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Mt. Oscar: Who's climbing and who needs oxygen

January 11, 2011

Mt. Oscar: To scale the heights of the Oscars — to reach the precarious pinnacle of that golden O — wrap yourself in raves and pack lots of buzz. This week's altitude readings are by Elena Howe, Rebecca Keegan, Chris Lee and Nicole Sperling.

PEAKING

GONE, NOT FORGOTTEN: Sure, it's a longshot that Pete Postlethwaite could win a supporting actor trophy for his work as the villainous Fergie Colm in "The Town," but this was the least we could do to pay him tribute.

CLIMBING

WESTERN, HO! "True Grit" seems to be everybody's darling of the moment. Its Oscar hopes are rising almost as quickly as its box office.

BY A THREAD: By most Oscarologists' count, the sure-bet best picture nominees are "The King's Speech," "The Social Network," "True Grit," "The Fighter," "Black Swan," "Inception," "Toy Story 3" and "127 Hours." But what gets bumped from those last two slots? "The Town," "Winter's Bone" or "The Kids Are All Right"?

AT BASE CAMP

'GHOST' OF A CHANCE? Heavy campaigning by Summit on behalf of Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" seems to have paid off with a Scripter nomination. Might an adapted screenplay Oscar nod be next? It's not out of the question, but it's got stiff competition in "The Social Network," "True Grit" and "127 Hours," among others.

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: Robert Duvall has got to be the hardest-working octogenarian in Hollywood. The actor's hitting the award campaign trail for "Get Low" harder than most folks half his age, with the interviews, award appearances and, last week, stepping into wet cement at Grauman's Chinese.

LOOKING FOR A SHERPA

TKO: The Producers Guild of America omitted Ryan Kavanaugh as a producer from "The Fighter." If the film gets nominated for an Oscar, will the academy break ranks with the PGA and include him, or will the financier be left hoping for another shot with "Season of the Witch"?

LAST DANCE? Really, Natalie Portman doesn't need a sherpa to make a showing at the Oscars, but from the looks of her next film, "No Strings Attached," it wouldn't hurt to have a hypnotist in her corner to make voters forget about it.

TWO-STEP TO THE RIGHT: When does blue state Hollywood turn red? When it comes to honoring films about country music performers. Could Gwyneth Paltrow join the recent ranks of Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") and Reese Witherspoon ("Walk the Line") for her work in "Country Strong"?

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