March 3, 2010 > The Oscars
By Mona Shah
It promises to be a stylish evening of glitz and glam at this year's Academy Awards, affectionately known as the Oscars. They are the oldest, best known, most influential, prestigious, and famous of film awards. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences picked a later date for the ceremony this year due to the Winter Olympics.
Each coveted gold statuette is made from the alloy britannium and plated in copper, nickel silver, and finally, 24-karat gold. How Oscar received his nickname is not exactly clear. The most popular story is that Margaret Herrick, an Academy employee and eventual executive director, remarked that the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar and Academy staff began to refer to it by that name.
Price Waterhouse has managed the Academy Awards balloting process since 1935, when their now-famous confidential envelope system was introduced, marking the first year of complete secrecy. "The Envelope Please" has now become a familiar household phrase.
The official Oscar partying begins with the must-attend annual nominees luncheon held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Here nominees have an opportunity to wine and dine in a relaxed and non-competitive setting before the big night on March 7. They also pose for the requisite "class photo," an official group picture taken at the luncheon.
This year, expansion of the Best Picture category from five to 10 films was meant to shake things up and bring in a new, younger audience. This has led to the inclusion of unexpected options in this category, including several well-reviewed multiplex flicks.
Hosting duties go to the quirky combo of actor Alec Baldwin and comedian Steve Martin, who co-star in the December release "It's Complicated" opposite Meryl Streep. This will be the first time the Oscars have featured a hosting duo since Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase in 1987.
The Academy Awards will air live from Hollywood at the Kodak Theatre on Sunday, March 7 on ABC.
Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney in "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth in "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman in "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker"
Performance by an actress in a leading role:
Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren in "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan in "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia"
Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Matt Damon in "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson in "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer in "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci in "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"
Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
Penelope Cruz in "Nine"
Vera Farmiga in "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick in "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Achievement in directing:
James Cameron "Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow "The Hurt Locker"
Quentin Tarantino "Inglourious Basterds"
Lee Daniels "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Jason Reitman "Up in the Air"
Best motion picture of the year:
"Avatar"- James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
"The Blind Side"- Nominees to be determined
"District 9"- Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
"An Education"- Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
The Hurt Locker"- Nominees to be determined
"Inglourious Basterds"-Lawrence Bender, Producer
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"- Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
"A Serious Man"- Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
"Up"- Jonas Rivera, Producer
"Up in the Air"- Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers