<p>Never let go.</p>

Never let go.

Credit: Warner Bros.

On Oscars and the personal gravity of art

With the industry's world stage on the horizon, just something from the heart

When you have passion for movies but find yourself covering the circus that is the Oscar race every year, you're constantly searching out that zen patch of land, away from, maybe even above, the fray.

There are a couple of things I've asserted in all my years of doing this. "No one needs awards coverage this deep," as quoted by New York Magazine in an article last week, is one. "Don't take this too seriously" is another. On the latter, I can't really force that stance on anyone, nor should I. If you want to take the Oscars seriously, as something indicative of greater truth, as something — because of the show's position on the "world stage" — with the potential of illuminating the human condition, or the milestones of artistic history, that's fine. I leave that in the hands of the artists and the art, not the voters and the contest.

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Picture - Is it really a two-horse race or will something shock the world?

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Picture - Is it really a two-horse race or will something shock the world?

'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' do battle while others look for an inside track

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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<p>Adele Exarchopoulos won the only award for &quot;Blue is the Warmest Color&quot; at tonight&#39;s Cesar ceremony.</p>

Adele Exarchopoulos won the only award for "Blue is the Warmest Color" at tonight's Cesar ceremony.

Credit: Sundance Selects

'Blue is the Warmest Color' falls to 'Me, Myself and Mum' at César Awards

Roman Polanski surprises, while 'Broken Circle Breakdown' bests 'Gravity'
Since its blazing triumph at Cannes, things haven't gone all that well for "Blue is the Warmest Color" on the awards beat. Oscar eligibility controversy aside, it was cockblocked  by "The Great Beauty" at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and European Film Awards, and now it's also lost on its own home turf, as actor-director Guillaume Gallienne's autobiographical comedy "Me, Myself and Her" took top honors at the César Awards.
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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Director - Cuarón is on a collision course with Oscar

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Director - Cuarón is on a collision course with Oscar

Unless Steve McQueen upsets to become the category's first black winner

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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<p>Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern at a Pacers/Lakers basketball game in January. Nicholson has been a big supporter of Dern&#39;s behind the scenes this season.</p>

Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern at a Pacers/Lakers basketball game in January. Nicholson has been a big supporter of Dern's behind the scenes this season.

Bruce Dern says the Oscar race was way longer than expected at Paramount nominees toast

'At Telluride I thought we were halfway done!'

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — With the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars coming up this weekend, finally putting a bow on the year and wrapping up the kudos season, studios, agencies, production companies and anyone in between are feting those in their midst with skin in the game at this soiree or that. Thursday night, among other things, it was Paramount Pictures holding one of its big star-packed parties at Spago in Beverly Hills, everyone from Roger Corman to Jane Seymour turning out to honor the studio's Oscar nominees in films like "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Nebraska," "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" and "Star Trek Into Darkness."

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Short Film (Live Action) - A wide open race will make or break office pools

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Short Film (Live Action) - A wide open race will make or break office pools

Four out of the five could easily take the win here

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Foreign Language Film - Cannes hits face a 'Breakdown'

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Foreign Language Film - Cannes hits face a 'Breakdown'

Could Italy return to the winners' circle for the first time in 15 years?

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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Oscar Talk: Final predictions as 'Gravity' squares off with '12 Years a Slave'

Oscar Talk: Final predictions as 'Gravity' squares off with '12 Years a Slave'

Last call for picks in all 24 categories

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is broadcast in special installments 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.

On the docket today…

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<p>Maribel Verdu in Alfonso Cuaron&#39;s &quot;Y tu Mama Tambien.&quot;</p>

Maribel Verdu in Alfonso Cuaron's "Y tu Mama Tambien."

Credit: IFC Films

Roundup: Finding the Cuarón connection

Also: Could an American have made '12 Years a Slave?'

When Alfonso Cuarón presumably lifts the Best Director Oscar on Sunday, it'll be a deserved individual win, but it'll also be past-due recognition for one of the most versatile and adventurous stylists of the modern cinema. Beyond his name, what connects "A Little Princess" to "Y tu Mama Tambien" to "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" to "Gravity?" In a lovely essay, Michael Joseph Gross has a go at explaining: "All of Cuarón’s films are road movies, to greater and lesser extents. On the road, travelers are challenged to become themselves by transcending themselves, to restructure their perspective by empathizing with the people they encounter; and this act, by its nature, constantly creates new narrative understandings." [Vanity Fair]

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<p>Jill Scott performs &quot;Happy&quot; at the first Oscars concert Thurday night at UCLA.</p>

Jill Scott performs "Happy" at the first Oscars concert Thurday night at UCLA.

Credit: Phil Gallo, Twitter, Billboard

Jill Scott's 'Happy,' 'Let it Go,' 'Gravity' blow the roof off first Oscars concert

John Williams is the star of the night

The Academy held its first Oscars concert on Thursday night at Royce Hall at UCLA.  It better not be the last.

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