<p>James Franco in &quot;127 Hours.&quot;</p>

James Franco in "127 Hours."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Surprise: '127 Hours' makes the cut for the 2011 Producer's Guild nominees

'Winter's Bone' overlooked by the PGA for best picture

The Producer's Guild of America announced their theatrical motion picture and television nominees for the 2011 PGA Awards this morning and there were hardly any surprises.   The Producer's Guild nods are seen as the closest  bellwether for the best picture Oscar and have expanded to 10 nominees to keep that alleged distinction alive.

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<p>Forget &quot;True Grit,&quot;&nbsp;could &quot;Toy Story 3&quot;&nbsp;be the<em> real</em> darkhorse Oscar player?</p>

Forget "True Grit," could "Toy Story 3" be the real darkhorse Oscar player?

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Is Quentin Tarantino's adoration a good Oscar sign for 'Toy Story 3'?

Academy member says Pixar blockbuster is his favorite of 2010

It goes without saying that Pixar's critically acclaimed blockbuster, "Toy Story 3," will be nominated for the best picture Oscar.  What has been generally assumed, however, is that any animated film can't actually win the Academy's biggest prize.  Besides the fact only two animated features have ever been nominated ("Beauty and the Beast" and "Up"), there is a longstanding belief that the majority of the actor's branch will never vote for a film which isn't considered live action.  And since the actors' branch makes up the largest segment of the Academy, landing the nomination has been seen as the win…so far.  One prominent AMPAS member and Oscar winner, however, may have ended up revealing who's getting his vote for best picture and it's certainly not a live action flick.

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<p>Natalie Portman is &quot;a glow&quot;&nbsp;on the cover of EW's annual Oscar issue this week.</p>

Natalie Portman is "a glow" on the cover of EW's annual Oscar issue this week.

Credit: EW

Oscar Watch: Natalie Portman and James Franco snag EW's Oscar cover but does it matter?

Plus: Ineligible WGA Award contenders and HFPA and Dick Clark Prods get nasty

There used to be a time when getting your Academy Award contending star or film on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's annual first "Oscar" issue was a big deal.  Just like landing your holiday movie on the cover of Vanity Fair meant something.  Oh, how times of changed. This web veteran doesn't mean to knock an already crumbling print industry, but you hardly hear anyone talking about who made the front page of Friday's New York Times or Los Angeles Times Arts & Leisure and Calendar sections respectively these days.  And a whole generation will soon work in movie marketing never understanding what a "double truck" print ad is (figure it out) after the two biggies used to be full of them.  That being said, kudos to Fox Searchlight for locking the placement on EW for "Black Swan's" Natalie Portman and "127 Hours'" James Franco this week.  As a non-competing studio publicist noted to me this morning, "You can't knock it as noise." Indeed, especially with Portman in a seemingly tight race with Annette Bening for best actress and Franco attempting to pull off the unthinkable by hosting and upsetting frontrunner Colin Firth at the same time.

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<p>&quot;Another Year's&quot;&nbsp;Leslie Manville and Jim Broadbent.</p>

"Another Year's" Leslie Manville and Jim Broadbent.

Is it too late for 'Another Year' to crash the best picture race?

Watch: Jim Broadbent and Leslie Manville discuss working with Mike Leigh

Three new movies are opening in limited release today that have taken completely different and unexpected paths during awards season so far.

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<p>Kirsten Dunst attends the world premiere of &quot;All Good Things&quot; in New York on Dec. 1st.</p>

Kirsten Dunst attends the world premiere of "All Good Things" in New York on Dec. 1st.

Credit: AP Photo/Pete Kramer

With two upcoming prestige flicks things are 'All Good' for Kirsten Dunst

Walter Salles and Lars von Trier are next

Was "Spider-Man 4" falling apart the best thing that ever happened to Kirsten Dunst?  It certainly didn't come up in our conversation a few weeks ago (repeat: she never said that), but in this writer's opinion it might have. 

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<p>James Franco smiles during a moment of &quot;127 Hours.&quot;</p>

James Franco smiles during a moment of "127 Hours."

An Awards worthy view of the top 10 movies of 2010

'How To Train Your Dragon,' '127 Hours,' 'Inception' and...?

