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The Oscars: A look at Hollywood's finest

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By Becca Owsley

Sunday night, Hollywood brings out its finest for the 85th Academy Awards.

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This year had some standout performances in a wide range of films.

There are nine movies nominated for Best Picture but there are a few front runners. Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is this year’s Oscar heavy weight but Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has been racking up awards in recent ceremonies. “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty” also have received some attention but probably will not beat out “Lincoln” or “Argo.”

As far as Actor in a Leading Role, it should belong to Daniel Day-Lewis. In his performance as Abraham Lincoln, the actor was completely lost in the role. Instead of Day-Lewis, audiences saw the 16th president on screen. The actor is good at stepping aside and letting his character shine through.

There are a couple possibilities for Best Actress. Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Kentucky’s own Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) both have received award hardware lately.

Best Supporting Actor is a toss up. With no real frontrunners this category could be completely up for grabs.

The Best Supporting Actress award should go to Anne Hathaway. Her performance in “Les Miserables” was raw and emotional, especially in her signature song “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Much has been said about the Academy shunning Affleck’s direction in “Argo,” but with Affleck out of the nomination field, it could leave the door wide open for Spielberg for “Lincoln.”

For Original Score, my vote always goes to the talents of John Williams, but that category usually is anyone’s game. Most bets are on Adele’s “Skyfall” for Best Original Song, but that category often is a surprise as well.

One category I think the Academy often gets wrong is Best Visual Effects. A special effect shouldn’t be the star of the show. The effect should enhance and support the story and the actors and should not be the main feature. This is why a movie like “Life of Pi” should not win in the category. The star of that film was the effects so in reality, it didn’t do its job of supporting the film.

I’ve seen four of the five nominees for Best Visual Effects and although “Prometheus” was a terrible movie, the effects were good and used as they should be. “Marvel’s The Avengers” also used effects in the appropriate way.

I don’t normally see the nominations for Best Short Film (Animated) unless they show before another film. This year, I was able to catch one of the nominees so my vote goes to “Paperman.” Less than 10 minutes in length, this short film was better than any of the other Disney-produced animated films for 2012. The heart of this piece drives it and is worth a watch.

Those are my picks for the Oscars.

The Oscars, including a special tribute to 50 years of Bond films, airs 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC.

For a complete list of nominees, go to oscar.go.com.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com. For movie reviews, visit her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.

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