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
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Read more about entry and rules here. Make your initial Oscar predictions now. Change them later as often as you wish up until Oscar Day. Below, meet our past winners of recent award prediction contests.
Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.