The Oscar expectations

6 questions about actors, directors and films gunning hard for that golden statue this year and the options.

**Will Anne Hathaway and James Franco triumph as hosts? They’re young and very good-looking. And more importantly, they’re young and very good-looking. Who cares what inanities are thrust into their mouths by the gag writers as long as they get up there and smile?

** Will ‘The King’s Speech’ win over ‘The Social Network’ for Best Picture and Best Director? One’s a spirit-lifting saga that shows that the royals are like us too, having to overcome challenges and difficulties. The other is a nihilistic ode to the information age by a filmmaker who reportedly makes his actors do eighty takes. And actors comprise the biggest block of the Academy. Still doubting the inevitable coronation of ‘The King’s Speech’?

** Will long-overdue Annette Bening trump upstart Natalie Portman for Best Actress? One’s an invisible performance, rooted in the exquisite banalities of daily life. The other one yells look-ma- I’m-acting (and acting and acting). Still doubting the swan’s ability to soar?

** Will Colin Firth be upset by anyone else in the category? Javier Bardem in ‘Biutiful’? Too depressing. Jeff Bridges in True Grit? He just won last year. Jesse Eisenberg in ‘The Social Network’? Too young, too soon. James Franco in ‘127 Hours’? Too pretty (also too young, too soon). Make way for the new king, folks.

** Will the Best Documentary (Short Feature) prize go to ‘Killing in the Name’? ‘To Poster Girl’? ‘To Strangers No More’/ ‘To Sun Come Up’? Or to the impressively titled ‘The Warriors of Qiugang’? Who cares? Who will wear the best dress to the Oscars? Who will shine most on the red carpet? We’ll leave this one for folks who really know fashion. The rest of us can simply feast on the acres of cleavage and hope that Cher will once again get her bad-taste elves to conjure up something that will keep us talking for years to come.

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