<p>Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's &quot;American Hustle.&quot;</p>

Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's "American Hustle."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Contender Countdown: Is Oscar ready to do the 'Hustle?'

Trying to avoid heartbreak in the Best Picture race

Last week this pundit discussed the buzz that was circling back on "Saving Mr. Banks" before its world premiere as the closing night film at the 2013 London Film Festival. And as chronicled by Guy Lodge's review and my own rundown of "Banks'" Oscar chances, the film is truly a player. Fast forward two days and in something of a surprise, another potential contender, "The Monuments Men," moves to 2014. That means we have just two unseen contenders left: "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."

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<p>Kanye West at the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards</p>

Kanye West at the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Yep, it took Kanye West to make the Hollywood Film Awards semi-relevant

The awards were presented last night and many a celebrity came out for the show

It's really hard to hide the disdain this pundit has for the Hollywood Film Awards. There may be no less authentic awards ceremony during awards season. Honestly, it's pretty much pointless and just an exercise for potential nominees to practice their speeches and red carpet talking points. Damn you Kanye West for giving the event any sort of relevancy.

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<p>Tom Hanks is Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is P.L. Travers in &quot;Saving Mr. Banks.&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks is Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Should 'Gravity' and '12 Years A Slave' be worried about 'Saving Mr. Banks?'

Tom Hanks could be on his way for Oscar no. 3

LONDON - "Saving Mr. Banks" closed the 2013 BFI London Film Festival Sunday night and, as expected, officially entered the 2014 Oscar race. When your movie tells the true story of the sparring relationship between the Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks, no less) and author P.L. Travers (Emma "where have you been this past decade" Thompson) over the making of "Mary Poppins," the Oscar bait signs are pretty obvious. Happily, and you can learn more in Guy Lodge's review, the film is actually pretty entertaining with some honest dramatic moments audiences won't expect. And yet, whether "Banks" will have a real impact on the Best Picture race might be too hard to gauge Stateside.

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<p>Orlando Boom returns as a younger Legolas in &quot;The Hobbit:&nbsp;The Desolation of Smaug.&quot;</p>

Orlando Boom returns as a younger Legolas in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Orlando Bloom avoids deja vu returning as Legolas in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Oh, and a pretty good career move

WELLINGTON, NZ - Can you really go home again? Orlando Bloom is finding out as he returns to the world of Middle Earth in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." Bloom reprises his role as the Elf with a bow, arrow and long luxurious blond hair, Legolas, that he originated in the Oscar-winning "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. And, frankly, it's not bad timing.

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<p>Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in &quot;Saving Mr. Banks.&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in "Saving Mr. Banks."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Contender Countdown: Will 'Saving Mr. Banks' crash the Best Picture race?

Things are getting tight

It may turn out to be the most competitive Best Picture race in years, but the showdown between co-frontrunners "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" to win it all may soon turn into a three-way race. Walt Disney Studios' "Saving Mr. Banks" will debut at the London Film Festival on Sunday as the Brits will be the first to chime in on the long-buzzed awards player. And, at this point, "Banks" may be the only remaining unseen contender who can make a real mark on the long marathon for the top prize.

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<p>Evangeline Lily as Tauriel in Peter Jackson's &quot;The Hobbit:&nbsp;The Desolation of Smaug.&quot;</p>

Evangeline Lily as Tauriel in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Evangeline Lilly goes from 'hired help' on 'Lost' to star treatment in 'The Hobbit'

An epic conversation on big elf ears and fighting for stunts

WELLINGTON, NZ - In May of 2012, Evangeline Lilly greeted a crew of American journalists on the set of "The Hobbit."  Actually, in theory it was the set of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." After our visit that changed and it's still not clear what movie features the scene we saw Lilly appear in, but her Middle Earth debut was subsequently pushed to a new "second" film, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." That meant the world would have to wait another year to meet Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh's original character, played by Lilly, Tauriel.

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<p>Raise your glasses, because Amy and Tina are back for two more years.</p>

Raise your glasses, because Amy and Tina are back for two more years.

Credit: AP Photo

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler save awards season and Oscar now has a 2015 job opening

Happy day, happy day

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Our long national nightmare is over. No, the government is still shut down and Congress is still driving us toward a default, but one of the greatest unanswered questions of the 2014 awards season has been answered: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting the Golden Globes again.

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<p>Daniel Radcliffe during a press conference for &quot;The F Word&quot; at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.</p>

Daniel Radcliffe during a press conference for "The F Word" at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agonisti

Is Daniel Radcliffe having the time of his life? You bet he is

'Kill Your Darlings' star has had a busy two years

Let's be frank.  Daniel Radcliffe made enough money starring in eight "Harry Potter" films to never have to work a day in his life gain.  And, even at 25, that's an intriguing proposition.  Instead, like his co-star Emma Watson, Radcliffe has been working his butt off.

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<p>Sarah Paulson and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from Steve McQueen's &quot;12 Years A Slave.&quot;</p>

Sarah Paulson and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Exclusive: Sarah Paulson questions Chiwetel Ejiofor in '12 Years a Slave' clip

'American Horror Story' actress the film's unheralded performance

The cast of Steve McQueen's acclaimed new drama "12 Years a Slave" is something of a wonder. Whether it's the remarkable work of Chiwetel Ejiofor as kidnapped freeman Solomon Northup or Michael Fassbender as the shockingly inhumane plantation owner Edwin Epps or Best Supporting Actress contender Lupita Nyong'o, the film features some of the most riveting performances of the year. What has gone slightly unheralded, however, are the fantastic smaller turns by the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano and Alfre Woodard. And, the always wonderful Ms. Sarah Paulson.

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<p>Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuaron's &quot;Gravity.&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Stop comparing 'Gravity' to 'Avatar' when it comes to Oscar

Not all apples and oranges are the same

After a film strikes a chord with moviegoers like "Gravity" did last weekend, it's easy to try and find analogies for it among previous Best Picture nominees or winners. One comparison that continues to be made is to James Cameron's 2009 game changer, "Avatar." Before we judge the merits of that argument, let's jog your brain and revisit some movie history, shall we?

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