And Your Oscar Nominees Are …

This is a preview of Sunday’s PopRox column in the Pocono Record.

now that silly season is over, we can get down to business

Have we all enjoyed the silly portion of Awards Season, reading all those really important stories about movies honored by such cherished and distinguished groups like the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards and the Online Film Critics Society Awards? Or the Golden Collar Awards?

No? Don’t worry. Things get super serious Tuesday when the Academy Awards nominations are announced.

But you don’t have to wait until then. Here are the 10 no-doubt-about-it, bet-the-farm, take-it-to-the-bank, I-can’t-stop-writing-cliches best picture nominees that will be announced Tuesday:

THE SURE THINGS

like it or not, the artist is coming to a oscar nomination ceremony near you

The Artist

The Descendants

Moneyball

Big winners from the Golden Globes. “But wait, Moneyball didn’t win jack!“ No, it didn’t, but when you consider how poorly baseball movies traditionally play overseas, just being nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press is pretty impressive. Any doubts The Artist would score a nomination ended when it cleaned up at the Golden Globes last weekend. If any of these three are kept out of the best picture race, I’ll watch a whole season of Two and a Half Men and laugh along with every joke.

THE PEDIGREE

War Horse

Hugo

You know what would be a good joke? If either Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese were listed as the director for Jack and Jill or some other stinkbomb just to see if it would get a free pass to the Oscars. It probably wouldn’t work. Would it work? It’s a little scary that it might. Anyway, here are two movies that you wouldn’t necessarily associate either with, and both are getting their shots at Oscar gold. That’s not to say either isn’t a good movie — it just seems a little strange seeing Scorsese directing a children’s movie. Does that mean Wes Craven will direct the next Hangover sequel or something?

THE BORN LOSERS

The Help

Midnight in Paris

Thanks for playing, guys! They’re pretty much locked into best picture nominations but their producers are guaranteed to be giving the “It was an honor just to be nominated” interview at a post-party while double-fisting a Jack and Coke and a Heineken. They may be thrown a token award somewhere — both are lock nominees in the screenplay categories — but they don’t stand a chance up against the big boys that already have beaten them soundly at every other awards ceremony.

THE GOLDEN GLOBE SNUBS

Tree of Life

Drive

before he turned into a jerk of a dad

There seems to be a genuine “Aww, poor little movie” sentiment growing around “Tree of Life” since it’s getting shut out at just about every awards ceremony. Have those people pitying it forgotten about how the movie wasted a half-hour of everyone’s life silently droning on about creation, dinosaurs and the history of the world up until now? It’s only been a couple months! But since it will be forever categorized as “A slice of Americana,” the Academy is probably going to throw it the bone it doesn’t deserve. USA! USA! USA! And in the Year of Ryan Gosling, as it should forever be known, shouldn’t at least one of his movies get nominated? 

THE WILD CARD

Bridesmaids

isn't this the reason the academy expanded to 10 best picture nominees? to include hits like bridesmaids?

Congratulations, Judd Apatow. You may have whined your way to a best picture nomination by griping about how you want to see the Academy start a best comedy category. Hope you’re happy that you played that card now to get Bridesmaids nominated since it probably won’t be remembered as one of the five funniest movies of 2011 and is in the argument for most overrated movie of the year.

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