<p>George Clooney accepting his Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 2005 Academy Awards.</p>

George Clooney accepting his Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 2005 Academy Awards.

Credit: AMPAS

The elite Oscar club George Clooney is set to join

How many Oscar-winning actors also boast wins in other categories?

Amid all the fuss over Ben Affleck in the run-up to Sunday's Academy Awards -- with his path from surprise omission to probable vindication, all in the space of a few weeks, likely to be the lasting narrative of this year's Oscars -- there's been markedly little attention paid to his nominated co-producers. That wouldn't normally be very surprising: producers, by and large, don't tend to be as photogenic or as headline-friendly as the Ben Afflecks of this world. But it's slightly different when one of the co-producers in question in George Clooney.

Clooney has been a typically urbane, but graciously quiet, presence on the campaign trail for "Argo" all season long: it's Affleck's film, after all, and he's been selling the hell out of it, so there's no call for his fellow A-list star to switch on the jazz hands.

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<p>Daniel Craig in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Roundup: The greatest hits of Roger Deakins

Also: Does the Academy still have a blockbuster blind spot?

I'm not sure "Skyfall" represents the best work in the field -- though I prefer it to the presumed frontrunner in the category -- but it's hard not to root for Roger Deakins in the Best Cinematography race on Sunday. The British DP's perennial bridesmaid status at the Oscars has grown into a widely publicized sticking point, and Vulture has further highlighted the debt with a great piece on 10 key shots from his career, and how he got them. (Hey, that sounds not unlike one of our favorite annual features.) For "Skyfall," they've selected Bond's arrival at the Macao gambling palace for scrutiny. Deakins explains the difficulties of faking mass candlelight, and brushes off talk of how he excels in the digital department: "Whether or not it's film or digital, much more of my career has been about choosing the location, getting an idea of the look of something, and choosing the practical kinds of lighting and the positions of the windows, anything that enables you to get the look you want." [Vulture

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Final 2013 Oscars predictions: Where did HitFix's experts land?

Final 2013 Oscars predictions: Where did HitFix's experts land?

Which 14 categories did our pundits agree on?

The 85th annual Academy Awards are right around the corner as Oscar weekend is ready to descend on Tinseltown and, indeed, the world stage. Is it smooth sailing for "Argo" and Daniel Day-Lewis? Did the tight races for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor yield surprises? What mysteries do the envelopes still hold? We'll know for sure next week and the Monday morning quarterbacking will be fascinating to behold, but in the meantime, it's last call on predictions.

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<p>&quot;Life of Pi&quot;</p>

"Life of Pi"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Life of Pi' and 'Lincoln' among International Film Music Critics Association award winners

Danny Elfman crowned Film Composer of the Year

Mychael Danna was awarded Film Score of the Year by the International Film Music Critics Association for his work on Ang Lee's "Life of Pi." Danny Elfman was recognized as Film Composer of the Year while "Lincoln," "Ted," "Skyfall," "John Carter" and "Rise of the Guardians" won throughout the genre categories. Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the 2012-2013 film awards season at The Circuit.

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<p>Naomi Watts in &quot;The&nbsp;Impossible&quot;</p>

Naomi Watts in "The Impossible"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis and Naomi Watts square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

The race for Best Actress this year started out typical: it was thin. That's not a knock on the performances but really a knock on the kinds of roles open to women in this day and age. That dearth frequently yields a lackluster showing for the category, not that there aren't other great performances worth looking at. The problem is, those great performances aren't usually the sort that tickle the Academy's fancy.

By the end of the season, it got tighter. The supposed frontrunner first got some serious competition from a leading lady few saw coming, while things started percolating for a foreign film hopeful at just the right time. Meanwhile, performances nominated elsewhere from the likes of Helen Mirren ("Hitchcock") and Marion Cotillard ("Rust and Bone") were left by the wayside.

The nominees are…

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<p>Keira Knightley in &quot;Anna Karenina&quot;</p>

Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina"

Credit: Focus Features

Tech Support: Final thoughts on the 2012 crafts races

From Best Cinematography through Best Visual Effects, what will win?

I am already having withdrawal symptoms from this year’s Oscar race. I don’t need to repeat the litany of reasons this has become a unique year in Oscar history. I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it. SO many categories are exceptionally tight races. The crafts categories are no exception and there are many below-the-line artists to cheer for this year.

