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"This year's Oscars will be fairly routine and predictable, everything from Best Actor and Actress to Visual Effects and Animated Feature."
"Had it not featured CGI actors, it would have come very close to 'Titanic's' record setting nomination tally."
"This year, Disney/Pixar's 'Up' becomes the second feature to earn Best Picture praise."
"It represents a missed opportunity to add much needed star power and sizzle to the somewhat laborious live performances."
"Will James Cameron once more be crowned, 'King of the World?'"
2010 Academy Award Preview  

KING OF THE WORLD

The 82nd Academy Awards will be presented live on ABC on Sunday, March 7th at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. Teases the Academy, "You've never seen Oscar like this," referring to their latest attempt to shake things up. In essence, this year's Oscars will mark the first time the ceremony is co-hosted.

Under new direction from telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman, the Oscars will have two hosts: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Martin hosted the 73rd and 75th Academy Award shows and has served as a presenter for many years. Currently, he's touring the country with his bluegrass band, Steep Canyon Rangers. Meanwhile, Baldwin has never hosted the Academy Awards, but was once nominated for his supporting role in 2003's The Cooler. He is currently starring on the NBC hit show, "30 Rock."

Said Martin, "I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy, Alec Baldwin." To which, Baldwin replied, "I don't play the banjo, but I'm thrilled to be hosting the Oscars."

Will the two share the stage throughout the telecast? Will there be song and dance or an opening monologue? Or will they humorously mock one another until the final Oscar is handed out? I guess you could say, It's Complicated.

One thing is for sure, however. This year's Oscars will be fairly routine and predictable, everything from Best Actor and Actress to Visual Effects and Animated Feature. And the producers will have to be on top of their game to sustain the audiences' interest until the coronation of Best Picture - the most unpredictable and highly anticipated moment of the night, thanks to the Academy's recent move to increase the number of nominees from five to ten.

Failure to do so will instantly turn this three and a half celebration into everything we've already seen.

BIG BLUE

With over $2.5 billion worldwide, Avatar has become the highest grossing movie of all time, surpassing 1997's Titanic by over $700 million and cementing it's place in motion picture history. In a year that saw the return of the Transformers, Harry Potter, and Twilighters, Avatar gave audiences something excitingly new - a digital, 3D, IMAX intensive experience.

The film has racked up 9 Oscar nominations, primarily in the technical areas of sound, visual effects, editing, and art direction. And had it not featured CGI actors, it would have come very close to Titanic's record setting nomination tally. Fortunate news for the film's competition.

Tied with Avatar for the most nominations this year is the American war thriller, The Hurt Locker, one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2009. Well acted, well written, and expertly directed, the film may make Academy history by bestowing the first Best Director Award to a female director. In addition, the film is being recognized for achievements in writing, editing, and cinematography, including a nod for Jeremy Renner in the Best Actor category.

Not far behind is Inglourious Basterds, with 8 nominations, and a slew of other independent films in the Best Picture race, including Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, Up in the Air, District 9, An Education, and A Serious Man. Disney/Pixar's Up is the leading animated feature with 5 nominations, including Best Picture.

INTERESTING NOTES

  •    The Hurt Locker's Kathryn Bigelow becomes the fourth woman ever to be nominated for Best Director. The other nominees were Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2003), Jane Campion (The Piano, 1993), and Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties, 1976).
  •    In honor of the growing number of animated features released each year, the Academy established the Best Animated Feature category in 2001. However, in the Academy's history, only one animated feature has ever been nominated for Best Picture - Beauty and the Beast (1991). This year, Disney/Pixar's Up becomes the second feature to earn Best Picture praise.
  •    In the acting categories, there are a whopping twelve first time nominees, including such industry veterans as Colin Firth, Sandra Bullock, Stanley Tucci, and Christopher Plummer. Not to mention lots of terrific new performers like Jeremy Renner, Mo'Nique, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, and Anna Kendrick. And five previous Oscar winners - George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Penelope Cruz, Helen Mirren, and Meryl Streep.
  •   Finally, in 1967, the Academy eliminated the separate category for black and white cinematography. Since that time, nine black and white films have been nominated for Best Cinematography: In Cold Blood (1967), The Last Picture Show (1971), Lenny (1974), Raging Bull (1980), Zelig (1983), Schindler's List (1993), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), and this year's nominee, The White Ribbon (2010).
  • DISAPPOINTMENTS

  •    Expanding the Best Picture category to ten nominees this year was certainly a nice change of pace, particularly after the staggering neglect of last year's The Dark Knight and The Wrestler. However, with ten slots, the Academy still failed to recognize one of the year's best films - Crazy Heart.
  •    Continuing a longstanding tradition of ignoring comedy and musical performances, the Academy failed to recognize some of the leading roles from Sherlock Holmes, The Informant!, The Hangover, and 500 Days Of Summer.
  •    In addition, the mishandling of the Best Original Song category continues. Absentees this year include U2's "Winter" from Brothers and Paul McCartney's "I Want to Come Home" from Everybody's Fine. Most importantly, this represents a missed opportunity to add much needed star power and sizzle to the somewhat laborious live performances.
  •    After a terrific string of great films and direction that included Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, and Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood fails to woo the Academy for his work on the political sports drama, Invictus.
  • ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET

    The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 22nd at the Kodak Theatre and televised live on ABC Television at 5 p.m. PST.

  • Will Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin work in tandem or will this multi-host experiment go the way of Snow White?
  • Will Kathryn Bigelow trump her ex-boyfriend, James Cameron, and become the first female director to take home Oscar?
  • Will lawsuits and unethical emails hurt The Hurt Locker's chances?
  • Will The Secret of the Kells provide an upset in Best Animated Feature over the highly touted Up?
  • And will James Cameron once more be crowned, "King of the World?"
  • These "final" answers and more are waiting for you in my ANNUAL OSCAR PREVIEW!

    2010 Academy Awards Preview (CONTINUED)

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