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Thursday’s Oscar Noms: The Big Moment in a Non-Stop Blitz

This week is the awards equivalent of the Polar Vortex: You’re not exactly sure what it means, you just know it’s intense.

After nearly five months of full-throttle campaigning, Thursday offers the moment of truth as AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth announce nominations for the 86th Academy Awards at 5:38 a.m. PT.

Predictions? In a year full of rich films, there are only two sure things. First, a lot of great contenders are not going to be nominated, due to overcrowding this year. Second, there will be a few dark-horse inclusions. In the past, Academy voters have offered welcome surprises such as Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”), John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”), and the films “The Blind Side” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” to cite just a few examples.

But Thursday’s unveiling is only part of a 10-day awards stretch that is one of the most exhausting periods of the accelerated awards voting.

Things began with the Jan. 10 AFI Awards luncheon, followed by a day of parties and then Sunday’s  Golden Globes. Since then, we have had more parties, Q&A’s and awards announcements, with Tuesday alone offering nominations from the Visual Effects Society and Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild.

The action shifts again into high-gear Thursday with the pre-dawn announcement of Oscar nominations, followed by the Broadcast Film Critics Awards that evening, and this weekend’s SAG Awards and Producers Guild honors.

The level of campaigning shouldn’t be surprising. Every Oscar category this year is overflowing with possibilities and there’s no consensus. In recent years, you could sense a momentum building for “Argo” and “The Artist” at industry gatherings.

This year, the biggest reactions at AFI and the Globes were for AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Nearly every film clip got plenty of (deserved) enthusiasm, but no movie seemed to be outpacing the others.

So if you’re a contender, pray. Cross your fingers. Hope for the best. And remember that no matter what happens, you did work to be proud of.

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