US-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-OSCAR-NOMINATIONSIs everyone finally ready to move on from the "Selma" vs. "American Sniper" throwdown? It seems so, not just because the ideological battle between them is artificial and increasingly irrelevant, but also because so much else was going on this week -- Blizzard Juno, the Sundance Film Festival, the Super Bowl. No doubt movie partisans were relieved to have something else to talk about. And besides, there was plenty going on in the Oscar race. Oscar office pool bettors: take note.

Among this week's Oscar race developments:

• The big winners Friday night at the 65th Annual ACE Eddie Awards, given to film and TV editors, were "Boyhood" (Best Drama), "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Best Comedy), "The LEGO Movie" (Best Animated Feature), and "Citizenfour" (Best Documentary). Why should you care? Not just so you can fill out the Editing category in your office Oscar pool (where "Boyhood" and "Budapest" are competing against "American Sniper, "The Imitation Game," and "Whiplash"), but also because the Eddies are a good predictor of the Academy Award for Best Picture. In seven of the past 12 years, the Eddie-winning comedy or drama has gone on to win the top Oscar. Of course, given Oscar's preference for drama over comedy, "Budapest's" Eddie win may not mean much. "Boyhood's" does, especially since rival "Birdman" (which competed for the comedy Eddie against "Budapest") isn't even nominated for an editing Oscar. The "LEGO" win is also a consolation prize for a movie not nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar. But the "Citizenfour" win helps confirm that film's frontrunner status in the Academy's documentary category.

• The following night saw the handing out of the Art Directors Guild Awards, given for production design. The ADG recognizes narrative features in three categories: period films (which went to "Grand Budapest Hotel"), fantasy films (the winner was "Guardians of the Galaxy"), and contemporary films (the prize went to "Birdman"). So, more good news for "Budapest," especially since the other two winners aren't even nominated for Production Design Oscars. (The other Academy nominees in the category are "The Imitation Game," "Interstellar," "Into the Woods," and "Mr. Turner.") "Budapest" art director Adam Stockhausen would probably have the edge anyway for his ornate work on filmmaker Wes Anderson's typically intricate, dollhouse-like set, but Saturday's ADG prize also shows he's a favorite among his peers this year. "The Theory of Everything" didn't win any prizes, but stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones were both there; perhaps the Academy voters will take notice of their ubiquity and give them trouper points for being willing to show up anywhere to campaign for their film.

• Saturday night also saw the 42nd annual Annie Awards, recognizing the best in animation. "How to Train Your Dragon 2" won best feature, which is good to know for those of us confused by the Academy's failure to nominate "The LEGO Movie." The winner of the Golden Globe as well, "Dragon 2" finally gives the LEGO-less category a frontrunner. (The other nominees are "Big Hero 6," "The Boxtrolls," "Song of the Sea," and "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.") The Annie for Best Animated Short went to Disney's "Feast," now the presumptive frontrunner in an Oscar category that also includes "The Bigger Picture," The Dam Keeper," "Me and My Moulton," and "A Single Life."

• "Still Alice" expanded this week to 84 theaters, giving more critics nationwide the chance to review the Alzheimer's drama, and the consensus of raves for Julianne Moore seems to confirm the judgment of the Academy and every other group that nominated her for Best Actress. The five-time nominee's hold on the category is now more solid than ever.

• Monday marks the annual Oscar nominees' luncheon, which is a surprisingly crucial stop on the campaign trail. It's where the voters learn whether the nominees can play nice. That shouldn't matter of course -- it's the work, right? -- but it does, as no voter or nominee wants to be responsible for a boorish acceptance speech that casts the Academy in an unflattering light for having given a trophy to an ingrate. So the luncheon is an event where actors dine with an pose for photographs with sound effects editors, where the Academy brass try in vain to remind nominees to keep their speeches under 45 seconds if they win, and where everyone gushes to the journalists present how excited they are to meet Meryl Streep. In other words, it's a casual-dress rehearsal for the real thing, and despite the enforced camaraderie, everyone had better know their place.
categories Movies, Oscars, Awards