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Discussion Starter #1
Here are the major nominees

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)
Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jeff Brides (True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Actor in a Supporting Role
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)

Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3
 

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Discussion Starter #2
No real off-the-grid surprises. With 10 films nominated for Best Picture, it would be nice to see at least one nomination go to an obscure film that slipped past everyone's radar. I suppose Winter's Bone fulfills that role this year; it's been out on dvd/blu-ray for a couple of months so it's easy enough to see it now. You'll be rewarded with a harrowing tale of a young women's quest to discover the fate of her missing father in the Ozark mountains back woods. Jennifer Lawrence is stellar, and it's nice to see John Hawkes nominated for his role as the creepy uncle.
Other pleasant surprises are Jeremy Renner for The Town and Jacki Weaver's frightening role as the matriarch of a family of Australian criminals in Animal Kingdom, which just came out on dvd/blu-ray.
I'm dismayed that neither Biutiful nor The Illusionist have found their way to a major market like Vancouver yet. I blame the near death-grip Cineplex-Odeon has on almost all the theaters in the city now that Cinemark has left town.
 

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We enjoyed The King's Speech and indeed Colin Firth deserves a nom - but Geoffrey Rush? I think Andrew Garfield in The Social Network was - at least one - clearly more deserving supporting actor. In fact, I wouldn't really consider Eisenberg up at the top either - I think Ryan Reynolds in Buried was more deserving.

Glad to see best actress noms for Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams and for supporting actress, Jacki Weaver.

And I think Toy Story 3 getting a best picture nom pretty much locks it for best animated oscar.
 

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Nels, once again thanks for the insights. Your recommendations always have me searching for a new film to watch.
 

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I've seen 9 out of the 10 nominations for best picture and enjoyed all of them thoroughly. The only one I haven't see is Winter's Bone. I really don't know how I missed it. It's been out on DVD since October and has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Needless to say I'll be watching it this weekend.
 

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Films missing from the list:
- Kick-Ass - Big, silly fun. Chloe Moretz deserves a nomination for Best Actress. She really makes the movie.
- Jack Goes Boating - A nicely-done, low-key, character-driven drama. Kudos to actor and first-time director Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Decent but over-rated:
- The Social Network
- The Kids Are All Right
 

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Someone explain to me how Hailee Steinfeld is in the Best Supporting category, when she was the central character in "True Grit". Wasn't she in all but maybe one or two scenes?
Being that it's the movies' producers who submit their wishes for nominations/categories (I think that's how it works, anyway), I blame them. Much as I liked the movie, I'm down on it now for that shameless ploy for an award.
 

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I agree with eljay re The Social Network. Although I find it to be more than "decent" but I still feel that it's overrated nevertheless. There are moments in the movie that "moved" me, but still, it's nowhere as great as it's been dsecribed everywhere.

The same goes with Winters Bone. I just don't "get it". It's OK, but nowhere near "Black Swan" or "Inception".
 

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RE: Inception

When I first saw Inception I thought it was great and deserving of Best Pic. but ...

Looking back on it after seeing it again on Bluray several times I'm having second thoughts. I have trouble remembering any of the characters' names, personalities and or even what happened when. It's a movie without a soul and even the special effects are not really as good as I first thought them to be. The only effect I can really remember in context is the city street defying the laws of physics. As for the rest, well ....

BTW: My choice for Best Pic. at the Oscars would now be The King's Speech. A movie for a thinking audience.
 

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BTW: My choice for Best Pic. at the Oscars would now be The King's Speech. A movie for a thinking audience.
We really enjoyed The King's Speech but agreed it was far more of an acting achievement than a movie achievement.

The Social Network on the other hand is the opposite (although Andrew Garfield was excellent). It was extremely well presented with great "polish" on the film-making from things like the editing, cinematography and direction to the soundtrack. For a fairly complex story, it was very well told and that in of itself is an achievement.
 
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