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Best Picture Nominee Cliff Notes

Best Actress Academy Awards

Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr

This Sunday, February 27, is Hollywood’s be all end all of award shows, it’s the Oscars!

Don’t know anything about the Oscars (a.k.a. the Academy Awards)? Don’t even know what films are nominated? Well here’s a handy dandy rundown of the ten films fighting for Best Picture of the Year.

127 Hours (total nominations: 6)
Stars: James Franco
1-Sentence-Synopsis: Based on the true story of a mountain climber who gets himself stuck between a rock and a hard place (literally) while scaling a canyon in Utah.
Why it could win: It’s directed by Danny Boyle, who’s film “Slumdog Millionaire” took home the top prize in 2009. The Academy loves to repeat itself.
Why it won’t win: Nobody saw it. For smaller films, like this, the nomination is the win and everyone knows it.

Black Swan (total nominations: 5)
Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis
1-Sentence-Synopsis: Ballerina gets the role of a lifetime and fights everyone, including herself, to keep it.
Why it could win: Many felt that Darren Aronofsky’s last film, “The Wrestler,” was snubbed two years ago and even more than repeating itself, the Academy loves to right past wrongs.
Why it might not win: Most of the “Black Swan” attention goes to it’s star, Natalie Portman, not the movie as a whole.

The Fighter (total nominations: 7)
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo
1-Sentence-Synopsis: Based on the true story of a Boston boxer’s last chance at success.
Why it could win: Anything Christian Bale has a chance.
Why it probably won’t win: It’s a sports drama and the only time a sports drama can win is when it’s also a historical drama. And I mean super historical, like “Gladiator” historical.

Inception (total nominations: 8)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio
1-Sentence-Synopsis: There’s this guy who … okay, so he and his team … and they go into a  dream … and … I have no idea.
Why it could win: It made a lot of money, and when blockbusters get nominated ratings go way up.
Why it most likely won’t win: It’s an effects driven movie and requires multiple viewings to fully comprehend.

The Kids Are All Right (total nominations: 4)
Stars: Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo
1-Sentence-Synopsis: Teenage siblings conceived through artificial insemination contact their donor dad without telling their moms.
Why it could win: It’s a quirky indie film with a top-notch cast.
Why it won’t win: It’s a quirky indie film.

The King’s Speech (total nominations: 12)
Stars: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush
1-Sentence-Synopsis: Based on the true story of how King George VI fought to overcome his stuttering problem and become his country’s leader.
Why it could win: This movie has been cleaning up all awards season. It’s historical, it’s based on a true story, and the people talk with accents; this film has Best Picture written all over it.
Why there’s a tiny chance it won’t win:The Social Network” wins.

The Social Network (total nominations: 8)
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg
1-Sentence-Synopsis: Based on the true story and a super-smart jerk who gets dumped and revolutionizes how we retaliate against our exes.
Why it could win: This was the best reviewed movie of the year and was all around excellent.
Why it might not win: It’s about facebook and most Academy voters are really old.

Toy Story 3 (total nominations: 5)
Stars: Woody, Buzz Lightyear
1-Sentence-Synopsis: Our favorite toys are donated to a day care center and stage a coup to overthrow the evil dictator of a stuffed bear that runs the place.
Why it could win: This will win, in the Animated Feature category.
Why it won’t win: This will win, in the Animated Feature category.

True Grit (total nominations: 10)
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld
1-Sentence-Synopsis: A U.S. Marshall helps a young girl catch her father’s murderer.
Why it could win: It’s the Coen Brothers.
Why it might not win: Western’s don’t have a great track record at the Oscars. Plus, this is a remake of a western.

Winter’s Bone (total nominations: 4)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes
1-Sentence-Synopsis: A teenager girl searchs the Ozarks for her drug dealer dad to save her family.
Why it could win: A strong performance from the star gave the film a lot of positive buzz.
Why it won’t win: Like “127 Hours,” no one saw this and it’s an honor just to be nominated.

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