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  1. Oscar Predictions 2012 Who Will Win, Who Deserves to Win, Who Was Snubbed by Kam Williams On May 16, 1929, the first Academy Awards were staged in Hollywood at the Hotel Roosevelt. Wings, a silent film, won the Oscar for Best Picture that night, a feat which would never be repeated, given the impending innovations in sound technology that ushered in the age of the talkies. But, as they say, wait long enough, and everything comes back into style, and such is the case with The Artist, a nostalgic throwback that’s the prohibitive favorite to prevail at this year’s ceremony. Who’d a thunk that a black & white, silent flick from France would eclipse powerhouse productions by the likes of Spielberg and Scorcese. However, the movie will meet some tough competition in the Best Actor category, where I’m picking popular George Clooney to eke out a victory over virtual unknown Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist’s pantomiming protagonist. I also see perennial-nominee Meryl Streep (17 times) squeaking by The Help’s equally-deserving Viola Davis for Best Actress, more for her 29-year drought than for her spot-on impersonation of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Best Supporting Actor is difficult to handicap, too, since four of the entrants, Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow and Kenneth Branagh, have each enjoyed multiple Oscar nominations, but never won. My gut tells me that Plummer gets the proverbial “body of work” vote. As far as Best Supporting Actress, Octavia Spencer will triumph, since nonpareil comic performances like Melissa McCarthy’s in Bridesmaids continue to be underappreciated by the Academy. Besides peering into my crystal ball to forecast the winners, I have also indicated below which nominees in the major categories are actually the most deserving. And because so many great performances are invariably snubbed by the Academy, I also point out who has been overlooked entirely. Overall, look for The Artist to garner five or six Oscars which, while not exactly a sweep, will still be better than next-best Hugo’s trio of statuettes in technical categories. The 84th Academy Awards will air live on ABC on Sunday, February 26th at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, and will be hosted by Billy Crystal. Best Picture Will Win: The Artist Deserves to Win: The Artist Overlooked: Bridesmaids Best Director Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) Deserves to Win: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) Overlooked: David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) Best Actor Will Win: George Clooney (The Descendants) Deserves to Win: Jean Dujardin (The Artist) Overlooked: Ryan Gosling (Drive) Best Actress Will Win: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) Deserves to Win: Viola Davis (The Help) Overlooked: Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) Best Supporting Actor Will Win: Christopher Plummer (Beginners) Deserves to Win: Max von Sydow (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) Overlooked: Albert Brooks (Drive) Best Supporting Actress Will Win: Octavia Spencer (The Help) Deserves to Win: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) Overlooked: Carey Mulligan (Drive) Best Original Screenplay: Will Win: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) Deserves to Win: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids) Overlooked: Lars von Trier (Melancholia) Best Adapted Screenplay: Will Win: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) Deserves to Win: Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin (Moneyball) Overlooked: Tate Tatlor and Kathryn Stockett (The Help) Predictions for Secondary Categories Animated Feature: Rango Art Direction: Hugo Foreign Language Film: A Separation Cinematography: The Tree of Life Costume Design: The Artist Documentary Feature: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory Film Editing: The Artist Makeup: The Iron Lady Original Score: The Artist Original Song: “Man or Muppet” (The Muppets) Sound Editing: Hugo Sound Mixing: Hugo Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  2. Wednesday, November 14, 2012 The 2012 National Book Award Winners Announced The winners of the National Book Awards were announced tonight, November 14, at the National Book Foundation’s 63nd National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. This year’s winners are: Fiction Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper/HarperCollins) Nonfiction Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House) Poetry David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press) Young People's Literature William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books/S&S Children’s) Also at tonight’s ceremony, Elmore Leonard was honored with the National Book Foundation’s 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in recognition of his outstanding achievement in fiction writing. This year’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community was presented to Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., chairman and publisher of the New York Times, who was honored for his continuing efforts through the New York Times Book Review and online book coverage to ensure an ongoing conversation about books in American culture.
  3. 43rd NAACP Image Awards - Winners and Nominees for NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work [2012] http://aalbc.it/nia2012 The awards were presented Friday, February 17th, 2012 at the The Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles, CA
  4. http://aalbc.it/vernondavis Check out our interview with Vernon Davis who was the big star in the SF 49ers upset win over the New Orleans Saints. Vernon scored the 1st touchdown and then the final one (with just 13 seconds left) before breaking down and crying on national TV. While Tim Tebow has been enjoying most of the NFL limelight lately, perhpas you'll be more inspired by Vern's story of overcoming the odds and his commitment to giving back. Plus he is a reader :-)
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