Seven ways to sound smart at your Oscar party this year: "For many casual moviegoers, watching the Oscars is akin to being a baseball nut who shows up to a Super Bowl party. There are often so many unfamiliar faces, names and films that Hollywood’s biggest night essentially becomes an exercise in patience: When will we finally get to the one category where I have a good sense of who deserves to win? ... But never fear: In a bid to keep you in top Oscar form, TIME has assembled 7 quick and easy talking points that should serve you well Sunday night." TIME
Oscar telecast will reflect nostalgic nominees: "Oscar show producer Brian Grazer says that the Hollywood & Highland Center, the hall formerly known as the Kodak where the ceremony takes place, will be redesigned to resemble a 'timeless movie theater.' It's a fitting transformation on a night whose key nominees are 'Hugo' and 'The Artist,' two love songs to forebears of the flickering image. Set amid the transition from silent cinema to talking pictures in the late 1920s, 'The Artist' is the best-picture favorite and would become the only silent movie to win top honors since the first Oscar show 83 years ago." CBS NEWS
Tony Bennett will perform at the Governors Ball: "After the Oscar show, while the 1,500 guests of the Governors Ball will not be sitting down to dinner--the Academy is feting them buffet style this year--they will be treated to a performance by music legend Tony Bennett. Academy president Tom Sherak calls the 85-year-old crooner 'that rare artist who truly reaches across generations. Welcoming him to the Ball is an honor and privilege.'" THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD
What if they Oscars were held like a playoff tournament? "For example: Does Harvey Weinstein really care that 'The Artist' won Best Picture from the Washington D.C. Area Film Critic's association? No, he doesn't. But! If 'The Artist' had to beat 'Sucker Punch' (in your classic one seed versus eight seed situation) to advance to the London critics, well, the stakes would be quite a bit higher. In other words: An upset would actually mean something." MOVIEFONE
"General Hospital" fights against the threat of cancelllation: "The longest-running soap on the air, and the sole survivor on ABC, desperately wants to make it to 50 next year, which explains why Port Charles—its fictional epicenter—is blazing with activity. A beloved character has died; fan favorites from the show’s 80s heyday are returning; and some new faces are arriving who will definitely be familiar to many soap fans. Almost a year after receiving the bitter news that its ABC daytime counterparts, 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live,' were being canceled, there’s a new hopeful energy on the Los Angeles stages, where 'General Hospital' is taped." THE DAILY BEAST
Study shows piracy has little effect on US box office, but makes a difference overseas: "While researchers in the study acknowledge an increase in piracy — especially for genres such as science fiction and action films — U.S. audiences still prefer the theatrical experience. The study found that Americans are heading to theaters in about the same numbers they would have otherwise in the absence of piracy, suggesting that perhaps people opt to see a film in a theater despite an initial pass online, or word of mouth from a pirated copy of a film may push others to the multiplex." DEADLINE
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.