U.S. where it just barely crossed $100 million. Oscar Chance: Even Universal doesn’t think it has one. Maybe a tech category or two.

SOLITARY MAN (Anchor Bay – May 21) Michael Douglas received some of the best reviews of his career in this highly unsympathetic  role. Oscar Chance: There is a lot of good will for the cancer-stricken star. And Anchor Bay is making sure the DVD gets circulated to press who can remind voters of this performance. An indie spirit nomination is a definite possibility.

WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions – June 11) A critical darling and surprise indie hit at $6 million and counting, this could be the sleeper awards success of the season. Oscar Chance: Roadside needs to do everything it can to put it front and center with critics groups who could champion it. Could be forced into the Best Picture race this year a la The Hurt Locker. With some precursor awards, newcomer Jennifer Lawrence could crack the tough Best Actress group.

I AM LOVE (Magnolia Pictures - June 18) A sumptuous showcase for Scottish Oscar winner Tilda Swinton who speaks Italian with a Russian accent and gets to wear great clothes. Oscar Chance: Italy killed the film’s chances for a Best Foreign Language nod by submitting something else. But Magnolia is going to try to put it into other races like Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes, and Actress where Tilda’s awesome language feat could gain traction with her fellow actors.

TOY STORY 3 (Disney/Pixar - June 18) A worldwide smash and, with 99% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it's the highest rated movie of the year that isn’t a French documentary about Henri-Georges Clouzot. Oscar Chance: The frontrunner for animated feature and on just about everyone’s list for a Best Picture nomination as well. Is 3 the charm? Neither of the other two Toy Story's were around when the animated category was created. But the first one got a special Oscar for John Lasseter.

DESPICABLE ME (Universal - July 9) Call it the toon that saved Universal this year. It had strong reviews and great box office. Oscar Chance: In a field of five animated nominees, it’s a given. But if there are only three, its chances become one in a minion.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features – July 9) It's THE focus for Focus this year. They hope to turn this $20 million grossing movie about lesbian parents who encounter the birth father of their kids into that rare comedy that cracks Best Picture. Oscar Chance: Parlaying a Golden Globe Comedy/Musical win into a Best Picture nomination seems doable with screenplay. And acting nominations for Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo very likely. The deserving Julianne Moore competing with Bening for Best Actress recognition could be a tougher sell in that overcrowded field. Both women are overdue.

INCEPTION (Warner Bros – July 16) Christopher Nolan was snubbed for The Dark Knight so will the Academy make it up to him for this audacious and original fever dream of a movie that has made three-quarters of a billion  at the worldwide boxoffice and inspired love letters from critics? Oscar Chance: How can voters deny this achievement even if they don’t quite get it? Best Picture and loads of tech noms while iffier is the always great Leonardo DiCaprio who has to compete with himself in Shutter Island for a Best Actor nod. Hey, he can dream can’t he?

THE CONCERT (The Weinstein Company – July 30) This French comedy sleeper surprised and delighted members who saw it at the official Academy screening. And they've been talking about it ever since. Oscar Chance: Not eligible for Foreign film, plus it didn’t hang around long and Harvey’s got bigger fish to fry. But it could turn up some place where you least expect it. Golden Globes, for sure.

GET LOW (Sony Pictures Classics - July 30) Nice-sized indie hit for SPC is now going strong in its third month and has special appeal for older voters. Oscar Chance: Robert Duvall is a good bet in the Best Actor race and Sissy Spacek might squeak into Best Supporting Actress.  Original Screenplay is possible together with a long shot shot for Picture if later entries fizzle.

CAIRO TIME (IFC Films - August 6) This quiet adult drama received nice notices for its talented star, Patricia Clarkson, in a romance about an ill-fated brief encounter set in Egypt. Oscar Chance: In a weaker year for actresses, Clarkson could have scored. But the competition is too tough and the film is just too small. Indie Spirits, anyone?

ANIMAL KINGDOM (Sony Pictures Classics - August 13) This tough Australian crime drama joined Mother and Child as the first DVD screener sent to Academy members this season, but its box office has been spotty. Oscar Chance: If those voters pop this thing in their DVD player, they will see a classic supporting actress turn from Jacki Weaver who deserves the recognition. (And the T-shirt SPC sent to bloggers promoting her performance.)

