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How to Sound Smart at Your 2012 Oscars Party

Oscars party
John W. Ferguson, Getty Images/Scholastic/Barry Brecheisen, Getty Images/NBC/Sony Pictures

It’s easy to feel out of the loop at an Oscar party. Odds are many of the films nominated this year for Oscars didn’t open up in a theater near you and even if they did, you may have been too busy to actually see them all. That’s where we come in.

Even if you haven’t seen this year’s Oscar nominees you can still be a part of the conversation and sound like a film buff this Sunday. Just follow this quick guide on how to sound smart at your Oscar party!

- Michel Hazanavicius, the director of ‘The Artist‘, is pronounced mee-shell ah-zahn-a-veece-ee-us.

- When discussing Brad Pitt‘s complex drama ‘The Tree of Life,‘ use words like “metaphysical,” “esoteric,” “poetic cinema,” “existential,” “ethereal” and “Terence Malick.” Also feel free to name drop composers Brahms, Bach, Mozart and François Couperin. (Then hope for no follow-up questions.)

- ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ borrows its name from the popular British nursery rhyme ‘Tinker Tailor’ (used in the film as codenames for British intelligence agents).

Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Sailor,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief.

- ‘The Artist’, which could be the first (mostly) silent film to win Best Picture since the very first Academy Award ceremony, was inspired by films like ‘Underworld,’ Charlie Chaplin’s ‘City Lights,’ ‘The Crowd’ and ‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.’

Melissa McCarthy, Guy Fieri, 'Bridesmaids'
Universal Pictures/John W. Ferguson, Getty Images

- Melissa McCarthy, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, based her character in ‘Bridesmaids’ on celebrity chef Guy Fieri. If she wins, McCarthy would be the third person, after Helen Hunt and Felicity Huffman, to win an Emmy and an Oscar in the same year.

- This is the first year Pixar has had a movie eligible for Best Animated Feature and not been nominated.  They had previously won six out of the eight years they were nominated. This year’s film, ‘Cars 2′, was not nominated for any Oscars. Pixar’s only nomination this year is for their Animated Short Film, ‘La Luna,’ which will be attached to their summer release ‘Brave.’

- Composer John Williams was nominated twice this year for Best Original Score (for ‘War Horse’ and ‘The Adventures of Tintin’). This is the seventh time Williams has been nominated twice in the same year but in those seven years, only won once (for ‘Star Wars’ in 1977).

- You may know Jim Rash, nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writing ‘The Descendants,’ as the effeminate Dean Pelton on the NBC sitcom ‘Community.’

- With ‘Midnight in Paris’, Woody Allen has become the 2nd most nominated living person in Oscar history with 23 total nominations, behind only composer John Williams with a whopping 47 nominations.

- Despite being nominated six times, Glenn Close, nominated again this year for ‘Albert Nobbs’, has never won an Oscar.

Kristen Wiig is only the second female ‘Saturday Night Live’ star to be nominated for an Oscar. The first?  Joan Cusack, who was nominated twice for ‘Working Girl’ and ‘In & Out.’

Kristen Wiig, Joan Cusack, 'SNL'
NBC

- Meryl Streep, nominated for Best Actress this year for ‘The Iron Lady,’ has been nominated for an Oscar in five consecutive decades (‘The Deer Hunter,’ ‘Kramer vs. Kramer,’ ‘The Bridges of Madison County,’ ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and now ‘The Iron Lady’).

- The oldest person to ever win an Oscar is Jessica Tandy who won Best Actress for ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ in 1989. That could change this year though as two 82-year-old actors – Christopher Plummer (‘Beginners’) and Max von Sydow (‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’) – are nominated for Best Supporting Actor (with Plummer currently the odds-on favorite).

