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Awards: the reason for the season

Gail Choice | 1/16/2013, 5 p.m.

This year's awards season is upon us, and the sole Black actress nominated is 9-year-old newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis in the Academy Awards Best Actress category for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Denzel Washington is nominated Best Actor for his incredible performance in "Flight."

And on the little screen, Don Cheadle walked away with the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Showtime's "House of Lies."

Congrats to Cheadle ("Iron Man 2") for his Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an actor in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical. Cheadle stars as charming, fast-talking Marty Kaan in Showtime's "House of Lies," where he and his crack team of management consultants know how to play the corporate game better than anyone, by using every dirty trick in the book to woo powerful CEOs and close huge deals.

Cheadle in 2005 was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for "Hotel Rwanda" (2004). He is, in my opinion, one of Hollywood's most gifted actors. And he was the only Black actor to win an award at the 70th annual Golden Globes. Actually, he was the only non-White actor to win, but that's another story.

The Golden Globes are said to be the precursor to the Oscars, where only feature films are honored. Washington was nominated Best Actor for the movie "Flight," but Daniel Day-Lewis walked away with the Globe for his performance in "Lincoln." The buzz is Daniel Day-Lewis is a shoo-in for the Oscar, but you never know.

Interesting to note, director/writer Quentin Tarantino won a Golden Globe for Best Original Screenplay, along with Christolf Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") who won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting role, beating out Leonardo Dicaprio who also stars in "Django."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced its 85th Academy Awards nominations for the Oscar and, as expected, Washington was nominated for "Flight." He's joined by Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"; Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master," and, of course, Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln." "Lincoln" by the way is leading the pack with 12 nominations.

In the Best Actress category, Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings"), Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour"), Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts") and Naomi Watts ("The Impossible") are vying for the coveted Oscar. History was made twice in the category: at just 9 years old, Wallis is the youngest actress to ever be nominated in the category; Riva, 85, is the oldest.

Wallis calls Louisiana her home. She reportedly beat out 4,000 other little girls to win the part. She stars as 6-year-old Hushpuppy in "Beasts." Hushpuppy is struggling to survive with her ailing father in the southern Delta as a storm approaches. The movie is also nominated by the Academy for Best Picture.
Writer/director Quentin Tarantino didn't do too badly for himself when it came to Academy nominations. Tarantino snagged a nomination for "Django Unchained" in Best Picture category, along with "Amour," "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

In the category of Original Screenplay are: Michael Haneke, "Amour"; Tarantino, "Django Unchained"; John Gatins, "Flight"; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, "Moonrise Kingdom"; Mark Boal, "Zero Dark Thirty."

And Waltz (Shultz) ("Django Unchained") was nominated in the Supporting Actor category along with Alan Arkin, "Argo"; Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"and Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln."

To see all the Oscar nominations and trailers, go to http://oscar.go.com/nominees.

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.com