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Your weekend in Oscar handicapping

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103912__letters_l‘Tis the season to be jolly when 17,842 various movie awards get handed out to the delight of fans of the increasingly bloody popular sport of Oscar prognostication.

Indeed, it wouldn’t be a Monday morning in December if we didn’t have some updates to report. Over the weekend, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association crowned Letters From Iwo Jima (pictured) as its best picture of 2006, adding more fuel to the rising Oscar hopes of Clint Eastwood’s Japanese-language World War II saga. Also scoring big was The Queen, which landed trophies for Helen Mirren (best actress) and Michael Sheen (supporting actor), as well as wins in the screenplay and music categories. United 93‘s Paul Greengrass was named best director, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu‘s Luminita Gheorghiu won best supporting actress, and the best actor race resulted in a dead-heat between Borat‘s Sacha Baron Cohen and The Last King of Scotland‘s Forest Whitaker. How’s that for spreading the wealth?

The American Film Institute, meanwhile, unveiled its seventh annual top 10 list, giving additional bragging rights to Iwo Jima. In alphabetical order, AFI’s honorees included: Babel, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls, Half Nelson, Happy Feet, Inside Man, Letters From Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, and United 93. (No love for The Departed?) The organization, which has apparently never heard of Ugly Betty (le gasp!), also listed its top 10 TV shows of 2006, including: Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Elizabeth I, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, The Office, South Park, 24, The West Wing, and The Wire.

addCredit(“Letters from Iwo Jima: Merie W. Wallace”)

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