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    Have you voted? Have you seen them all? If not, you better hurry. The gold statue will reign supreme this Sunday night at 8:30 as ABC telecasts the 85th Academy Awards live from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre. This will be preceded by red carpet specials galore [Kristin Chenoweth and Lara Spencer are among the hosts for ABC's from 7-8:30]. There'll be plenty to gossip about at the office water coolers on Monday. Seth MacFarlane (Ted; creator, TV's Family Guy) will host the three hour special, to be seen in over 225 countries.

    Nine films were nominated for Best Picture: France's Amour (5), Argo (7), Beasts of the Southern Wild (4), Django Unchained (5), Les Miserables(8), Life of Pi (11), Lincoln (12),, Silver Linings Playbook (8), and Zero Dark Thirty (5). Other films with multiple nominations are Anna Karenina and Skyfall.

    Frontrunner Lincoln's nods include Picture, Director (Steven Spielberg), Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones), Supporting Actress (Sally Field), Adapted Screenplay (Tony Kushner, from Doris Kearns Goodwin book); and Score (veteran Spielberg collaborator and multiple Oscar winner John Williams).

    Oscar-winning director Ang Lee's visually stunning adaptation of the novel by Yann Martel (that was thought to be unfilmable), Life of Pi was runner up with; however none of its nominations were in acting fields [the growling tiger really got shorted!]

    Silver Linings Playbook is the first film in over 30 years to land nods in all four acting categories: Actor (Bradley Cooper), Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro), and Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver). With nominations also for Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Editing, it could be a deal breaker. Argo could be in the same category since it's scored big in other competitions, including the Golden Globes.

    Though their films won acclaim Argo's Ben Affleck and Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow (Oscar winner, The Hurt Locker) didn't make the Director cut.  First-time nominees Michael Haneke (Amour) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) will be in race off with Spielberg, Lee, and David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook).

    An actor, who seems to be in about 85% of films made, Samuel L. Jackson, really got dissed. His performance in Django Unchained is one to remember for years to come. One also has to wonder about placing Oscar winner Helen Hunt in the supporting category for her lead performance as the sex surrogate in The Sessions. Anyone who saw the film knows she wasn't supporting anything [and nothing was supporting her]  in 85% of her scenes!

    Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neal Meron (Chicago) are predicting that MacFarlane and everybody's li'l darlin' Chenoweth will blow audiences away in something new: a closing musical number.  Musically, with the likes of Adele, the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey [in a James Bond salute that will feature pass actors in the Bond role], and Norah Jones performing it will be some night.

    Along with, it's assumed, the majority of nominees, Hollywood's A-List stars [among them a slew of Oscar winners] appearing and/or presenting will be Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Russell Crowe, Michael Douglas, Jean Dujardin, Jane Fonda, Jennifer Garner, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Liam Neeson, Christopher Plummer, Daniel Radcliffe, Eddie Redmayne, Paul Rudd, Octavia Spencer, Kristen Stewart, Meryl Streep, Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron, John Travolta, Aaron Tveit, Mark Wahlberg, Kerry Washington, and Reese Witherspoon.  

    Special guests will First Lady Michele Obama in a live video segment from the White House; 2011 Oscar winner for Picture, Chicago: Catherine Zeta-Jones and nominees Queen Latifah and Renée Zellweger; along with Richard Gere; and from the year's highest-grossing hit (only one nomination), Marvel's The Avengers: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo.

    Barbra Streisand will make a rare appearance to sing "The Way We Were" for the annual memorial tribute. Her last time on the Oscars was in 2002 when she presented Robert Redford, her The Way We Were co-star, as well as producer, director,a nd founder  of The Sundance Institute.

    Former Disney chair and co-founder of Dreamworks with Spielberg and David Geffen received an honorary Oscar at ceremonies in November for his humanitarian work [raising more than $200-million for the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which provides financial assistance and health and social services to the entertainment community].

    Stuntman Hal Needham, documentary film-maker DA Pennebaker, and American Film Institute founding director George Stevens Jr. also received honors.

    For a complete list of 2012 Academy Award Nominations, visit
    www.oscar.com, where you will also find My Picks (a printable ballot so you can vote), Oscar buzz, trailers, costume sketches, photos galore, behind-the-scenes at rehearsals, and tons of information on the history of the Academy Awards.


    Oscar-Nominated Films Arriving on DVD

    The powerful, Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), the story of the elite team of intelligence operatives who tracked and ultimately located Osama bin Laden in a Navy Seals operation in a suburban Pakistani compound, arrives on Blu-ray combo pack with DVD, and digital copy on March 19.  The much-acclaimed film, recognized as one of the best of 2012, was produced and directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Oscar-winner, The Hurt Locker). Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Jennifer Ehle, and Kyle Chandler,

    The critically acclaimed, Oscar-nominated musical extravaganza Les Misérables (Universal Studios Home Entertainment) arrives on Blu-ray combo pack (DVD, digital copy, and Ultra Violet) and On Demand March 22, with more than an hour of bonus features including cast interviews and 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes content. Director: Oscar-winner Tom Hooper (The King's Speech). Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sasha Baron Cohen.


    Oscar-Nominated Actors on DVD

    Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) can be seen on DVD in Disney's acclaimed, Oscar-nominated The Help. She and Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey's Earl of Grantham, can be found among the numerous guest stars in Agatha Christie's Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites Collection (Acorn; six discs, 16 hours) DVD set, which features 11 of the best-selling and mega-watched detectives' most popular mysteries. These include such classics as Poirot (David Suchet) in Murder on the Orient Express and The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb; and Miss Marple (Geraldine McEwan and Julia Mckenzie) in The Murder at the Vicarage and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side.

    Ellis Nassour is an international media journalist, and author of Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline, which he has adapted into a musical for the stage. Visit www.patsyclinehta.com.

    He can be reached at [email protected]

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