The expanded best picture Oscar category this year includes 10 nominees, up from the usual five. Of course there are only a couple of real front-runners, but the list offers a mix of art-films and popcorn fare - and the Oscars are hoping you'll tune in to root for your favorite. Here are the contenders:
's $700-million gorilla, now the top-grossing movie of all time, will probably crush the competition.
THE BLIND SIDE.
This middle-America sports drama was a surprise entry, but the real surprise is that star Sandra Bullock
seems a lock for the best actress Oscar.
It's not often you find two sci-fi films in the best picture category; this one sneaked in with a combination of imaginative writing and snappy action.
In this terrific coming-of-age tale, a schoolgirl (Carey Mulligan
) discovers that life isn't always fair. Well, neither are the Oscars.
THE HURT LOCKER.
Don't rule out this Iraq war
film as a winner, but place your bets on Kathryn Bigelow
for best director.
Tarantino's whacked-out World War II
epic probably won't win, but look for Austria's Christoph Waltz
to win best supporting actor for his role as a happy-go-lucky Nazi.
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL "PUSH" BY SAPPHIRE.
Message movies always do well in this category, but "Precious" is extra-brutal; Oscar voters may not be in the mood.
A SERIOUS MAN. The Academy
sure loves the Coen brothers - but this weird combination of Franz Kafka
and the Old Testament seems like a long shot.
The first film ever to earn nods for both best picture and best animated feature will probably have to settle for the latter Oscar.
UP IN THE AIR.
Once a favorite, now a dark horse, but still a top-notch comedy-drama that deserves to be on this list.