And The Oscar Goes To.....

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Top Bet (The Oscar Awards)

As a vengeful 14-year-old, Steinfeld holds her own against the formidable Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin in “True Grit.” In fact, in the Supporting Actress derby, she has already had eight wins—just one point behind our top bet, “The Fighter’s” chameleon-like Leo (with nine). “Animal Kingdom’s” Jacki Weaver has three, Helena Bonham-Carter (“The King’s Speech”) has two, and Amy Adams (“The Fighter”) has one win. Natalie Portman has so far won 15 awards for her gripping portrayal of a psychologically disturbed ballerina in “Black Swan.” Ironically, her fiercest rival isn’t the well-loved Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”), Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”) or Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”)—it’s Jennifer Lawrence (four wins) for her movingly subdued turn in the domestic drama, “Winter’s Bone.”

Of the 10 Best Picture contenders, David Fincher’s “The Social Network” has racked up 20 impressive wins so far, but Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” (with four) is now regarded as the movie to beat (it has the most nominations, with 12, followed by “True Grit,” with 10), especially after its crucial wins at the Producers and Directors Guilds, the Baftas and the SAG. Also in the running: “Black Swan,” “The Fighter,” “Inception,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “127 Hours,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone.”

Except for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Biutiful,” we’ve seen all the entries in the Acting, Directing and Best Feature Film categories—and while we were won over by the optimistic spirit of Hooper’s crowd-pleasing “The King’s Speech,” it’s hard to top Fincher’s work in “The Social Network,” which explores the dynamics of greed and friendship like an edge-of-your-seat suspense-thriller!

For Best Director, Fincher leads the race with 17 wins, followed by Aronofsky (two)—though it was Hooper who was crowned at the recent Directors Guild awards. We are, however, saddened by the exclusion in the lineup of the consistently brilliant Christopher Nolan, who successfully realized his out-of-this-world ideas in the ingenuously hip sci-fi mind-bender, “Inception.”

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