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Academy Awards

The Academy Awards season is upon us. Since 1929 The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has been bestowing awards upon the best in the business. I’ve always liked the movies in general, but it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago that I really got into the Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars.

My new friend and neighbor Mary-Elizabeth had a long-standing goal to watch every single Best Picture nominee between the time the nominees were announced until Oscar Sunday. This lofty goal was made somewhat easier in that we lived within walking distance to not one but six different theaters in Santa Monica!

This year the Academy decided to increase the number of movies in the Best Picture category to 10! Yesterday I was asked to list them, and since I have been reciting them the past few weeks, I was able to do so. Black Swan, 127 Hours, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, Winter’s Bone, The Kids are All Right, Toy Story 3, Inception, The Social Network and True Grit.

So on Monday evening I dragged Matt to the Culver Plaza Theater in Culver City to see the last movie on my list: Winter’s Bone. Of the others, I had seen one on a long flight to China, two on DVD and the others in a traditional movie theater.

In Hollywood, The Academy Awards are big business and a piece of golden history. We invite our tour guests to peek in the Blossom Room in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel. In this room in May 1929, 250 guests paid $5.00 a ticket for a dinner banquet in which 13 awards were distributed in five minutes. Why? Because that year the winners had already been announced 3 months in advance! This year there are 23 nominees and the new venue holds over 3,000 attendees. There is no time for a dinner banquet!

The Awards ceremony moved among various locations such as Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Pantages Theater, before finally moving into The Kodak Theater in 2002 as its permanent home. This theater, named for the Eastman Kodak corporation, will host the awards show through at least 2075.

But I digress…back to the best picture nominees…my vote is for The King’s Speech, with The Fighter as a second choice. I do think Natalie Portman is deserving as Best Actress for her role in Black Swan, but that’s a whole different topic.

What is your pick for Best Picture?

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