<p>Jeff Bridges should land his second straight Academy Award nomination for best actor in &quot;True Grit.&quot;</p>

Jeff Bridges should land his second straight Academy Award nomination for best actor in "True Grit."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

"True Grit" enters the Oscar race as a faithful Western with heart

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are impressive in the Coen Bros.' adaptation of Charles Portis' novel

Let's get one thing out of the way first: "True Grit" is a clear contender in the best picture race.  Any studios hoping or prophesying to the media that the Coen Bros. and producer Scott Rudin have just delivered a strong commercial player for the holidays are sadly mistaken.  Not only is "Grit" a player, but it's one of the best pictures of the year.

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<p>Christopher Nolan, Ellen Page and Leonardo DiCaprio at the world premiere of &quot;Inception&quot;&nbsp;in Los Angeles this past July.</p>

Christopher Nolan, Ellen Page and Leonardo DiCaprio at the world premiere of "Inception" in Los Angeles this past July.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Christopher Nolan bring 'Inception' to Oscar

Nolan and Thomas reveal they are handing 'Superman' over to Zack Snyder

Appropriately timed to the blockbuster's DVD and Blu-ray release next week, Warner Bros. held a swank celebration for "Inception" Tuesday night in the Hollywood Hills.  And while only director Christopher Nolan, producer Emma Thomas and additional behind-the-scenes talent such as composer Hans Zimmer  were promised to be in attendance, the party found stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Ken Watanabe coming out to support the film and its potent awards campaign.  Besides select members of the media, the all important Hollywood Foreign Press Association were in the house, er, mansion as the picture battles for what is turning out to be an incredibly competitive best film - drama category for the organization's upcoming Golden Globes.

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<p>Can Looney Tunes staples Road Runner and Wilie E. Coyote make a triumphant return with a visit to Oscar land?</p>

Can Looney Tunes staples Road Runner and Wilie E. Coyote make a triumphant return with a visit to Oscar land?

Credit: Warner Bros.

Oscar narrows fields for Live Action and Animated Shorts

Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote are still in the hunt for a nomination

The Academy released the shortlists for best live action short and best animated short this morning with few surprises on the list.  Of course, the number of people in the industry or media who actually track the live action short race could probably be counted on one hand, so it's unclear if there actually were any surprises yet.  The animated short field, on the other hand, is much more recognizable.

The 10 finalists for best animated short are:

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<p>&quot;The Kids Are All Right&quot; scored five Independent Spirit Award Nominations.</p>

"The Kids Are All Right" scored five Independent Spirit Award Nominations.

Credit: Focus Features

Analysis: 'Winter's Bone' and 'Kids Are All Right' big Spirit Award nominees winners

Lack of love for Ryan Gosling, Dianne Wiest and 'I Am Love' is unjustifiable

It's easy to assume that the Independent Spirit Awards just recognize films the general public haven't heard of, but that's rarely been the case.  Previous best film winners include recognized classics such as "Platoon," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain," "Pulp Fiction," "Fargo" and "Lost in Translation." So, it's no surprise that for the most part this year's Spirit nominees will be pretty recognizable to moviegoers when the awards ceremony is held on Feb. 26.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence missed all the big wins for &quot;Winter's Bone.&quot;&nbsp; She was in London shooting &quot;X-Men:&nbsp;First Class.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence missed all the big wins for "Winter's Bone."  She was in London shooting "X-Men: First Class."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Winners and reaction to the 2010 Gotham Awards

'Winter's Bone' wins best film and best ensemble

It was clearly "Winter's Bone's" night at the 20th Anniversary Gotham Awards.  The Sundance Film Festival dramatic jury prize winner won both the best film and best ensemble awards.  The Gothams certainly have a place in the heart of New York's independent film community, but you could easily argue the Independent Spirit Award nominations themselves (not even the winners) have a bigger impact on most of the year end races.   Here's a rundown of this year's list of winners and some quick reaction.


"Waiting for Superman"  - WINNER

Analysis: Beating out "Winter's Bone" is no easy feat.  Nice coup for the Paramount Sundance pickup that's hoping to win the best doc award at the Oscars.

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<p>Anne Hathaway almost stole the show from Hugh Jackman at the 81st Academy Awards.&nbsp; Something tells me she'll steal the show.</p>

Anne Hathaway almost stole the show from Hugh Jackman at the 81st Academy Awards.  Something tells me she'll steal the show.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Oscar goes in a new direction with hosts Franco and Hathaway

Duo should bring fresh energy to the 83rd Academy Awards

And now for something completely different…youth.  Yes, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took a bold and very intriguing step today by announcing that James Franco and Anne Hathaway will host the 83rd Academy Awards this February.  And after last year's dismal turn by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin all we can say is a big old "whew."

