Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

We're getting close. Oh so close. The Oscars, if you can believe it, are just over two weeks away. We have a few more ceremonies on the horizon, but with ballots in hand for another week, it's a few more times into the breach. So, let's see what's on the docket today...

The Nominees Luncheon went down on Monday afternoon (which I view as a dubious press moment but Anne had a good time). So, we talk about that.

We start mining a few of the peripheral categories, touching a bit on doc shorts and live action shorts before fully discussing the animated short nominees. We both agree that Pixar could end up continuing its losing streak in the category.

The BAFTA Awards are Sunday night (which -- FYI -- Guy will be live-blogging). We do a mini-preview of sorts, though not real thorough. We both agree that a strong showing for "The Artist" over "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," particularly in the Best Actor category, would be telling.

Then there's this and that, moving from the Gurus o' Gold calls to some below the line elements, etc.

And finally, reader questions. We address queries regarding Shailene Woodley's ultimate fate this season, the pros and cons of moving the Oscars earlier and the seemingly unsettled Best Actor category.

Have a listen to the new podcast below, with John Williams (Happy Birthday) leading the way. If the file cuts off for you at any time, try the back-up download link at the bottom of this post. And as always, remember to subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.

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"Duel of the Fates" courtesy of John Williams and Sony Classical.
"Lady Don't Tek No" courtesy of Latyrx and Quannum Projects.

OSCAR TALK: Ep. 81