EAT PRAY LOVE (Sony Pictures – August 13) A bestselling book, some decent if not spectacular box office, and a starring role for Julia Roberts on global locations should add up to something worth awards attention, right? Well, she did get a Golden Globe nomination last year for the flop Duplictiy so... Oscar Chance: Pray.

LOVELY, STILL (Monterey Media - September 10) A small little gem of a drama about two old people who find romance near the end of their lives features brilliant performances from Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn. They both deserve awards recognition even though the movie came and went without a whimper and has little hope of being seen by voters. Oscar Chance: Fortunately  Landau and Burstyn already have one.

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WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (Twentieth Century Fox - 9/24) On paper, with its timely theme, this is exactly the kind of popular drama with an Oscar-heavy cast and director that the 10 Best Picture nominations would tend to favor. Well-received in Cannes last May, it still  hasn’t generated  the kind of serious buzz which fall fest entries like Social Network, The King’s Speech, and Black Swan all managed. Oscar Chance:  Bearish, since sequels rarely compete and Oliver Stone’s 1987 original received just a single nomination -- and won Best Actor for Michael Douglas. His bigger-than-life Gekko remains its best chance to jump in the race, particularly with goodwill for the actor running high due to his cancer and memories of his acclaimed work in the indie Solitary Man still fresh from earlier this year. Never-nominated Eli Wallach, 95, might have had a shot for his small but indelible role. But he’s already getting an Honorary Oscar in November.

NOWHERE BOY (The Weinstein Co - 10/8) This story of the young John Lennon opened last Christmas in England and has already hit British Airways and Blu-ray but is craftily timed for U.S. release the day before what would have been the musician’s 70th birthday. Oscar Chance:  Both female co-stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff were BAFTA nominatees last season and might have a long shot in the Supporting Actress category if Weinstein does any sort of serious campaign for this.

SECRETARIAT (Walt Disney Pictures - 10/8) This emotion stirring crowd-pleasing story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner and the woman who wouldn’t give up on him could appeal to the same feel-good contingent that made The Blind Side such a player last year. Oscar Chance: Diane Lane and John Malkovich could figure in acting races. While sound, cinematography, music, and Best Picture nominations are not out of the question. If 2003’s Seabiscuit, which landed 7 nominations including the big one back when there were only five slots, could do it, then it should be a breeze for this horse. But Disney has to campaign just as aggressively as Universal did back then.

COMPANY MEN (The Weinstein Co - 10/22) There hasn’t been a whole lot of buzz on this John Well written and directed title since it debuted to mixed reviews in Sundance. But this of-the-moment drama about the effect of corporate downsizing on three men has a strong cast that includes past Oscar winners Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper. Oscar Chance: A longshot that needs to step up its awards game or risk downsizing to also-ran status against stiff competition.

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS (Samuel Goldwyn - 10/29) Fine acting from James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, and Kristen Stewart highlight this drama about the effect that a young runaway has on a married couple. Oscar Chance: This quiet and effective drama was a Sundance success. But it's likely to be more prominent at the Spirits than the Oscars.

FAIR GAME (Summit - 11/5)  The hot button Valerie Plame/CIA leak story gets the cinematic treatment from director Doug Liman. It played well to critics in competition at Cannes in May but has been dormant on the Fall Festival circuit. Oscar Chance: It has two stars, Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, who are usually Academy bait. But so far neither is generating much heat in the highly competitive lead actor and actress races. Perhaps that will change when the film gets its second shot at glory just after election day. Of course, Penn already has a couple of Oscars.

FOR COLORED GIRLS (Lionsgate - 11/5) Except for the trailer, no one’s really yet seen this Tyler Perry adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 play with the longer title For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf. But apparently Lionsgate has enuf confidence to push the release right up to the start date of the film industry’s official holiday movie season. Oscar Chance: Perry’s a cash cow for Lionsgate but he’s got no Oscar cred yet except for an AMPAS membership card. Last year, this distributor scored 6 nominations and 2 Oscars with  Precious (which Perry supported by lending his name). But can lightning strike twice?

