By STEVE PERSALL
Times Film Critic
Hollywood is putting the final touches on Sunday's Academy Awards show by counting ballots and fretting fashion.
What are you doing to prepare?
Here are a few suggestions:
Catch up with the best picture nominees
AMC Veterans 24 in Tampa has another marathon of best picture finalists on Saturday. (The other five nominees were showcased last weekend.) The long haul begins at 10:30 a.m. with the animated fantasy Up, followed by The Hurt Locker (12:45 p.m.), Up in the Air (3:15), The Blind Side (6) and wrapping up with Inglourious Basterds at 8:30.
Tickets are $30 for the day, with unlimited popcorn included. AMC MovieWatcher members get a $5 discount. If you can't stay all day, tickets for individual movies are available at regular prices.
Don't forget that best picture nominees District 9, Inglourious Basterds, Up, The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man are available on DVD. Precious and Up in the Air debut Tuesday on DVD, followed by The Blind Side (March 23) and An Education (March 30). Avatar, of course, is still in theaters.
In a competitive year like this, winning an Oscars pool may depend upon correctly guessing the most obscure winners. Before Sunday, you can check out every nominee in the live action and animated shorts categories, to improve your chances.
Starting Friday, Tampa Theatre is showing all 10 short film nominees in a program for one week only. Check the movie listings in this section for start times, or visit tampatheatre.org. Regular ticket prices apply.
Beach Theatre will show live action shorts Sunday at 2:20 p.m., with the animated shorts at 4:30. Tickets are $5.
Warm up with other awards
Get in the backslap mood with Friday's 25th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, telecast live and blushingly unedited on the Independent Film Channel. The show begins at 11 p.m. but its traditionally raucous nature should keep you awake until the end. Comedian Eddie Izzard is hosting, and he won't be on a short leash like Oscar hosts.
Several of this year's Oscar nominees are Spirit finalists, including Precious, The Last Station, A Serious Man and Crazy Heart. Since the Spirits honor movies outside the mainstream, you may discover a Netflix queue suggestion or two.
Or go in the other direction Saturday with the 30th annual Golden Raspberry Awards (or Razzies), bestowed on the worst movies. Leading the pack are Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Land of the Lost, with seven nominations each.
Surprisingly, no network has ever bid to broadcast the Razzies but you'll see plenty about it on the Web and TV news programs. Especially if Sandra Bullock wins worst actress for All About Steve. The Oscar nominee for The Blind Side already pledged to pick up her Razzie in person.
Ponder the possibilities
Nearly every Academy Awards show makes some kind of history, from record-setting winners to that streaker back in the 1970s. We can't predict anyone going full monty on stage but you can appear smart to your friends by tossing around these possibilities:
• Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) could become the first woman ever to win the Oscar for best director.
• Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire) could become the first African-American to win the best director Academy Award.
• With only $12 million in North American box office receipts, The Hurt Locker could be the lowest-grossing best picture winner of all time.
• At nearly $700 million in domestic sales, Avatar could become the highest-grossing best picture winner ever.
• Christopher Plummer (The Last Station) could pass George Burns as the oldest male actor to win an Academy Award (80 years, 84 days, which is two weeks older than Burns).
• This Oscar telecast could be the first since 1958 to end on schedule, or before it. The academy says it'll finish by 11:30 p.m. Don't bet on it.
Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs.tampabay.com/movies.
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
The Blind Side