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Around the awards track: 10 Oscar films that were banned and condemned | What upsets are brewing?

February 18, 2011 |  5:23 pm

• The most shocking thing about the list of top Oscar contenders that were banned from theaters in the past is the fact that the flicks don't seem so shocking today. Can you believe that "Mildred Pierce" was banned in Ireland in 1945? Malaysia, Singapore and parts of the U.K. forbid "The Exorcist" to be shown. China really goes crazy outlawing Oscar contenders ("Brokeback Mountain," of course) –- its leaders even banned "Avatar"! See the full list here. Exorcist banned Also check out "10 Oscar Films Condemned by the Legion of Decency." That list includes such jaw-droppers as "Some Like It Hot" and "Spartacus"! GOLD DERBY

• To win this Oscar contest you must answer some curious questions: Will James Franco sing during the ceremony? How late into the telecast will we see Hugh Jackman? Who will be the best-dressed actress? NEXT MOVIE

Steve Pond weighs the state of the Oscar race. Yes, "The King's Speech" and Colin Firth are shoo-ins to win best picture and lead actor, but the award for best director might go to David Fincher ("The Social Network"). Pond doesn't buy the late-breaking buzz behind Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right"): "This surge, if it is indeed happening, is likely a case of too little, too late." In the supporting slots, he warns that Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit") or Helena Bonham Carter ("The King's Speech") could trip up front-runner Melissa Leo ("The Fighter") and adds about her costar: "I suspect that Bale, at least, is unassailable, particularly since Rush has already won and Bale has never even been nominated." THE WRAP

• Speaking of Oscar crystal-balling, Sasha Stone believes there is still a "little teeny 1%" chance that "Social Network" could win best picture. Most suspense is in that race for supporting actress: "This category is so confused right now that there is no technical 'front-runner' in it. I don't think Leo's ad campaign hurt her, rather, I think it tips the win in her favor. But any of the five could win and I would not be surprised. All of this clears the way for the 'heart light' win, Helena Bonham Carter, as Anne Thompson is predicting." AWARDS DAILY

Inside job

Kris Tapley breaks down that tricky Oscar race for  documentary feature, which is hard to forecast because it's not decided by the mood swings of a popular vote. Academy members may cast ballots in that category only if they actually, egads, view the nominated flicks at screenings. Tapley's conclusion: "Inside Job" will win, but "Exit Through the Gift Shop" should win and could –- beware –- pull off an upset. IN CONTENTION

• Speaking of Helena Bonham Carter, she promises that she'll commit a fashion "catastrophe" on the Oscars red carpet. Celeb stylist June Ambrose attempts a fashion intervention with advice: "I'm done, just done with that," she says of Bonham Carter's mismatched-shoes act at the Golden Globes. She suggests a dress designer: "I'd put her in McQueen." E! ONLINE

-- Tom O'Neil

Top photo: "The Exorcist" (Warner Bros.)
Bottom photo: "Inside Job" (Sony Pictures Classics)