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James Martin, S.J.February 04, 2010

Every year a good friend calls me one morning in early February to quiz me on the Oscar nominees.  The game is that I'm not supposed to listen to any news broadcasts or read any papers (or now, surf the web).   Some years I'm batting 1000 or at least 900; other years not so much.  Rob has been doing this since I entered the Jesuits (except when I was in East Africa) so when January and February roll around I try to be extra-attentive to what's hot and what's not.  This year, with the expanded list of nominees (ten pictures instead of five, which is actually more historical but still feels gimmicky) it was even harder to guess.  Sure "Avatar," "Up in the Air," and "The Hurt Locker," but "The Blind Side"?  Really? 

As it turns out, the Culture section had a pretty good year in figuring out what movies were Oscar-worthy and which were not.  Many of the nominated films (and performances) have been featured either in print or online in the Culture section.  We've rounded them all up in an "Oscar race," section, which will enable you to pronounce authoritatively at any Oscar party, and, most importantly, discharge your obligations should anyone say, "Well, what's a Catholic think about the film?" 

Here's our Oscar roundup.

And by the way, an overlooked medical drama this year, "Extraordinary Measures," is reviewed here by William van Ornum, who works for the American Mental Health Foundation in New York.

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