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Mark Wahlberg says they 'really hit each other' in 'The Fighter'

Mark Wahlberg says they 'really hit each other' in 'The Fighter'

Admits he was embarrassed by how long it took to make the picture

Mark Wahlberg is a sports fan.  And he's a big Boston sports fan.  So, while speaking to the press a few weekends ago for his new spirited drama "The Fighter," Wahlberg made sure there was a flat screen TV eyesight so he could keep track of a very close Patriots and Colts game.  I was lucky to get Wahlberg's complete attention because of a commercial break, but it was endearing to hear him scream for joy when the Patriots sealed the deal.  He was so loud you could probably have heard it on either floor above and below his room.  It's that personal passion that fueled Wahlberg's four-year journey to get "The Fighter" made.

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<p>Don't look so concerned Colin.&nbsp; &quot;The King's Speech&quot; had the biggest per screen debut of the year.</p>

Don't look so concerned Colin.  "The King's Speech" had the biggest per screen debut of the year.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Box Office: 'King's Speech' has a triumphant limited debut

Best picture contender lands the highest per screen of the year

"The Kids Are All Right" had a stellar run, but the Focus Features indie hit has officially abdicated its title as highest per-screen opener of the year.  Best picture contender "The King's Speech" had a knockout debut this weekend with $349,791 in four theaters or $87,448 per screen to take the crown.  And yes, it looks like The Weinstein Company has a hit on their hands…at least in limited release.

"King's" mark surpasses "Kid's" per screen of $70,282 on seven screens in July.  It's more impressive when considering another best picture player, the much buzzed about "127 Hours," grossed $66,213 per screen in four theaters earlier this month.  In fact, when considering the all time limited openers "Speech" fared better than "Up in the Air's" $78,763 per on 15 last year and was just behind "There Will Be Blood's" $95,370 per in 2007. 

The anointed best picture frontrunner since its stirring debut at the Telluride Film Festival and winning the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, "King's Speech" has kept a low, but steady profile as the awards season race has slowly heated up.  The film will get it's share of critical end of year accolades, but The Weinstein Company knows nothing will help cement its odds at defeating "The Social Network" or "Inception" for the best picture Oscar more than impressive box office.  The mini-major plans to aggressively expand "Speech" over the next month so chances are if you live outside of New York or Los Angeles you'll find it at your local multiplex way before the Golden Globes air on January 16.

As for "127 Hours," the inspirational Danny Boyle drama had a solid Thanksgiving run with $1.7 million from 293 theaters for a new gross of $4.4 million.  The picture hasn't been the twentysomething phenomenon many expected, but awards heat -- especially for Franco's performance -- should eventually get it to a $12-15 million gross.  Any more will be dependent on year end accolades and a big showing at the Globes and Oscars.

A number of other awards contenders are still in theaters including the aforementioned "Social Network" which hit the $90 million mark today.  Expect Sony Pictures to keep the film in theaters as long as possible to try and hit that "magic" $100 million mark.  Other potential contenders such as "Black Swan," "The Fighter, "True Grit" and "Another Year" will hit theaters over the next few weeks.

Also notable, potential best documentary winner "Waiting for 'Superman'" has grossed an admirable $6.2 million so far and is closing in on "Babies'" $7.3 million summer take for the largest doc gross of the year. 

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<p>The one truly memorable and iconic moment from Walt Disney's &quot;Tangled.&quot;</p>

The one truly memorable and iconic moment from Walt Disney's "Tangled."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Oscar Watch: 'Tangled' makes best animated feature race hairy

Plus: Reminders for all the big nomination announcements next week

Another funny thing has happened in the best animated feature category.  First, animation and Oscar fans everywhere were disappointed to learn earlier this month that only 15 films qualified for this year's award.  By Academy rules, that means only three pictures can be nominated in the category.  Last year, five films made the cut and it was expected 2011 would duplicated that feat.  No dice.  Not when you don't have 16 qualified films.  Yep, that's right -  just one additional qualifying picture would have bumped it up to five. 

When that news broke, most pundits and animation industry watchers made "Toy Story 3" and "How To Train Your Dragon" locks for two of the three nomination slots.  The third?  That would most likely be a battle between Universal Pictures' monster hit "Despicable Me" and Sony Classics' "The Illusionist."  That was, however, until this past week. 

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Beau Garrett in Joseph Kosinski's "Tron Legacy"

Beau Garrett in Joseph Kosinski's "Tron Legacy."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Tron Legacy' and 'Narnia' ready to rule December

Watch: Producer and Disney prez Sean Bailey talks 3-D

When pre-release polling hit studio E-mail in boxes this past Monday, Sean Bailey no doubt took a huge sigh of relief.  Along with Walden Media and 20th Century Fox's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader," Bailey's pet project "Tron Legacy" is tracking as though it will hit theaters like a monster.  Both films should be two of the biggest openings since the summer season.  Considering how much the studio has invested in production and marketing the film for over three years, that's very good news.

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