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The Oscars Are Coming, With 1 Big Hit And Few Close Contests

On today's All Things Considered, NPR film critic Bob Mondello and I have a chat with Audie Cornish about the inevitable, inscrutable Oscars.

There are eight films up for best picture this year: American Sniper, Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Birdman, Boyhoodand Selma. Of these, exactly one is a giant popular hit. And it's not the one that oddsmakers will tell you is going to emerge with the victory. In fact, there's a distinct absence of races this year that are perceived to be especially close. So with mostly small-box-office films and mostly contests that seem to have clear winners, what's to watch on Sunday?

Well, host Neil Patrick Harris, our Official Host Of Lots Of Things, for one. He's done the Emmys and the Tonys and probably spends his Sunday nights hosting impromptu awards ceremonies for his family, but this year, he's getting the big stage for the first time.

Meanwhile, we'll be on Twitter, like much of the rest of the world, using the hashtag #NPROscars.

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Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.