By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood February 27, 2014 at 4:53PM
At long last, the Oscars are upon us. Thank God. This awards season was stretched due to the Olympics. It'll be shorter next year.
This week brought a lively Vanity Fair panel of Oscar pundits and vet campaigner Peggy Siegal, covered by blogger Sasha Stone, whose report was then rehashed by Jeff Wells. (This colorful duo dominated New York Magazine's "Oscar Whisperers" story that ignored the likes of such relatively dull Oscar pros as Variety's Tim Grey, The LA Times' Glenn Whipp, The NY Times' Carpetbagger and me, to name a few). Siegal brought up the issue of how some Academy members had resisted watching "12 Years a Slave," which is not news, really--the question is whether they felt obliged to catch up with the intense slave drama in the end.
That is one unknown in this year's Oscar race, which calls up comparisons to 2010, when "The Hurt Locker" and Kathryn Bigelow beat out sci-fi blockbuster "Avatar," or the year that the steakeaters in the Academy bypassed Ang Lee's gay romance "Brokeback Mountain" for "Crash."
Will Jennifer Lawrence win a second Oscar? I keep having my doubts about the supposedly inevitable anointing of Lupita Nyong'o. (Maybe her fab red carpet outfits did not sway Oscar voters in her direction.) "American Hustle" is a great favorite with actors. For the second year in a row, BAFTA-winner Lawrence is the one out of four David O. Russell cast nominees most likely to take home a statue. "American Hustle" is bound to win something, even if it is a comedy: editing, costumes and writing seem most likely.
Here's the gang at Gurus 'o Gold and GoldDerby and the LAT's Buzzmeter. Here's why there was a box office Oscar slump this year. And eight classic Oscar Best Actress snubs. And a collection of TOH! Oscar interviews.
And here are my picks. Kris Tapley and my final predictions Oscar Talk posts tomorrow!
Below, a roundup of what last-minute Oscar-related odds and ends are out there in the cybersphere.
-Jimmy Kimmel pointed out to guest Ellen DeGeneres last night that's she in an ace position to place Oscar bets. She's got insider knowledge on, say, what color her tuxedo will be, and if Pink and Bette Midler are preparing a duet. Watch below.
-Vanity Fair has a sprawling gallery of all the Best Actress Oscar winners in the ceremony's 85-year history. Everyone from Mary Pickford to Jennifer Lawrence are included.
-THR's Scott Feinberg got some grumpy commentary from an anonymous Oscar voter -- a member of the Academy's director branch -- on this year's race. Quotes include: "Gravity? I've seen better things at planetariums," and calling Meryl Streep's "August: Osage County" performance "bottom-drawer."
-THR has an amazing gallery of photos from five generations of Solomon Northup's descendants.
-Meanwhile, TIME has a gallery of every VFX Oscar winner in the show's history. Check it out here.
-On a more somber note, THR has nine sad stories of Oscar nominees who committed suicide.
-For the first time, the Oscars pre-show and full awards telecast will stream for WATCH ABC members online and on mobile devices.