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 (Warner Bros - 11/19) The mega-box office Harry Potter series begins its wrap party with the first of a 2-part finale. Oscar Chance: These films are usually good for one or two technical nods but haven’t broken through into the marquee categories. If Harry has any shot at pulling a Lord Of The Rings-style victory lap, it’s probably with the more emotionally potent Part 2 which gets a July release.

THE NEXT THREE DAYS (Lionsgate - 11/19) Oscar-winner Paul Haggis co-wrote and directed this thriller about the turmoil in a couple’s life after the wife is accused of murder. Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson, and Elizabeth Banks star. Oscar Chance: Although Haggis and Lionsgate last struck Oscar gold together with Crash, this one is said to be a strictly commercial bet with no similar awards trajectory.

BURLESQUE (Sony/Screen Gems - 11/24) The trailer for this showbiz tale of a young singer (Christina Aguilera) who arrives in town and winds up working in some sort of burlesque club run by Cher looks like the movie wants to be Chicago. Well, that’s a lot better than trying to be another Showgirls, right? Oscar Chance: Let’s hope Cher and Christina have a duet.

LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS (Twentieth Century Fox - 11/24) This rare adult comedy from a major studio centers around a womanizing pharmaceutical salesman who falls hard for a free-spirited girl with early onset of Parkinsons disease. Director Ed Zwick delivers sex, drugs, nudity, and smart dialogue in a film that will do for Viagra what Social Network does for Facebook. Oscar Chance: A winning Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway in career-best performances should be high on any list. And the film is sophisticated and different enough to become a strong possibility in Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay, too.

TANGLED (Walt Disney Pictures - 11/24) A throwback to the style of Disney animated musicals like The Little Mermaid and Pochahantas. This tale of Rapunzel with all that blonde hair is given a contemporary twist and new Alan Menken songs. Oscar Chance: Eight-time winner Menken could go for a record-tying 9 with “I See The Light”. An animated feature nod is definitely possible if there are 5 slots this year. But it will be fighting for holiday season attention with MEGAMIND (DreamWorks Animation - 11/5).

I LOVE YOU, PHILIP MORRIS (Roadside Attractions - 12/3) Once embroiled in a nasty distribution battle, this Jim Carrey/Ewan McGregor comedy based on a true story was originally bought at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival  and already has  been  played out internationally. It is finally getting a long delayed U.S. release through its new indie savior Roadside Attractions. Oscar Chance: Start with a  musical/comedy Golden Globe nod and hope the never Oscar-nominated Carrey can then gain traction at last with the more difficult-to-please Academy.  

THE FIGHTER (Paramount - 12/10) This long time passion project for Mark Wahlberg chronicles the relationship between boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and the brother who helped train him (Christian Bale). Oscar Chance:  Could be a strong Best Picture prospect with both Wahlberg and Christian Bale prime prospects for lead and supporting actor respectively. Melissa Leo is said to be to rising to the top of supporting actress lists for her performance here.

THE TOURIST (Sony Pictures - 12/10) A thriller set in Venice with the superstar teaming of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp should spell a huge holiday hit for Sony. Oscar Chance: Probably too much of a popcorn flick for much awards consideration, even though it reps the English language directorial debut of Oscar winning Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck whose The Lives Of Others won Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.

HOW DO YOU KNOW? (Sony Pictures - 12/17) Writer/Director James Brooks delivers this relationship comedy with an all-star cast, including Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson. Oscar Chance: Despite Oscar winners Witherspoon's and Nicholson’s presence, I am told Paul Rudd is the standout here. Best chance for the movie is likely at the Globes where it may duke it out with The Kids Are All Right and Love And Other Drugs for Best Picture Comedy or Musical.

COUNTRY STRONG (Sony/Screen Gems - 12/22) This dramatic country musical shows off the considerable singing skills of Gwyneth Paltrow, who stars opposite Nashville favorite Tim Mc Graw as a fallen star out to make a comeback professionally and personally. Oscar Chance:  Past Oscar-winner Gwyneth shows a different side of her talents here. But this year's overcrowded Best Actress race really doesn’t need any more applicants this year.

