Best picture: “The Artist”

Although there has been a sizeable backlash against this charming French-produced homage to the last days of the silent movie, you can place a very safe bet on the final award to be handed out Sunday
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Best directing: Michel Hazavanicius for “The Artist”

A few weeks ago, the Directors Guild of America gave its top prize to the French filmmaker and if a long-standing tradition holds, that means he will win the directing Oscar. In most years, the
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Best actor: Jean Dujardin for “The Artist”

As the terrific Oscar handicapper and historian Mark Harris has pointed out on his “Oscarmetrics” blog (the best and most informed writing to be found on the subject) George Clooney was the
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Best actress: Viola Davis for “The Help”

Although Viola Davis is considered the front-runner for best actress, most forecasters see Meryl Streep as a very possible winner for “The Iron Lady.” Streep is the most respected actress in Hollywood
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Best supporting actor: Christopher Plummer for ‘Beginners’

If Mr. Plummer’s name is not announced Sunday night, you will hear the loudest gasp since another veteran front-runner — Lauren Bacall — lost to upstart Juliette Binoche in the 1996 race. Plummer has
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Best supporting actress: Octavia Spencer for “The Help”

Forgive me for being repetitious, but Spencer goes into Sunday night’s ceremony with the huge advantage of having won several preliminary awards and giving remarkably gracious and appealing acceptance
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What is so terrible about Reese W. and ‘This Means War’?

Most big-budget studio movies are so glossy and unreal these days that it always fascinates me when the critical community zeroes in on a particular piece of escapism as an example of all that is
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Turning 9/11 into a high gloss Hollywood soap opera

I didn’t think I would ever be subjected to a Hollywood special effect more tasteless than that notorious POV shot of the bomb hitting the battleship in Michael Bay’s 2001 “Pearl Harbor.” Yes, anyone
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