Oscars: Best picture nominees


The King's Speech was named best film at the 83rd Academy Awards. We take at look at all the films nominated.


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Natalie Portman won the best actress Oscar for her role in erotically-charged thriller Black Swan

What it's about: Ballerina Nina starts to lose her grip on reality as she finds herself challenged for the lead role in Swan Lake by newcomer Lily.

Who stars: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder

Director: Darren Aronofsky

What the critics say: "The most toxic, rapturous, melodramatic, operatic movie about a mentally disintegrating ballerina you'll see all year… And featuring some of the best dance sequences ever." Total Film

"Black Swan is visceral and real even while it's one delirious, phantasmagoric freakout." New York Times

Awards history: Black Swan opened the Venice Film Festival in September 2010. Natalie Portman scooped the best actress prizes at the Golden Globes, and at the Critics' Choice Awards - where Black Swan received a record 12 nominations. It also garnered 12 Bafta nominations, including best film. It has three Screen Actors Guild nominations.

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Bale (r) and Wahlberg (l) play half-brothers in the boxing biopic

What it's about: The true story of boxer Micky Ward and his transformation into a sports legend, against a background of strained family loyalties.

Who stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo

Director: David O Russell

What the critics say: "The Fighter tries a number of risky manoeuvres and manages to make them pay off in the end. The movie initially feels like more of a near thing than the film-makers anticipated, but as in boxing it's only the final decision that counts." Los Angeles Times

"If The Fighter feels like kind of a mess, lurching from one scene to the next as if the film itself has taken a few hits to the head, that's not entirely a bad thing." Variety

Awards history: The Fighter was nominated for six Golden Globe Awards, with Christian Bale and Melissa Leo taking the best supporting acting gongs. Bale also won the National Board of Review award for best supporting actor. The film took three prizes at the Critics' Choice Awards, including best acting ensemble. It has three Bafta nominations, including supporting role nods for Christian Bale and Amy Adams, plus four Screen Actors Guild nominations.

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Inception features some mind-bending action sequences

What it's about: Dom Cobb, the leader of a team of thieves who raid secrets from dreams, is hired to achieve the perfect crime: to plant an idea in the mind of a target.

Who stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy

Director: Christopher Nolan

What the critics say: "With physics-defying, thunderous action, heart-wringing emotion and an astonishing performance from DiCaprio, Nolan delivers another true original: welcome to an undiscovered country." Empire

"It is that rarest of beasts: a slippery, cerebral summer blockbuster that slaloms from illusion to reality and back again and leaves its viewer bewitched, bothered and bewildered." The Guardian

Awards history: Inception has a long list of accolades from numerous critics' groups and guilds. Its nine Bafta nominations include best film and best director and a number of technical categories. It was nominated for four Golden Globes.

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Annette Bening (l) and Moore (r) play lesbian parents Nic and Jules

What it's about: The lives of lesbian mothers, Nic and Jules, are changed forever when their teenage children trace their biological father.

Who stars: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo

Director: Lisa Cholodenko

What the critics say: "A witty portrait of postmodern family life in which script, casting, direction and location all just float together without any apparent effort at all." The Guardian

"It's a film about marriage itself, an institution with challenges that are universal." Chicago Sun-Times

Awards history: The Kids Are All Right won two Golden Globes - best actress for Annette Bening and best picture (both in the musical or comedy category). Bening and Julianne Moore are both Bafta actress nominees. It has three Screen Actors Guild nominations.

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Helena Bonham Carter stars alongside Colin Firth as the future Queen Mother

What it's about: The true story of King George VI's relationship with his irreverent speech therapist as he battles with a nervous stammer.

Who stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce

Director: Tom Hooper

What the critics say: "The players are as good as you'd expect and while this is clearly positioned as high-end heritage drama, it shows a keen wit." Uncut

"The King's Speech adheres to every rule in the Oscar playbook." Time

Awards history: The King's Speech is leading the way in the Bafta nominations with 14 nods, including best film and director while Colin Firth is up for best actor. Firth won a Golden Globe for best actor. The film won five prizes at the British Independent Film Awards. It has four Screen Actors Guild nominations and won the best film accolade at the Producers Guild, beating off competition from The Social Network.

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Franco plays real-life climber Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle's film

What it's about: The real-life survival story of Aron Ralston, an experienced rock climber who has to take drastic action when he becomes trapped in a canyon.

Who stars: James Franco, Clemence Poesy

Director: Danny Boyle

What the critics say: "I have never before seen something yucky on screen make an entire cinema audience suddenly hunch forward and bury their heads in their laps at the same time, as if in some secular mosque for wimps." The Guardian

"At the end, we stagger like Ralston from the dark into the light. We might have both our arms left, but our nerves are just as terrorised." Time Out

Awards history: 127 Hours was nominated for three Golden Globes, and goes into the Oscars race with eight Bafta nominations. It is also nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards - to be announced just ahead of the Oscars.

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Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg portray the co-founders of Facebook in The Social Network

What it's about: The founding of Facebook by Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg and the legal wrangles that followed.

Who stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake

Director: David Fincher

What the critics say: "On a first viewing, it seems almost indecently smart, funny and sexy. The second time around... half the time I sat there marvelling at the similarities of the story, themes and structure to Citizen Kane." indieWIRE

"Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre film-maker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times." Variety

Awards history: The Social Network marked itself out as a serious Oscar contender having won four Golden Globes, including best film drama. It has six Bafta nominations, including best picture, Aaron Sorkin's screenplay, and David Fincher's direction. It has two Screen Actors Guild nominations.

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Toy Story 3 is as appealing to adults as children

What it's about: It's about letting go... Andy is off to college and has to decide what to do with Woody, Buzz and the other toys in his bedroom.

Who stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack

Director: Lee Unkrich

What the critics say: "It's a film that moves as much as it entertains, that will make adults cry as much as - perhaps even more than - younger children." The Telegraph

"A film to enrapture children, and make adults weep. Plastic cowboy hats off to Pixar once again." Film4

Awards history: Can anything beat Toy Story 3 in the animation category? It took the Golden Globe for best animation and is also up for a Bafta.

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Bridges (l) plays "Rooster" Cogburn, played by John Wayne in the original True Grit

What it's about: Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross enlists the help of trigger-happy, drunken US marshal Rooster Cogburn to hunt down the man she believes killed her father.

Who stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin

Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen

What the critics say: "True Grit is essential viewing, a significant instalment in the Coen brothers' exploration of what it means to be an American and just a damn good yarn." The Vine

"Much like the novel, True Grit's adaptation is a western that's heavy on the laughs, but also not short on menage and action." Den of Geek

Awards history: Although ignored by the Golden Globes,True Grit is nominated for eight Baftas, including best film, actor and actress. It has two Screen Actors Guild nominations.

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Newcomer Jennifer Lawrence has been highly praised for her breakthrough performance

What it's about: A young woman whose dogged attempts to locate her missing father raise the hackles of her remote rural community.

Who stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes

Director: Debra Granik

What the critics say: "The film rests on [Lawrence's] shoulders and she succeeds in carrying it, providing a window to a world many of us, to our shame, refuse to see." Illinois Times

"A vivid reworking of Daniel Woodrell's novel that brings the book's conflicted heroine to searing life in a piece of unhurried film-making too rarely seen these days." Empire

Awards history: Winner of the Grand Jury prize at Sundance in 2010, Winter's Bone leads the field at the 2011 Independent Spirit awards, having been nominated for seven prizes. The film was named best feature film at New York's Gotham Awards. Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for a Golden Globe, and there are two Screen Actors Guild nominations.

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