Welcome back, Hollywood. Things are about to get very busy.
Monday morning's announcement of the Online Film Critics Society awards was just a tidbit to get your attention after the holidays. Things start in earnest early Tuesday morning with the first of the day's two major guild announcements – and from there, the month will be a nonstop slate of nominations, ceremonies, parties and awards.
A brief guide to a hectic few weeks:
Producers Guild of America nominations announced
With 10 Best Picture nominations and the preferential system of ballot-counting, it's one of the best Oscar precursors.
Writers Guild of America nominations announced
It's not one of the best Oscar precursors, because they only honor WGA writers and guild-affiliated scripts. Sorry about that, "The King's Speech."
Art Directors Guild nominations announced
You just know they'll have the nicest-looking room of any of the guild awards shows.
Cinema Audio Society nominations announced
Last year's winner, "The Hurt Locker," showed that "Avatar" wasn't a lock even on the tech side.
Palm Springs International Film Festival begins
Of particular interest to awards watchers: 40 of the 65 foreign-language Oscar entrants.
BAFTA "longlists" announced
The British Academy narrows its favorites down to 15 per category – in other words, they tell us very little we don't already know, but they make a lot of people feel good about themselves.
Palm Springs Film Festival Awards Gala
An out-of-town tryout for acceptance speeches? Honorees include Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Robert Duvall, Ben Affleck, Carey Mulligan, David O. Russell, Danny Boyle, Diane Warren and the cast of "The Social Network."
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Directors Guild of America nominations announced
A major precursor – particularly since unlike the PGA and WGA, they only nominate five directors in the top category. (Or six, if the Coen Brothers get in.)
American Film Institute Awards
All the usual suspects are feted: "Social Network," "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "True Grit," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "Toy Story 3," "127 Hours," "The Town," "Winter's Bone" …
Oscar polls close
PriceWaterhouseCoopers does not accept late ballots. Their lobby will be very crowded all day.
Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics Choice Movie Awards
A fairly accurate barometer of Oscar sentiment, the first televised awards show of the season (it’s on VH1), and the kickoff of Hollywood's major party weekend.
Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominees Brunch
As you might guess, it's less formal and more playful than the Oscar Nominees Luncheon.
BAFTA/Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party
The most civilized event on a weekend filled with more crowded and raucous studio parties.
Los Angeles Film Critics Association dinner
For which the folks from "The Social Network" tear themselves away from the party circuit to receive their plaudits.
Golden Globe Awards
Nobody takes 'em too seriously, but the drinks are free and it's a good place to test that acceptance speech.
BAFTA nominations announced
A week and a half after telling us the top 15, the Brits finally get around to giving us the real nominees.
Sundance Film Festival begins
Will it be an art-house showcase, or a launching pad for 2011 Oscar movies?
Costume Designers Guild nominations announced
The big question: will they make room for some contemporary films?
Motion Picture Sound Editors nominations announced
For the layman, six categories of sound mixing (with five different winners last year) can be a bit bewildering.
Producers Guild Awards
In 2010, a victory here sealed the deal for "The Hurt Locker," and a loss spelled doom for "Avatar."
Oscar nominations announced
Round one ends at 5:38 a.m. Immediately, the stakes get higher for the 40-odd films left standing.