MOVIES: Academy Awards — let the games begin


And now, on with the show! The race for the 83rd annual Academy Awards, that is.

With Tuesday morning's announcement of the nominees, the jockeying for position — and the second-guessing — have begun.

As expected, "The King's Speech" (pictured) is a front-runner, with 12 total nominations. The other expected front-runner, "The Social Network," didn't do quite as well as many Oscar-watchers expected, tying "Inception" for third place on the leader board behind hard-riding "True Grit," which made it into the runner-up slot with 10 nominations.

But "True Grit's" Hailee Steinfeld has to settle for a best supporting actress nomination, even though she's undoubtedly the movie's leading character. Blame it on Oscar politics.

Speaking of "Inception," however, its Oscar chances are considerably diminished by its missing-in-action status in two key categories: best director (Chris Nolan) and best editing.

And while we're on the subject of the missing in action ... I'm mildly surprised that "The Social Network" didn't score any supporting nominations (which reduced its overall nomination total).

Other surprises: "Blue Valentine's" very deserving Michelle Williams in the ultra-competitive best actress race, shoving aside (among others) Oscar hostess Anne Hathaway, who, a few months ago, was considered a virtual shoo-in for her performance in "Love and Other Drugs." Too bad Williams' on-screen partner, Ryan Gosling, didn't get equal recognition; same goes for best actress contender Annette Bening's "The Kids Are All Right" co-star Julianne Moore, who actually had more screen time — but didn't get any kind of nomination. (Hey, she's been there before; she'll be back.)

Surprise shutouts include "Get Low" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" herself, Noomi Rapace. (Watch her Hollywood counterpart, Rooney Mara, get Oscar love when the English-language remake arrives.)

But surprise shoutouts include Javier Bardem's wonderful performance in "Biutiful" — which you can see for yourself starting Friday — and John Hawkes' chilling "Winter's Bone" turn. (In the battle of the indies, "Winter's Bone" matched "The Kids Are All Right" — each scored four nominations.)

There's plenty more, of course, but for now, let's hear from you — what's your favorite nomination? And who got robbed?

Stay tuned for complete Oscar coverage ... including Feb. 27 awards predictions and the Review-Journal's annual Terry Awards, honoring those who coulda, and shoulda, been contenders.