TRUE GRIT (Paramount - 12/25) The Coen Brothers' remake of 1969’s western hit is said to adhere more to Charles Portis’ original book than the John Wayne version. But it’s still the same story: a determined young woman enlists Rooster J Cogburn to track down her father’s killer. Oscar Chance: Wayne won an Oscar. But it’s really Mattie’s tale, so look for a possible supporting actress in newcomer Hailie Steinfeld.  Thankfully, the La Beouf role which Glen Campbell screwed up 40 years ago is now in Matt Damon’s hands. And reigning Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges takes on Cogburn. Never, but never, underestimate what the Coens are up to. So this could also be the rare western to make the Best Picture honor roll. No one has seen it yet, though.

ANYTHING WITH HELEN MIRREN IN IT: Helen Mirren stars in 3 more upcoming 2010 releases, so take your choice. RED (Summit -10/15) Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman join with Mirren as an Over The Hill gang who do one last job. THE TEMPEST (Touchstone - 12/10) Prospero has made a gender switch to Prospera in director Julie Taymor’s wild take on Shakespeare’s classic. THE DEBT (Miramax - 12/29) Post-WWII thriller in the Munich mode co-starring Sam Worthington, Ciaran Hinds, and Tom Wilkinson. Oscar Chances:  Nice to see the great Dame is a workaholic. But based on festival buzz, don’t expect a return to the Kodak stage this year.

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The movies have been unveiled, the reviews are in, the bloggers have blogged, so what’s the verdict? Who’s in, who’s out, who’s hoping for a recount? With a surprisingly active Toronto Film Festival winding down to a halt, and Venice and Telluride becoming distant memories, let’s see where the movies that came in with Oscar ambition and hit one, two, or all three award contender-centric fests now stand at this key early juncture. 

THE SOCIAL NETWORK - Ironically, the one movie that perhaps generated the biggest buzz this week wasn’t at any of the Big Three. The Social Network stole the thunder from Toronto by beginning screenings for onliners in New York and Los Angeles before it opens the New York Film Festival on September 24th. Oscar Chance: It instantly became anointed a frontrunner for Best Picture.

THE BLACK SWAN - It took Venice by storm with one of the most enthusiastic opening night ovations in years. But at award time on the Lido it was virtually overlooked (except for a breakthrough honor for Mila Kunis). Top reviews and lots of awards talk followed at Telluride and Toronto, especially for Natalie Portman. Oscar Chance: Very much alive in key races including newfound frontrunner status for Portman in Best Actress. Big question is how will older voters react to film’s kinkier aspects?

SOMEWHERE - Sofia Coppola’s quiet character study won the top prize in Venice despite mixed reviews and some cries that jury president and Coppola intimate Quentin Tarantino played favorites. (Tarantino vehemently dismissed the criticism.) The film sat out Telluride and Toronto by design and will likely be held back from screenings until closer to its late December release. Oscar Chance: Still a bit of a mystery but may be too soft to make a dent. Coppola though is well-liked by her fellow writers and directors and Stephen Dorff is said to be quite good in it.

127 HOURS - Danny Boyle’s first effort since sweeping the Oscars with Slumdog Millionaire two years ago was generally met with favorable reviews and good buzz in Telluride followed by at least one standing ovation in Toronto. Oscar Chance: Strongest bet in Best Actor for James Franco. A longer shot in Best Picture as "Farewell to Arm" scene may be too much for some at the Academy.

CONVICTION - Middling reviews and lack of strong buzz in Toronto make this true story a long shot. Oscar Chance: Hillary Swank has a shot in Best Actress but she’s down the list in an exceptionally tough field. Sam Rockwell has film’s best shot in Supporting Actor. Juliette Lewis is also possible but role may be too small.

THE KING’S SPEECH - Strong outstanding period piece puts Harvey Weinstein back in the Oscar game big-time. Triumphed over all comers in Telluride with subsequent buzz seeing hundreds turned away in Toronto. Great reviews and a real crowd pleaser. Oscar Chance: A slam dunk for major nominations across the board and an instant frontrunner that should play right into Academy’s lap.

MADE IN DAGENHAM - Another British period piece that debuted in Toronto to good results and sweet reviews. Story about a group of female factory workers fighting for equal pay is very accessible entertainment. Oscar Chance: This may be Sony Classics' best shot to get into Best Picture, very Academy friendly film with acting noms possible for star Sally Hawkins and supporters Miranda Richardson and Bob Hoskins.