I think the Oscar Guides have been superb this year, and I don’t mean to duplicate them, so I’ll try to cut to the chase as I give a final preview of the 10 crafts categories set to be awarded at Sunday's 85th annual Academy Awards.

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<p>Joaquin Phoenix in &quot;The&nbsp;Master&quot;</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix and Denzel Washington square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

Down the stretch in phase one, and certainly once the nominees had been set in stone, an obvious Best Actor frontrunner emerged as maybe the safest bet on Oscar night. But the Best Actor race was competitive all season long in the nominations stage. A tight seven- or eight-horse race led to surprises here and there in the various precursor announcements, and even a slight one in the ultimate nominations announcement.

SAG nominee and expected contender John Hawkes ("The Sessions") was left on the sidelines, but he joined hopefuls like Jean-Louis Trintignant ("Amour"), Anthony Hopkins ("Hitchcock"), as well as Golden Globe-nominee Richard Gere ("Arbitrage") and BAFTA nominee Ben Affleck ("Argo") on the outside. But the ultimate line-up featured the ill and the impaired, the criminal and the Presidential, as two Oscar virgins joined a trio nominated a collective 14 times over the years.

The nominees are…

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<p>Kristin Chenoweth</p>

Kristin Chenoweth

Credit: AP Photo/Carlo Allegri

Roundup: The show's not over 'til Seth MacFarlane sings

Also: The women on the sidelines, and Jean Dujardin's Oscar signal

In case you were worried that this year's Oscar ceremony won't feature enough musical numbers -- you know, besides the nominated songs, Barbra Streisand's In Memoriam moment and the odd-sounding tribute to "Chicago," "Dreamgirls" and "Les Mis" -- you can breathe a sigh of relief. Apparently the show won't conclude with the Best Picture presentation, but with a "special" song from Kristin Chenoweth and Seth MacFarlane that producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron claim will be "a can't-miss moment." (Of course, the producers who misguidedly chose to end the 2010 show with a children's choir singing "Over the Rainbow" probably thought that too.) On the one hand, the Academy has definitely let go of the "young, hip Oscars" meme that failed so dismally a few years ago, and for that we're grateful. But is this overkill? [The Vote

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Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Long Shot: When good enough is good enough

Why 'Argo' is right for Oscar, plus my latest predictions

There's nothing like an imminent Oscar to remind previously indifferent observers just how vociferously they actually dislike a film. With Ben Affleck's "Argo" four days away from an all-but-certain Best Picture win, it's been the subject of far more takedown pieces and message-board ire than it appeared to merit upon its autumn release -- back when you might have been forgiven simply for thinking it a tidily enjoyable little studio thriller.

Thanks to the Oscar race, we've since learned that "Argo" is at once so much more and less than that: it's a blind signifier of western anti-Iranian sentiment, a jumped-up betrayal of a true story with an irresponsibly embroidered final act, a smug example of Hollywood self-mythologising and a slap in the face of Canada to boot. Much column ink (or the intangible online equivalent) has been spent on telling us what a grave mistake the Academy is heedlessly making or all these reasons, not to mention the formal limitations and alleged martyr complex of Affleck himself -- whom we are repeatedly told is winning out of collective industry pity, as if the lack of a Best Director nod for a successful, handsome, moneyed Hollywood prince is a sob story that has moved voters en masse, despite their complete disregard for his film. 

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<p>&quot;What does this thing do,&quot;&nbsp;one Academy voter apparently wonders.</p>

"What does this thing do," one Academy voter apparently wonders.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Why the entire Academy should not be allowed to vote on every category

Someone tell this guy what a re-recording mixer does

In case you needed reminding that there are those in the Academy ignorant to the various crafts and trades recognized at the Oscars, I direct you to this Hollywood Reporter piece built around one brave soul's ballot and open reasoning about his vote.

The voter is a member of the Academy's directors branch and, quite frankly, is a perfect case study for why the Academy should not be allowed to vote for the winners in every category. This is my opinion, of course, but maybe this will be a bit of illumination as to why I have that opinion. Because there are guys like this throughout the organization. There are plenty who are astute and get the nuance in this or that category. But many simply don't.

Take Best Sound Mixing, for instance. It's a shame to me that a member of an esteemed branch such as the directors apparently has no clue whatsoever as to what a re-recording mixer does. "This is the award for sound that is mixed on the set on the day," he says, clueless, getting it dead wrong.

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