HOLLYWOOD (CBS) – Ten films are in the running for Hollywood’s biggest honor at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. Only one of them will be named Best Picture.
Here’s a look at the nominees:
“127 Hours.” James Franco takes on the role of real-life climber Aron Ralston. While canyoneering alone in Utah, Ralston’s arm becomes trapped under a boulder. As his food and water sources dwindle, Ralston fights to survive, recalling memories of his family and friends to comfort him and eventually resorting to drastic measures to save himself.
PICTURES: “127 Hours”
“Black Swan.” Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a ballerina whose desire for perfection leaves her unhinged. Sayers earns the lead role in her company’s production of “Swan Lake,” but the choreographer (Vincent Cassel) isn’t convinced she can play the sensual black swan – and another dancer in the company (Mila Kunis) seems poised to take the part. As she descends further into madness, Sayers’ hallucinations and paranoia become more pronounced and she can no longer tell what is real and what is inside her mind.
PICTURES: “Black Swan”
“Inception.” Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the role of Dom Cobb, a man who engages in corporate espionage, entering his targets’ dreams to steal their secrets. Cobb and his team navigate the complicated layers of the subconscious but he also must fend off apparitions of his dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), who still haunts him and tries to sabotage his efforts.
“The Fighter.” Based on a true story, Mark Walhberg and Christian Bale take on the roles of boxers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, half-brothers from Lowell, Mass. Managed by their brash, over-bearing mother (Melissa Leo), Eklund had a promising career but is now a drug addict and unreliable trainer for his brother. With the support of his girlfriend (Amy Adams), Ward pushes away from his family’s influence and goes on to become a champion.
PICTURES: “The Fighter”
“The Kids are All Right.” Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play Nic and Jules, married lesbians with two teenage children. Their family dynamic is upturned when their kids seek out Paul, the sperm donor who fathered them (Mark Ruffalo), and begin to form a relationship with him. Jules embraces Paul’s inclusion in their family while Nic feels as if she’s being pushed out. As Paul gets more involved in their lives, the family must figure out what his place is with them, or if he has one at all.
PICTURES: “The Kids Are All Right”
“The King’s Speech.” Colin Firth plays King George VI, who assumes the throne in the wake of his older brother’s abdication. Nicknamed “Bertie,” the king suffers from a crippling stammer that plagued him since childhood. He employs the help of Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist with unconventional treatment methods; he uses speech exercises but also delves into Bertie’s uncomfortable relationship with his father and brothers. With the encouragement of the Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and Logue, the King strives to find his voice just as England prepares for World War II.
PICTURES: “The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network.” Jesse Eisenberg plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as he creates the social media website. Zuckerberg comes up with the idea for Facebook while at Harvard, but as the site gains popularity he faces legal troubles from former classmates (Armie Hammer, playing the Winklevoss twins) who claim he stole their idea, and a former friend (Andrew Garfield) who feels he was abandoned as the website became successful.
PICTURES: “The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3.” Woody, Buzz Lightyear and all their friends are back for the third installment in the “Toy Story” franchise. Andy is now off to college, so the toys – fearing they’re no longer loved or needed at home – head to a day care center where they hope they’ll be appreciated. But Sunnyside Daycare and its family of toys aren’t what the group expected and they must find a way to escape and make their way back to Andy’s house.
PICTURES: “Toy Story 3”
“True Grit.” Jeff Bridges takes on the role of U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn in this remake of the classic Western. Cogburn is hired by young Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) to find Tom Chaney, the man who killed her father (Josh Brolin). Ross tells Cogburn that she chose him for his ruthlessness and demands to accompany him. The pair venture into Indian Territory, joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) – who wants to find Chaney for his own reasons – and are confronted by danger and surprises that force each to show their strengths.
PICTURES: “True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone.” Jennifer Lawrence plays Ree Dolly in this Ozarks drama. Dolly, who is the only caregiver for her two young siblings and mentally ill mother, must set off to find her absent, drug-dealing father when she discovers they will lose their house if he does not show up to court. As she navigates the region’s complicated social networks, she’s told by her uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) and others to stop meddling and asking questions. But she persists even when it gets her into trouble.
PICTURES: “Winter’s Bone”
Our Pick: “The King’s Speech.” The British monarchy drama has been going head-to-head with “The Social Network” throughout awards season but the former has picked up some of the bigger awards (Best Cast at the SAG Awards, Best Film at the BAFTAs) that usually indicate an Oscar winner.
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