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The Oscars shine spotlight on Israeli treatment of Palestinians

JERUSALEM — Not one but two Israeli-made documentaries are finalists for an Oscar this Sunday. But instead of being a cause for celebration, both movies are giving the state's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a stomachache.

‘Searching for Sugar Man’ star tours South Africa

BRAKPAN, South Africa — With a documentary about his unlikely career up for an Oscar, the American musician Rodriguez returns to his fervent fans in South Africa.

Oscars: Adele may lip-sync ‘Skyfall’ song

Adele is preparing a pre-recorded version of 'Skyfall' as a backup to the live version for the Academy Awards.
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Adele attends The BRIT Awards 2012 at the O2 Arena on February 21, 2012 in London, England. (Gareth Cattermole/AFP/Getty Images)
Adele is preparing a pre-recorded version of 'Skyfall' as a backup to the live version for the Academy Awards.
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Oscars: The Artist a big score for a very French film

Oscars bring joy to French film industry and confirm Hollywood's love affair with France.
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Uggie the dog, the real star of "The Artist" was not nominated for an Oscar. Controversy! (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

The theme of this year's Oscars: France, Paris and France, Paris again. The Artist, the silent black and white film made by Frenchman Michel Hazanavicius, is the hot favorite for Best Picture and garnered 10 nominations. But Paris figures in a pair of American films nominated for Best Picture. Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," and Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," which looks at one of the founding fathers of French cinema, Georges Melies. In fact, the Scorsese film has 11 nominations.

The French capital is even included among the nominees for Best Animated Feature Film where "A Cat in Paris" is among the nominees.

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BAFTA award nominees 2012

Britain's version of the Oscars leaves some pretty terrific work out this year
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The BAFTA Award. Bellwether for Oscar glory? (Ian Gavan/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts have been giving awards for decades but usually after the Academy Awards were presented. Several years ago, in an attempt to be relevant, the British Academy decided to start giving its awards in advance of Hollywood's big night. The BAFTAs are now seen as something of a bellwether for Oscar nominations.  

This year brought another major change came which was meant to bring BAFTA closer to Oscar.  As this article in Variety reports, "The entire membership of 6,500 voters, including the 1,480 based in the U.S.," will vote on the winners "instead of the prize being decided by a hand-picked jury of London insiders."

The change has led to a certain amount of schizophrenia in this year's list of nominees announced yesterday.

The Artist, the silent movie about silent movies, leads the BAFTA pack with 12 nominations including Best Picture and one for, of all things,  Best Sound. The Artist is considered a top contender for Oscar glory.

A British film, a new adaptation of John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy comes second with 11 nominations. My guess is that at Oscar time it won't fare quite as well.

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