Oscars

Will 'The Artist' dance away with best picture Oscar?

Feb. 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM ET

Nine films are nominated for best picture at Sunday's Oscars, and if you want to see them before finding out who wins the Academy Award, you have only a few days left.

According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, "The Artist" is the favorite to claim the big prize. And after its star, Jean Dujardin, and director, Michel Hazanavicius, received top honors from the Screen Actors and Directors guilds respectively, it would appear to be Hollywood's favorite as well.

"It's fun, it's emotional, it's about the industry, and the artist, and all those things appeal to people," David Poland, veteran Oscar watcher and founder of MovieCityNews.com, told Reuters. "This is the movie that made people feel good."

"The Descendants" and "The Help" are also in the hunt. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were named best actress and best supporting actress at the SAG Awards, and actors are the biggest group of academy voters, which could tip the scales in favor of "The Help" in a close vote.

"The Artist" and "The Descendants" are still in theaters, but many of the nominees, including "The Help," are already on DVD, available via online streaming as well as pay-per-view or On Demand (check with your provider).

Here is a look at the field.

'The Artist'

Favored to win, but it's mostly black-and-white and mostly silent, which turns some viewers off. Still, it's an enchanting film with a happy ending. (In theaters now; out on DVD May 1.)

 'The Descendants'

George Clooney isn't his usual sexy self in this Hawaii-set drama about a man who discovers his comatose wife is having an affair. If Oscar voters shy away from the silent "Artist," this could have a chance to win. (In theaters now; out on DVD March 13.)

'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close'

Of the nine nominees, this is the most surprising inclusion. The film, about a young boy struggling with life and a mysterious key after his father died on 9/11, received mixed reviews. (In theaters now; out on DVD March 27.)

'The Help'

Regular moviegoers loved "The Help" more than the critics did. Some were dismayed by the movie's simplistic treatment of race relations, but Viola Davis' performance was universally praised. If Meryl Streep doesn't take the best-actress Oscar, look for Davis to claim it. (Out on DVD now.)

'Hugo'

"Hugo" is director Martin Scorsese's love letter to the early days of film, and Hollywood loves reflecting on itself. It's unlikely to win best picture, but you never know which way the voters will think. (Out on DVD Feb. 28)

'Midnight in Paris'

Woody Allen directs this tale of an American writer in Paris who finds a way to slip back into the past and carouse with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and others. Critics loved it, but it was little-seen and probably won't win. (Out on DVD now.)

'Moneyball'

"Moneyball" might be the most-seen and popularly loved of the nominees. Brad Pitt plays Oakland A's manager Billy Beane, who along with a genius assistant (Jonah Hill) finds a way to allow his team to compete with the giant budgets of the Yankees and Red Sox. Pitt and Hill are also nominated in acting categories. Hill probably doesn't have a chance against Christopher Plummer, though. (Out on DVD now.)

'Tree of Life'

Few people who aren't critics or deep film fans have seen this Terrence Malick-directed film, and many of those who did see it are puzzled by its experimental nature. This is the second Pitt-starring film among the nominees. It would be a shocker if it won. (Out on DVD now.)

'War Horse'

Steven Spielberg's tale of a horse whose travels through World War I is as sweeping and epic as you'd expect from Spielberg. Some critics called it too simplistic, but reviews were mostly positive. Many were surprised that "War Horse" earned a best-picture nomination, but no one expects it to win. (Out on DVD April 3.)

Which film do you think will take home the best-picture Oscar? Vote in our poll, and tell us why on Facebook.

Don’t forget to check out TODAY Entertainment on Sunday evening as we cover the Academy Awards from the red carpet through post-awards interviews. We will live blog the show on Twitter and ask for your thoughts on the fashions and winners on Facebook.

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