ANOTHER YEAR - Mike Leigh’s best film since Secrets And Lies didn’t win anything in Cannes in May and seemed to get mixed to excellent reactions in North American premieres in Telluride and Toronto. Those who like it love it. Oscar Chance: Leigh films usually go over well with the Academy but surest thing is the acclaimed performance of Lesley Manville. She should go for supporting where she'd have a better chance than in the overcrowded lead actress category.

THE TOWN - Ben Affleck drew pretty good reviews as an actor and especially director out of Venice and Toronto. Depending on how it does at the box office starting this weekend, it could follow a similar trajectory as its producer Graham King’s Oscar winning The Departed. Or not. Oscar Chance: Pedigree is fine but may be too much in the violent action genre. Strong performances could crack one of the acting categories, with Jeremy Renner the most likely possibility in support.

HEREAFTER - Clint Eastwood ‘s latest got mixed reviews out of Toronto. But Ebert and Corliss dug it and this likely will play better with the older-skewing Academy members who may relate to its themes of afterlife. The 4-time Oscar winner and Acad favorite is now 80 and, even though his most recent two films Gran Torino and Invictus got a grand total of just two noms between them, you can never count Clint out. Oscar Chance: Clint is still a force. May have an ‘afterlife’ following Toronto and upcoming closing night spot at the New York Film Festival.

RABBIT HOLE - Glowing reviews, especially for its three main actors -- Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest. Thursday’s news of Lionsgate’s quick pickup following Monday night’s Toronto World Premiere, and a planned 2010 Oscar campaign, make this biggest award season news to come out of Toronto. Oscar Chance: With a savvy push by Lionsgate and top notch performances and writing, this is suddenly a player in the marquee categories.

BURIED - Ryan Reynolds' tour-de-force turn as a man-trapped-in-a-coffin has been overshadowed by James Franco’s similar guy-trapped-in-a-cave in 127 Hours. But look for Ryan to catch up when this opens next week. Oscar Chance: Funny guy Reynolds going dramatic could be irresistible to his fellow actors if Lionsgate decides to spend some money campaigning for him.

CASINO JACK - Its on-again/off-again release is now on again courtesy of an ATO pickup at Toronto. Two-time winner Kevin Spacey has a new opportunity for top honors playing disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff with flair and humor. Oscar Chance: Indie film needs to grab attention against higher profile competition in December if Spacey is to squeeze into the race.

LET ME IN - Superb gloriously reviewed American remake of Sweden’s 2008 cult vampire coming-of-age flick Let The Right One In, this is actually better than the original. Oscar Chance: Reviews could help. But good as it is, this type of movie is not really Oscar fodder and Relativity probably knows that.

MIRAL - In its Venice and Toronto screenings, Julian Schnabel’s first film since his award magnet, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, failed to excite. Oscar Chance: Dimming since Venice.

STONE - Entertaining but odd mix of styles make this movie difficult to peg. But the actors are enormously watchable. Oscar Chance: Long shot even though Milla Jovovich is seductively appealing. Robert DeNiro turns in his best work in a while but probably has as much chance of a Best Actor nod for this as he does for Machete and Little Fockers.

NEVER LET ME GO - Audiences in Telluride and Toronto liked this one better the more they thought about it. So all that lingering in the mind could improve it awards prospects. Oscar Chance: If it were a weaker year for actresses, Carey Mulligan would be way up there again. Andrew Garfield will likely be recognized for The Social Network instead of his equally fine work here. Rachel Portman’s haunting score should be a shoo-in nominee though.

BARNEY’S VERSION - Sony Pictures Classics' Toronto pickup of this Venice hit is a smart move and could result in some nominations. Oscar Chance: With a decent campaign, Paul Giamatti can make a Best Actor play and Dustin Hoffman is possible in support.

BIUTIFUL - Javier Bardem’s Cannes Festival-winning performance lost none of its power in Telluride or Toronto where the American reviews improved from their mixed bag status on the Riviera. Oscar Chance: Bardem for sure. Foreign film if Mexico submits it. Dark horse in Best Picture if voters don’t turn it off because its “too depressing”.

JACK GOES BOATING - Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut and stars as a plain lonely guy who hooks up with a plain lonely girl in this quirkly comedy/drama reminiscent of 1955’s Best Picture and Actor winner, Marty. Oscar Chance: This isn’t 1955 and sorry Jack, but you’re no Marty. Strictly indie (as in Spirit Awards).

