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BEST PICTURE NOMINEE The King's Speech
What Lisa said: ''Lest the audience miss a cue, [director Tom] Hooper and soundtrack composer Alexandre Desplat count on the ringing grandeur of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony — the famous second movement, no less — to amp the emotions. With instincts like these, Oscar speeches are bound to follow.'' B+
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BEST PICTURE NOMINEE True Grit
What Lisa said: ''Much is fine in True Grit, including typically impeccable dusty-Western cinematography by Roger Deakins. Much is admirable, or diverting, especially when [Jeff] Bridges' and [Matt] Damon's characters jostle for dominance and Mattie exerts her will. Too little, though, is wild like [author Charles] Portis can be wild, despite the shoot-outs, the horse gallops, and Rooster's inebriated sprees.'' B+
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BEST PICTURE NOMINEE Toy Story 3
What Owen said: ''Toy Story 3 represents a virtuoso performance by the Pixar team, led by director Lee Unkrich (the codirector of Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo). I think it's the studio's greatest achievement since The Incredibles, and — just maybe — since the original Toy Story.'' A
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BEST PICTURE NOMINEE The Kids Are All Right
What Lisa said: ''I don't know what's more delightful — that The Kids Are All Right stars Bening, Moore, and Ruffalo are at the top of their games in an irresistible story of lesbian marriage, sperm-donor fatherhood, sex, red wine, and teen angst. Or that this warm, funny, sexy, smart movie erases the boundaries between specialized ''gay content'' and universal ''family content'' with such sneaky authority.'' A
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BEST PICTURE NOMINEE Winter's Bone
What Lisa said: ''Winter's Bone is one of the unshowiest and most true-blooded epics of Americana you're ever likely to see — especially if you've seen your share of indie movies in which picturesque poverty is faked by the half-dead flickering neon of a roadside truck stop.'' A
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BEST ACTOR NOMINEE Colin Firth, The King's Speech
What Lisa said: ''Firth is front and center in this intelligent crowd-pleaser, and he endows Albert-turned-George with a poignant dignity even while exposing his past as a lonely little boy who grew up stammering in the shadow of his imperious father and dashing brother.''
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BEST ACTOR NOMINEE Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
What Owen said: ''With his close-cropped curls and pursed lips that make him look like a Jewish-preppy John Lydon, Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as an egomaniacal whiz-kid creep who's the smartest dude in any situation because he's outside it and inside it at the same time. The actor takes on a whole new aspect — he's a geek programmed for revenge. And he's mesmerizing.''
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BEST ACTOR NOMINEE Jeff Bridges, True Grit
What Lisa said: ''It's crucial for the man who plays the amoral, gun-waving Cogburn to wallow without embarrassment in ornery seediness, even in front of a fatherless girl. With an Oscar under his armpit for drunken dissolution in Crazy Heart, Bridges is that man.''
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BEST ACTOR NOMINEE Javier Bardem, Biutiful
What Owen said: Javier Bardem ''brings the role every charismatically morose shading of disruption and anger and despair he can.''
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BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE Natalie Portman, Black Swan
What Owen said: Portman ''has never looked this severely lovely. In Black Swan, she's an extraordinary camera object: ghostly and possessed, all sinewy alabaster will. Yet it's part of the design of the movie that her performance remains quite passive.''
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BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
What Lisa said: ''Particular huzzahs are due Bening for the precision she brings to the brusque yet emotionally expressive Nic. A famously natural, mature beauty in a Hollywood culture of youth-oriented artifice, Bening uses physical authenticity as a source of dramatic strength.''
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BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
What Lisa said: ''Lawrence is the movie's blooming discovery, a mesmerizing actor with a gaze that's the opposite of actress-coy and a voice modulated in the low, almost monotone cadences of local ways.''
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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEE Christian Bale, The Fighter
What Owen said: ''Bale, cadaverous and google-eyed, with a jack-o'-lantern grin and an energy so manic it borders on the obscene, finally takes the compulsion toward Method eccentricity that's been driving him for close to a decade and makes it pay off. His Dicky is that rare thing: a wing nut with soul and a touch of tragedy, too.''
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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEE Jeremy Renner, The Town
What Lisa said: ''[Affleck's] instincts are also right in casting Renner in the role of Jem, the local baddie with a short fuse, and letting the effortlessly magnetic actor steer the pace of the action, hinting at danger even when Jem's just nursing a brew.''
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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEE John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
What Lisa said: Hawkes earns his nomination as Teardrop, the complicated uncle who first denies her but then unexpectedly comes to the aid of Jennifer Lawrence's Ree ''as she looks for her daddy in a community where oaths of silence are as serious as any Mob omertà.''
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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
What Lisa said: ''...matriarch Janine (the great, enduring Australian star Jacki Weaver) dotes on her boys, even if her boys include a chilling, killing, gentle-eyed psychopath (Ben Mendelsohn, simultaneously terrifying and mild). Don't be fooled: In this unpeaceable kingdom, the den mama is also ready to eat her young.''
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BEST DIRECTOR NOMINEE David Fincher, The Social Network
What Owen said: ''The creators of The Social Network — screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), whose dialogue here is so sharp it could slice ribbons, and director David Fincher (Zodiac) — have something tricky and emotionally complex up their sleeves.''
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BEST DIRECTOR NOMINEE Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
What Owen said: ''Aronofsky shoots the entire movie with a handheld camera, and his images have a burnished, raw-silk night-world chic, the shots weaving and bobbing as they follow Nina's bunned head through the stark halls of Lincoln Center. The director lingers on details of physical turmoil in much the same way he did in The Wrestler.''
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