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Round-up: The Oscar nominees do lunch

Also: 'Hugo' producer woes, and Dujardin slays 'em on Leno

<p>Best Actor hopefuls Jean Dujardin, Brad Pitt and George Clooney at yesterday's Oscar nominees luncheon.</p>

Best Actor hopefuls Jean Dujardin, Brad Pitt and George Clooney at yesterday's Oscar nominees luncheon.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

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I have to say, if I ran the Academy, I'd bar press from the Oscar Nominees Luncheon. Established as a relaxed event to foster a spirit of mutual appreciation and camaraderie among the nominees, away from the tedium of the campaign trail, the lunch has grown into just another PR pit-stop: the nominees remain switched on, while journalists monitor applause levels like hawks to gauge which contenders are more popular than others. The latter seems both a distasteful and unreliable practice: some pundits are getting excited that Best Supporting Actor dark horse Max von Sydow was the only nominee to receive a standing ovation, but then, frontrunner Christopher Plummer wasn't even in attendance. Anyway, Steve Pond, whose approach is to proceedings is more healthily sceptical than most, paints the clearest picture of the event. [The Odds]   

"Hugo" producer Graham King admits to Patrick Goldstein that the film's financial failings have taken their toll on him. [24 Frames]

Amid all the grousing from the blogger contingent, critic Peter Bradshaw stands firm on why "The Artist" deserves to win Best Picture. [The Guardian

Poor Uggie is suffering from a neurological disorder. Don't you all feel bad now for complaining about his red-carpet tricks? [Vulture]

I had heard that Jean Dujardin was a knockout on Leno. I was not misinformed. His John Wayne impression is something to see. [Hot Blog]

Viola Davis gets the haute couture treatment in this shoot, and looks amazing. Nice interview, too. [LA Times Magazine]

BAFTA are expecting their full slate of acting nominees to be in attendance at Sunday's awards. But that's not all: Cuba Gooding, Jr. will be there too! [The Race]

Nathaniel Rogers wraps up his readers' countdown of their all-time favorite Meryl Streep performances. (No surprise that their #1 matches mine.) [The Film Experience]

David Haglund proposes that the acting Oscars should be made unisex. It's a fair argument, though I fear women would draw the short straw. [Slate]

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Guy Lodge
Critic
Guy Lodge is a South African-born critic and sometime screenwriter. In addition to his work at In Contention, he is a freelance contributor to Variety, Time Out, Empire and The Guardian. He lives well beyond his means in London.
2013-2014 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
UPDATED: MARCH 2, 2014