Even in the silly world of awards season, where the race is sometimes more interesting then the eventual winners, "the best" is a completely arbitrary thing.  Picks are made on taste, emotional attachment and personal history just as much as someone's knowledge of cinema as an art form.  So, it's no surprise one person's top 10 movies of the year may not match another's.

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<p>Michelle Williams:&nbsp;&quot;I&rsquo;d taken a year off and this is what I went back to work with and I was beside myself with fear because I felt rusty.&nbsp; I wasn&rsquo;t sure if I wanted to act anymore.&nbsp; I wasn&rsquo;t even sure if I could act anymore.&nbsp; I didn&rsquo;t know what I had&hellip;I didn&rsquo;t know what was inside of me.&nbsp; I didn&rsquo;t know what I was going to have to work with and I didn&rsquo;t really want to leave home.&quot;</p>

Michelle Williams: "I’d taken a year off and this is what I went back to work with and I was beside myself with fear because I felt rusty.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to act anymore.  I wasn’t even sure if I could act anymore.  I didn’t know what I had…I didn’t know what was inside of me.  I didn’t know what I was going to have to work with and I didn’t really want to leave home."

Credit: AP Photo/Pete Kramer

'Blue Valentine's' Michelle Williams says she wasn't sure she could act again

A frank interview with the incredibly unique and talented actress

One of the more intriguing aspects of this year's awards season is the spotlight its put on some of the more adventurous thirtysomething actors working today.  in one corner, "127 Hours'" James Franco is slowly becoming a legend based on his diverse (to say the least) body of work.  "Blue Valentine's" Ryan Gosling is known for going the extra mile for a role even when his director didn't get the memo. And Gosling's co-star, Michelle Williams, has shown an even greater propensity then her male colleagues to buck her Hollywood origins.  Besides one cameo role in "Shutter Island," Williams has pretty much stuck to indies since landing her first Oscar nominations for "Brokeback Mountain" almost five years ago.  And that brings us to her acclaimed work in "Valentine."

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<p>Can &quot;The Fighter&quot;&nbsp;come out of nowhere to take out &quot;The Social Network&quot;&nbsp;or &quot;The King's Speech&quot;?&nbsp; We're not so sure.</p>

Can "The Fighter" come out of nowhere to take out "The Social Network" or "The King's Speech"?  We're not so sure.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Contender Countdown: 'Network' and 'King's Speech' lead the best picture race before Christmas

The tea leaves aren't clear on who is the real frontrunner

Oscar pundits are bored and it's not even January yet  On one hand, "The Social Network's" daily drumbeat of winning one critic's group best film award after another is becoming admittedly a yawnfest (yes, the media are shallow folk).  On the other hand, some prognosticators actually believe a film like "The Fighter" can come out of nowhere to win it all. 

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<p>Sofia Coppola on the set of &quot;Somewhere.&quot;</p>

Sofia Coppola on the set of "Somewhere."

Credit: Focus Features

Sofia Coppola checks in to 'Somewhere' and reflects on 'The Twilight Saga'

Filmmaker talks about conceiving a not-so true Hollywood story

Sofia Coppola got very rare opportunity with her new movie "Somewhere."  The Oscar winning filmmaker was granted a shooting pass at West Hollywood's famed Chateau Marmont hotel on the Sunset Strip.  Sure, they only had three weeks and had to stay out of the way of the guests, but those were easy conditions to agree to for a chance to film in the legendary hotel.

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<p>Jeff Bridges talks about the possibility of returning to his famous characters from &quot;The Big Lebowski&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Starman.&quot;</p>

Jeff Bridges talks about the possibility of returning to his famous characters from "The Big Lebowski" and "Starman."

'True Grit's' Jeff Bridges wants to know what happened to 'Starman'

Doesn't think 'The Dude' will return to the big screen

It's hard to believe, but Jeff Bridges might be approaching…overexposure.  Like Betty White, the acting legend has been a consistent presence for the past 12 months. First, running the awards season train to his long-awaited first Academy Award for "Crazy Heart."  And, most recently, as part of the massive publicity machine for "Tron Legacy."  Somewhere in-between, Bridges found the time to star in the Coen Bros. new adaptation of Charles Portis' novel "True Grit."  Moviegoers should always be so lucky.

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