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Mt. Oscar

November 18, 2009

Mt. Oscar: To scale the heights of the Oscars -- to reach the top of that golden O -- wrap yourself in raves and pack lots of buzz. This week's altitude readings are by Rachel Abramowitz, Blake Hennon, John Horn, Elena Howe, Susan King, Michael Ordona, Betsy Sharkey and Tim Swanson.

PEAKING

GOTCHA COVERED: The blogosphere is abuzz with chatter about the November cover of Vogue, featuring the women of Rob Marshall's "Nine." Love it ("The cast looks amazing") or hate it ("an ungodly mess of bad Photoshop"), at least they're talking about it.

CLIMBING

ALIEN NOTION: With more than $115 million in ticket sales and award buzz building, "District 9" is poised for a sequel. But don't expect to see writer-director Neill Blomkamp behind the camera: He's headed to Brazil for another sci-fi thriller.

FUZZ BUZZ: A hard-to-miss nose helped Nicole Kidman to a nomination for "The Hours," and a big dose of ugly helped Charlize Theron win for "Monster." Will facial hair get Mariah Carey, right, the same attention for "Precious"?

AT BASE CAMP

CROSSED UP? Charlotte Gainsbourg's Cannes-winning performance in "Antichrist" is some of the most daring, gutsy work of the year -- but how many voters will actually watch this profoundly disturbing film?

FRIEND OF CLINT? Bummed that you haven't been invited to a screening of "Invictus" or "The Lovely Bones" yet? Very few have. For now, guests must be vetted personally by directors Clint Eastwood, left, and Peter Jackson, respectively, to make the cut.

LOOKING FOR A SHERPA

MOVIE MERGER: How confusing might the Oscar ballot be with "A Single Man" and "A Serious Man" contending? Not since Florida's hanging chads will so many cast their vote in error. The solution: Vote for "A Seriously Single Man," starring, who else, George Clooney.

BITING CRITIQUE: "Thirst" isn't South Korea's pick for foreign-language film, but Oscar could sink his teeth into the vampire trend (and keep artistic cred) with a nod. Or is the golden boy waiting on the "Let the Right One In" remake?

SERVED: Steve Martin, who will co-host the Oscars with Alec Baldwin, starred in and wrote the Academy Award-nominated 1977 short subject, "The Absent Minded Waiter." Who knew?

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