Good Morning Oscar, February 4: Heart & Hysteria

Annette Bening’s in, the Oscars aren’t moving, and could a huge upset be brewing in a writing category?

Four-time Oscar nominee. Best Actress contender. Hollywood royalty of sorts. And now, Oscar presenter. Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Annette Bening. The Oscar show producers make the announcement. (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

Too many moving parts, Tom Sherak says. The Academy president talks to Anne Thompson about why AMPAS has tabled talks of moving the Oscars into January ("we weren't ready"), why they're not ready to embrace online voting ("I've yet to be convinced that you couldn't find someone to hack into it") and how the Board of Governors believes in having 10 Best Picture nominees ("the voters are getting used to it"). (Thompson on Hollywood)

Toy Story 3As grim as things have been lately for "The Social Network," Kris Tapley comes up with a theory that once would have been considered unthinkable: that maybe Aaron Sorkin won't win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay after all. "If members are voting with their heart in the Best Picture field, why not in the screenplay races, too?" he asks, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Michael Arndt could steal this award from Sorkin for "Toy Story 3." My first reaction is that there's no way (even though I love "Toy Story" more than I love "Social Network") … but, you know, it just could happen. (In Contention)

"The Cinema of Hysteria," Steve Erickson calls it – and the novelist and film critic appears to have invented the phrase just so he could have a label to put on Darren Aronofsy's "Black Swan," which he describes thusly: "'Black Swan' is full of clunky dialogue, fraught melodrama, and predictable plotting, even as little of it is persuasive narratively or psychologically. But here’s the thing: Somewhere in the last half hour of watching it, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get this movie out of my head." He puts it in a line of movies that includes "The Bride of Frankenstein," "A Place in the Sun" and the work of David Lynch: "movies that work on a level beyond rationality, in the realm of obsessive reverie, making no sense literally or logically and yet we understand them completely." I think Erickson overstates things a bit, but hey, so does Aronofsky – and this is the kind of feverish salute that the filmmaker probably deserves. (Los Angeles Magazine)

And speaking of going overboard (but in a good way), Sasha Stone comes up with more than 4,000 words on the state of the Oscar race, the trends in recent years among Academy voters, the director/picture relationship and much more – but mostly about "The Social Network," the movie she loves and wishes would win, and "The King's Speech," the movie she can eloquently celebrate even as she mourns the fact that it's going to defeat her favorite. She also makes a startling prediction: she thinks that the Best Picture winner is going to be decided in a single round of ballot counting, because "The King's Speech" will receive first-place votes from more than half the voters. Only two men will ever know if she's right about that one. (Awards Daily)

Guy Lodge takes the long view, and reaches a couple of conclusions: that perhaps "The Social Network" was never the frontrunner after all, and that Academy voters haven’t changed that they're looking for despite the seemingly new attitude represented by Best Picture winners "The Departed," "No Country for Old Men," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Hurt Locker." "If you examine the last few Best Picture fields, you’ll see that the Academy wasn’t consciously rejecting the 'King's Speech' in each pack — just that there wasn’t such an option in the first place," he says. Of course, that doesn't account for why the Academy failed to nominate anything but untraditional movies for those years. (In Contention)