Oscars '11

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I hear the complaint often: Why doesn’t the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominate movies for Oscars that people have actually seen? That’s an especially sticky prospect for ClearPlay users, since many nominations go to movies released late the previous year, and you might be waiting for the movies to appear on DVD before you’ll watch them.

To calm people’s concerns, the Academy expanded the Oscar pool to 10 nominees last year, and repeated the practice again for this year’s Oscar ceremony, which will be broadcast Sunday night. And the nominees are: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’’ Bone. Odds are you’ve seen at least a couple.

ClearPlay In Action!

The Social Network, Toy Story 3, Inception, The Kids are All Right and Winter’s Bone are already on DVD, and chances are, you’ve already ClearPlayed them. What of the others? What will ClearPlay edit?

127 Hours (Rated R): Some implied intercourse and profanity, but the main reason for the rating is a graphically violent scene that is the centerpiece of the movie, showing how far a man will go to free himself from rock and survive.

Black Swan (Rated R): The ballet movie focuses on the psychological portrait of a dancer (Natalie Portman) who is technically brilliant, but lacks the passion to sell the role. Because of the passion angle, there is a lot of talk of sex, some nudity, and an explicit scene between two women. Also, language.

The Fighter (Rated R): Wall-to-wall swearing (more than 100 F-words), and some sensuous scenes with a scantily clad Amy Adams. Also, some bloody boxing violence. And did I mention the swearing?

The King’ Speech (Rated R): Take out one brief profanity-laced tirade that is played for comic effect, and the movie would probably be rated G, though that doesn’t mean kids will like it.

True Grit (Rated PG-13): In this retelling of the popular 1969 Western, there is little sex or profanity, but the violence is often bloody. Look for ClearPlay to trim several scenes with startling images, including graphic gunshots, hangings, stabbings, de-fingerings (don’t ask), and a snake bite.

What movie will win, I mean, receive the Oscar for Best Picture?…

First, let’s weed out the longshots. Inception — Too confusing. Toy Story 3 — Too animated. Winter’s Bone — Too obscure. 127 Hours — Too much James Franco. The Kids are All Right — Too funny (the Academy tends not to honor comedies).

    Now the remaining five:

Black Swan — A good solid effort from director Darren Aronofsky, and the Academy loves movies about performers. But it may be a tad on the bleak side for the Academy’s tastes.

The Fighter — A boxing movie about an underdog boxer down on his luck, finally getting his shot at the title and … wait a minute, isn&rsuo;t that Rocky? Though The Fighter features some brilliant performances, it suffers from Who’ll–win–the–big–match–itis.

True Grit — A Western? A Western??? Yeah, Westerns have been honored, such as Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven. But filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen just took home an Oscar for No Country For Old Men a few years ago. Let’s spread the wealth a little.

Word on the street is it’s a two movie race between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, with The King’s Speech the favorite. I’m not buying it. I think in the end, The Social Network will resonate more with voters and come out with more friends, making it the winner.

As for the other main categories …

Best Actor: Go with Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. As close a thing as there is to a guarantee this year.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman in Black Swan. A showy performance that plays to her strengths.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale in The Fighter. Bale’s always been underrated. Not anymore.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo in The Fighter. Because that seems to be the buzz.

Marty Nabhan—“I’d like to thank ClearPlay for this award …”

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