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My take on the Oscars: 2011 was not a great year for movies. The Academy’s decision to increase the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten has never looked more pathetic. Especially since they could only come up with nine this year.

That said, I thought The Artist was clever, but ultimately little more than a bon bon. I’m hard-pressed to understand the lavish praise it got. Tree of Life was ambitious and had some sparks of brilliance, but in the end it didn’t work. The Descendants was good; mainstream but good. However, it was a little too overtly manipulative for my taste. Midnight in Paris was a cute trifle, but just a trifle. Moneyball was very good, but just a little too ordinary to play in the big leagues. I didn’t see The Help, War Horse, or Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

By process of elimination, that means my pick for Best Picture this year is…..Hugo. I didn’t like all of Hugo, but I liked a lot of it, and if the Academy is going to give the big prize to a valentine to Hollywood, I’d pick Hugo over The Artist. Needless to say, I expect to be pretty disappointed this evening.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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