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Oscars: Billy Crystal returns as host of Academy Awards telecast

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The golden Oscar statuettes have been polished. The red carpets are in place. The fans are gathering already. And the movie stars are getting all dolled up for the 84th annual Academy Awards, which will be broadcast starting at 5:30 pm PT Sunday, Feb. 26, from the Kodak Theatre.

Billy Crystal is fine-tuning his jokes for a huge television audience that will span the globe.

The Oscar voters have already cast their ballots, the results of which are now sealed in envelopes that won’t be opened until the telecast.

Will your favorites win?

Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” paves the way with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

“The Artist,” a low-budget silent film in black and white, grabbed 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

Best buddies George Clooney for “The Descendants” and Brad Pitt for “Moneyball” will face off for Best Actor. Their other competition will be Demián Bichir for "A Better Life," Jean Dujardin for "The Artist" and Gary Oldman for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

Hollywood heavyweights Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs," playing a woman who passes as a man in the 19th century, and Meryl Streep, playing Margaret Thacker in “The Iron Lady,” will compete against Viola Davis in "The Help," Rooney Mara in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and San Diego favorite Michelle Williams in "My Week With Marilyn."

The LGBT community will likely be rooting for Christopher Plummer to win Best Supporting Actor for his performance in "Beginners." Plummer plays an elderly father with terminal cancer who comes out late in life to his son (played by Ewan McGregor) and announces that he has a much younger boyfriend.

Besides Close and Plummer, the LGBT community can also cheer on Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs," who also plays a woman passing as a man in the film, and Rooney Mara, who plays a bisexual investigator in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."

Here are the nominees:

Best Picture

"The Artist" - Thomas Langmann, producer
"The Descendants" - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, producers
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" - Scott Rudin, producer
"The Help" - Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, producers
"Hugo" - Graham King and Martin Scorsese, producers
"Midnight In Paris" - Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, producers
"Moneyball" - Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, producers
"The Tree Of Life" - Nominees to be determined
"War Horse" - Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, producers

Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir in "A Better Life"
George Clooney in "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin in "The Artist"
Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"

Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh in "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill in "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte in "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"
Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis in "The Help"
Rooney Mara in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams in "My Week With Marilyn"

Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain in "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer in "The Help"

Animated Feature Film

"A Cat In Paris" - Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
"Chico & Rita" - Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
"Kung Fu Panda 2" - Jennifer Yuh Nelson
"Puss In Boots" - Chris Miller
"Rango" - Gore Verbinski

Art Direction

"The Artist" - Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2" - Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
"Hugo" - Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
"Midnight In Paris" - Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
"War Horse" - Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales


"The Artist" - Guillaume Schiffman
"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" - Jeff Cronenweth
"Hugo" - Robert Richardson
"The Tree Of Life" - Emmanuel Lubezki
"War Horse" - Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design

"Anonymous" - Lisy Christl
"The Artist" - Mark Bridges
"Hugo" - Sandy Powell
"Jane Eyre" - Michael O'Connor
"W.E." - Arianne Phillips


"The Artist" - Michel Hazanavicius
"The Descendants" - Alexander Payne
"Hugo" - Martin Scorsese
"Midnight In Paris" - Woody Allen
"The Tree Of Life" - Terrence Malick

Documentary (Feature)

"Hell And Back Again" - Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
"If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front" - Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" - Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Pina" - Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
"Undefeated" - TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)

"The Barber Of Birmingham: Foot Soldier Of The Civil Rights Movement" - Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
"God Is The Bigger Elvis" - Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
"Incident In New Baghdad" - James Spione
"Saving Face" - Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
"The Tsunami And The Cherry Blossom" - Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

"The Artist" - Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
"The Descendants" - Kevin Tent
"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" - Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
"Hugo" - Thelma Schoonmaker
"Moneyball" - Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film

"Bullhead" - Belgium
"Footnote" - Israel
"In Darkness" - Poland
"Monsieur Lazhar" - Canada
"A Separation" - Iran


"Albert Nobbs" - Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2" - Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
"The Iron Lady" - Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

"The Adventures Of Tintin" - John Williams
"The Artist" - Ludovic Bource
"Hugo" - Howard Shore
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" - Alberto Iglesias
"War Horse" - John Williams

Music (Original Song)

"Man Or Muppet" from "The Muppets" - Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real In Rio" from "Rio" - Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Short Film (Animated)

"Dimanche/Sunday" - Patrick Doyon
"The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore" - William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
"La Luna" - Enrico Casarosa
"A Morning Stroll" - Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
"Wild Life" - Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

"Pentecost" - Peter McDonald and Eimear O'Kane
"Raju" - Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
"The Shore" - Terry George and Oorlagh George
"Time Freak" - Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
"Tuba Atlantic" - Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

"Drive" - Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" - Ren Klyce
"Hugo" - Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
"Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" - Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
"War Horse" - Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" - David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
"Hugo" - Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
"Moneyball" - Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
"Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" - Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
"War Horse" - Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2" - Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
"Hugo" - Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
"Real Steel" - Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
"Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" - Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
"Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" - Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

"The Descendants" - Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
"Hugo" - Screenplay by John Logan
"The Ides Of March" - Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
"Moneyball" - Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" - Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

"The Artist" - Written by Michel Hazanavicius
"Bridesmaids" - Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
"Margin Call" - Written by J.C. Chandor
"Midnight In Paris" - Written by Woody Allen
"A Separation" - Written by Asghar Farhadi

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.

Academy Awards preview

Fun resources
To read about all things related to the Oscars, visit HERE. The official website has a wealth of information, including videos, photos, blogs, Oscar history and Oscar buzz. You can also download the official iPhone and iPad Oscar app.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has a Task Force Oscar Party Kit that can be downloaded for free, offering cocktail recipes, quizzes and other fun things.