- With the exception of Best Actress, George Clooney has been nominated in all of the major individual Oscar categories including Best Actor (‘The Descendants’), Best Supporting Actor (‘Syriana,’ for which he won an Oscar), Best Director (‘Good Night, and Good Luck’), Best Original Screenplay (‘Good Night, and Good Luck’) and Best Adapted Screenplay (‘The Ides of March’).  If he ever wins Best Actress, we’ll really be impressed.

- If Rooney Mara wins Best Actress for ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ her family would win an Oscar and a Super Bowl in the same year. Mara, who attended the Super Bowl, is the granddaughter of longtime Giants co-owner Wellington Mara and daughter of current Vice President of Player Evaluation, Tim Mara. But the connection doesn’t mean much to Ms. Mara — she’s not exactly a football fan. “My whole family is really into it. I’m not,” she told Allure Magazine.

Jonah Hill, Demetri Martin, 'Moneyball'
Sony Pictures/Kevin Winter, Getty Images

- Jonah Hill is nominated for an Oscar for ‘Moneyball’ but fellow comedian Demetri Martin was originally cast in the role, only to be replaced when the film changed directors.

- Best Editing nominee Thelma Schoonmaker has edited all of Martin Scorsese’s movies since ‘Raging Bull’ and has only edited one non-Scorsese film (‘Grace of My Heart’).

- The novel ‘War Horse’ is based on was originally intended as a children’s book but has been re-marketed for adults after the success of the film and the Broadway play.

If that wasn’t enough, here’s a very brief and simple rundown of all the films nominated for Oscars in the five major categories.

Oscars - 'The Descendants,' 'The Artist,' 'Hugo'
Fox Searchlight/La Petite Reine/Paramount

‘The Artist’ – Two silent film actors find their careers influenced by the transition to talking pictures in the late-1920s.

‘The Descendants’ – When his wife is left comatose following an accident, a man (George Clooney) finds himself thrust into the unfamiliar role of caregiver to their two daughters.

‘The Help’ – Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends’ lives upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families.

‘Hugo’ – A young Parisian orphan (Asa Butterfield) who lives hidden away in a train station secretly keeping its many clocks running, gets into an adventure involving a mechanical figure and a mysterious toy shop owner (Ben Kingsley).

‘Moneyball’ – Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his assistant, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), devise a statistics-based formula for choosing potential players that flouts conventional baseball wisdom.

‘Midnight in Paris’ – A writer, on a trip to Paris with his fiancée, is transported every night at midnight
to the 1920s, when artists and writers celebrated creativity, but finds himself at odds with his unimaginative future wife.

‘The Tree of Life’ – As Jack O’Brien and his two younger brothers grow up, they are shaped by both the nurturing love of their mother and their demanding father’s strict discipline and unyielding expectations.

Oscars - 'The Iron Lady,' 'My Week With Marilyn,' 'War Horse'
Film4/The Weinstein Company/DreamWorks

‘War Horse’ – The horrors of war are seen through the eyes of a valiant horse whose young owner must relinquish him to the army at the start of World War I.

‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ – A young boy who may have Asperger’s syndrome must deal with the loss of his father on September 11th.

‘My Week With Marilyn’ – In the early summer of 1956, Colin Clark worked on a film that starred Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. 40 years later, his diary account was published, but one week was missing; this is the story of that week.

‘Albert Nobbs’ – A woman (Glenn Close) passes as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland.

‘A Better Life’ – A Mexican immigrant tracks down his stolen truck in Los Angeles while trying to prevent his son from falling in with East LA gangs.

‘The Iron Lady’ – A look at the life of Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ – An intelligence officer is recalled from retirement when there are signs that one of the top-ranking officers of the British Secret Intelligence Service is a Soviet mole.

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ – A disgraced Journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a rebellious, young computer hacker.

‘Jack and Jill’ - Adam Sandler plays a successful advertising executive and his braying, obnoxious sister in this outrageous comedy– just kidding. This one didn’t get any Oscar noms. Though it’ll probably win a few Razzies.

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