Oscar picks

          “Hey, who you like at the Oscars this week?”

“I got ‘The King’s Speech’ by three awards over ‘The Social Network.’ “

There’s no NFL nowadays, so you gotta have some kind of big deal to wager on. And the Oscars are considered the Super Bowl of awards shows.

One way to figure out what movie will win the best picture Oscar is to eliminate the obvious non-contenders.

There are 10 movies nominated for best picture, but five are automatically eliminated because they don’t have a corresponding director nomination.

Movies without a director nomination will lose the best picture Oscar 99% of the time.

One of the five films without a director nomination is “Toy Story 3.” But it will win the Oscar for best animated movie. By the way, an animated feature is (Buzz) lightyears away from ever winning the best picture Oscar.

Of the five films left that have a chance, eliminate the movie that has a nomination for director but not one for screenplay.

“Black Swan” can now exit stage left. But not before the film’s star, Natalie Portman, waltzes off with a best actress Oscar.

There is serious buzz that Annette Bening of “The Kids Are Alright” could pull an upset in the best actress category over Portman. But a buzz has about as much weight as an exit poll.

Portman’s dedication to her role — rigorous training to become a ballerina instead of just playing one on the silver screen — impresses Oscar voters. Her physical transformation in character has since given way to her pregnancy, which should make for one of the more glowing moments of the evening.

The next movie going down for the count is “The Fighter.” The movie is most noteworthy for Christian Bale’s supporting performance. Bale has won almost every award leading up to the Oscar. He’ll remain undefeated after Sunday night.

“True Grit” may be one of the most-nominated movies that could ride off into the sunset without any Oscars, unless it picks up a technical award here or there.

Shoot, the Coen Brothers won only three years ago for “No Country for Old Men,” so it’s too soon for them to repeat and look like they’re going after legendary director John Ford’s most Oscars, being four.

Jeff Bridges won last year — beating the actor who will win this year.

That leaves the two movies that this horse race has been all about all along: “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network.”

When you think about it, both movies are about the power of communication in their own time: Radio in one, and Facebook in the other.

“TSN” was the early favorite, winning the Golden Globe, from the Holllywood Foreign Press, which you might think would favor the British film.

“TKS” has since grabbed the momentum and has struck a more positive note with audiences. It doesn’t hurt that it has a great ad campaign going for it. The tag line “Find your voice” is pure Hollywood magic.

The show will look like it will be coming down to the wire between the two films.

The only upset win in a major category will come when Helena Bonham Carter of “TKS” wins as best supporting actress (Melissa Leo of “The Fighter” is the favorite going in.)

No suprise that Colin Firth will win the best actor Oscar as the king who overcomes his speech impediment. Oscar likes to end up in the hands of an actor who plays someone who overcomes adversity and takes the crowd with him.

“TKS” will also win Oscars for David Seidler’s original screenplay. Seidler himself had to overcome stammering. Hollywood ending there for ya, Jeeves.

Tack on Oscars for art direction, costume design and music score, and “TKS” has six Oscars going into the final two awards, director and best picture.

But hold on, don’t count out “TSN” because it’s won for film editing, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay adaptation and —- what’s this! —- David Fincher has just won best director.

That leaves the big prize. And the winner is: “The King’s Speech.”

In all, the movie will win 7 Academy Awards.

And poor Annette Bening will have lost another best actress Oscar to a much younger actress.

The show will have a young theme, with Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts.

But in the end a movie about an era long ago —- a period piece they call them —- will win. Charming and safe movies usually do.

And the next morning no one will remember what crappy song won the Oscar.

But the winners will probably be thanking their lucky stars that “The King’s Speech” didn’t have a title tune.

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