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Tonight will be one big night starry night as hundreds of Hollywood celebrities will get together at the famed Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles to honor some of the most outstanding work in English cinema in 2010. Millions of movie lovers across the globe will be tuned in to this once in a year mega event to cheer for their favorite actors and technicians, their favorite films as well as their favorite directors among other things.

This year the British historical story, ‘The King’s Speech’ leads the pack by winning 12 nominations for various categories while ‘True Grit’ follows closely with 10 nominations. ‘The Social Network’, loosely based on the life of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social networking site and the youngest billionaire in the world, however managed to garner just 8 nominations despite being tipped to win the maximum nominations for this year’s 83rd Annual Academy Awards or Oscars as it’s better known. But then history has known to throw up surprises over the years. Unexpected winners and losers!

This year the fight for the Best Picture will be between ‘Black Swan’, ‘The Fighter’, ‘Inception’, ‘The Kids Are Alright’, ‘127 Hours’, ‘The Social Network’, ‘King’s Speech’, ‘Toy Story 3’, ‘True Grit’ and ‘Winter’s Bone’.  For the second time in a row, instead of nominating 5 films in the Best Picture category, the Academy Awards has increased the number to 10 to give platform for more pictures to compete. If ‘Black Swan’ is a psychological thriller, ‘The Fighter’ is all about the life of a professional boxer. ‘Inception’ is a science fiction movie that deals with planting and extracting information in the minds of people through their dreams while they are sleeping. ‘The Kids Are All Right’ on the other hand is a comedy drama about a couple of kids who try to come to terms with their biological father. ‘127 Hours’ is based on a real story and is an adventure film about a guy who’s trapped beneath a boulder for more then five days. His grit and determination to free himself, is what the film is all about.

Like ‘127 Hours’, ‘The Social Network’ too is based on the life of Mark Zuckerberg and his creation, the social networking website, Facebook that rocked the world. ‘The King’s Speech’ deals with the monarch of England, King George VI’s tryst to cure his stammer while everybody’s familiar with the earlier versions of the mega hit animated ‘Toy Story’ and needs no introduction. ‘True Grit’ is true to its name and deals with a US Marshall in this western film while ‘Winter’s Bone’ is a drama about family ties. With such big names vying for the coveted trophy, who wins the coveted award waits to be seen. But critics point out that it will be a keenly fought game between ‘The Social Network’ and ‘The King’s Speech’.

On the Best Actor front, the race is on between some of the finest actors of today. Spaniard Javier Bardem has been nominated the second time this year for his portray of Uxbal, a man who has to resolve the conflicts that arises because of his criminal activities that threatens his personal relationship with his loved children. Javier has been instrumental in winning the Best Supporting Actor in 2007 for ‘No Country For Old Men’ and stands firm favorite today to win this year’s Best Actor trophy. Giving him tough competition is Jeff Bridges for his film ‘True Grit’.  Winner of last year for ‘Crazy Heart’, he’ll be keeping his fingers crossed and hoping to bag his back-to-back Best Actor award for his portrayal of a petulant US Marshall who offers to help a girl find her father’s killer.  Jeff Eisenberg, who portrays the role of the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’, is another contender in the line. Another nominee on the list is Colin Firth who plays the role of the monarch King George VI  in the British drama, ‘King’s Speech’ and the final contender for the Best Actor Award is James Franco for his role in ‘127 Hours’.

In the Best Actress category, the five nominees are Annette Bening for her role of a lesbian mother in ‘The Kids Are All Right’, Nicole Kidman for ‘Rabbit Hole’ in which she struggles as a mother to come to terms with the death of her four year old son, Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Winter’s Bone’, where she struggles to search for her father, Natalie Portman for her role as a ballerina in ‘Swan Lake’ and finally Michelle Williams for her intense role as a wife and a mother in ‘Blue Valentine’. This again will be a tough competition between Bening and Jennifer though the other three actresses will be breathing heavily down their necks.

In the Supporting Actor category, the five actors who made it to the nominations lists are Christian Bale for ‘The Fighter’, John Hawkes for ‘Winter’s Bone’, Jerry Renner  for ‘The Town’, Mark Ruffalo for ‘The Kids Are All Right’ and Geoffrey Rush for ‘The King’s Speech’. Geoffrey Rush and Christian Bale are firm favorites to win the coveted trophy but then you can never tell in whose favor the jury might tilt over.

For the Best Supporting Actress category, ‘The Fighter’ throws up two actresses in Amy Adams and Melissa Leo in the list of nominees along with Helena Bonham Carter for her role in ‘The King’s Speech’, Hailee Steinfeld for ‘True Grit’ and Jacki Weaver for ‘Animal Kingdom’.  Helena Bonham Carter is a clear favorite to win this trophy as the critics point out.

Coming back to one of the most coveted category, Best Direction, it’s a close fight between Darren Aronofsky, director of ‘Black Swan’, David O. Russell for ‘The Fighter, Tom Hooper for ‘The King’s Speech’, David Fincher for ‘The Social Network’ and finally the Coen brothers for the hard hitting ‘True Grit’.  Surprisingly, the director of the science fiction ‘Inception’ missed out on the nominations for some strange reason but then that is the way the Oscars functions. But the fight surely will be a closely fought contest though it appears that Tom Hooper and David Fincher are clear favorites.

India on its part is once again going to play a big role at the Oscars this year with our very own A. R. Rahman, the Mozart of Asia being nominated in two different categories this year – the Best Original Score for ‘127 Hours’ and Best Original Song for ‘If I Rise’ again from the movie ‘127 Hours’.  Everyone around the world and specially closer home, people will be glued in to their television sets to see if the Mozart of Asia who’s once again teamed up with Danny Boyle (after Slumdog Millionaire that fetched him two Oscars) in ‘127 Hours’, if he wins the coveted trophy again.

For those who watch the awards function to find out the status of India’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Award, they will surely be disappointed to know that India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category, ‘Peepli [Live] didn’t find merit in the nomination list and crashed out prematurely. We’ll have to wait one more year to see if another entry from India makes it to the nominations’ level and wins the coveted award or not. For a complete list of nominations in all categories, visit http://www.oscars.org. But for now, stay tuned into your favorite channel ‘Star Movies’ tomorrow (Monday) early morning at 6 am for a live telecast, straight from the stage of Kodak Theatre, Hollywood!