BLUE VALENTINE - Continuing its marathon festival journey from Sundance to Cannes (where it was 7 minutes shorter) to Toronto, Blue Valentine and its lead actors are still generating plenty of awards heat. Oscar Chance: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are definite contenders.

TAMARA DREWE - Sony Classics would love this in-house production to get some traction. But no matter how you slice it, it’s pure comedy and that usually has its best shot at the limelight at the Globes. Oscar Chance: Writers like to laugh, so maybe screenplay.

THE WAY BACK - Newmarket picked up this classically made Peter Weir adventure just as it hit its one and only festival, Telluride. They still haven’t announced an Oscar qualifying run for December. But it would seem a no-brainer for this January 21st pretty wide release. Oscar Chance: Fellow directors could go for overdue 4-time nominee Weir. And the cinematography is right up there with anything released this year.

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It is that time of year again --- time to predict this year's Oscar winners. In each category I will list who will win and who should win. Enjoy:

Best motion picture of the year

Will Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Win: Precious

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Will Win: Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"
Should Win: Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Will Win: Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"
Should Win: Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Will Win: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"
Should Win: Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Will Win: Mo'Nique in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Should Win: Mo'Nique in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Achievement in directing

Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker"
Should Win: James Cameron for "Avatar"

Best animated feature film of the year

Will Win: Up
Should Win: Up

Achievement in art direction

Will Win: Avatar
Should Win: The Young Victoria

Achievement in cinematography

Will Win: Avatar
Should Win: Inglourious Basterds

Achievement in costume design

Will Win: The Young Victoria
Should Win: Nine

Best documentary feature

Will Win: The Cove
Should Win: Burma VJ

Best documentary short subject

Will Win: Music by Prudence
Should Win: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

Achievement in film editing

Will Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Win: District 9

Best foreign language film of the year

Will Win: The Secret in Their Eyes
Should Win: The White Ribbon

Achievement in makeup

Will Win:Star Trek
Should Win: Star Trek

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

Will Win: Up
Should Win: Up

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

Will Win: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart"
Should Win: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart"

Best animated short film

Will Win: Logorama
Should Win: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty

Best live action short film

Will Win: The New Tenants
Should Win: Instead of Abracadabra

Achievement in sound editing

Will Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Win: Avatar

Achievement in sound mixing

Will Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Win: Avatar

Achievement in visual effects

Will Win: Avatar
Should Win: Avatar

Adapted screenplay

Will Win: "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Should Win: "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Original screenplay

Will Win: "The Hurt Locker"
Should Win: "Inglourious Basterds"
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Well, it is that time of year again. Time for the 2010 Oscar nominations.  Early Tuesday morning the AMPAS will make their announcements, so I am making my predictions today. How bold!

Below you will find my thoughts on what the Academy will likely nominate for the eight biggest categories. Note: These are NOT my personal picks, but rather my prediction about what the Academy will nominate.

This year there is one huge change -- making the biggest category even bigger by going from five Best Picture nominees to ten. That will really open things up, so making a final pick for the award show in March will be much harder.

On to the picks:

Best Picture:
An Education
The Hangover
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, for Avatar
Lee Daniels, for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Jason Reitman, for Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, for Inglourious Basterds

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges, for Crazy Heart
George Clooney, for Up in the Air
Colin Firth, for A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, for Invictus
Jeremy Renner, for The Hurt Locker

Best Actress:
Sandra Bullock, for The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, for The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, for An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Meryl Streep, for Julie & Julia

Best Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon, for Invictus
Woody Harrelson, for The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, for The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, for The Lovely Bones
Christopher Waltz, for Inglourious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress:

Penelope Cruz, for Nine
Vera Farmiga, for Up in the Air
Ana Kendrick, for Up in the Air
Diane Kruger, for Inglourious Basterds
Mo’Nique, for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Best Screenplay (Original):

(500) Days of Summer, by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Avatar, by James Cameron
The Hangover, by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
The Hurt Locker, by Mark Boal
A Serious Man, by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Best Screenplay (Adapted):
Crazy Heart, by Scott Cooper
Julie & Julia, by Nora Ephron
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, by Geoffrey Fletcher
Star Trek, by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Up in the Air, by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

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