The poignant story of a Hawaii family in crisis, "The Descendants," is up for five Academy Awards tonight, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
The movie, filmed on Oahu and Kauai in 2010, is also nominated for Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Director (Alexander Payne), Film Editing (Kevin Tent) and Adapted Screenplay (Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash).
Clooney is considered one of the favorites for Best Actor. He won a Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Actor, but lost in the Screen Actors Guild awards to "The Artists"’ Jean Dujardin.
Other best-actor contenders are: Demian Bichir as an immigrant father in "A Better Life"; Gary Oldman as British spymaster George Smiley in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"; and Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball."
"The Artist," a silent film homage to Hollywood, appears to be the favorite to win Best Picture and perhaps the most awards. The movie dominated Hollywood honors this season, winning key prizes at the Golden Globes and awards shows held by the Directors, Producers and Screen Actors guilds.
"The Artist" won best picture and three other prizes Saturday at the Spirit Awards honoring independent film, a possible prelude to a big night at the Academy Awards.
If it wins, it will be the first black and white silent picture to receive an Oscar since the first Academy Awards ceremony 83 years ago.
Competing against "The Artist" and "The Descendants" for the top honor are the Deep South tale "The Help," featuring best-actress nominee Viola Davis and supporting-actress favorite Octavia Spencer; and the Paris adventure "Hugo," from director Martin Scorsese.
Also in the lineup: the romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris," from writer-director Woody Allen; Pitt’s baseball tale "Moneyball" and his family saga "The Tree of Life"; the World War I epic "War Horse," directed by Steven Spielberg; and Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock’s Sept. 11 story "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."
"Hugo" leads with 11 nominations, with "The Artist" right behind with 10.
"The Artist" also won Spirit awards for best director for Michel Hazanavicius and lead actor for Jean Dujardin as a silent-era star whose career crumbles as talking pictures take over in the 1920s. It earned the cinematography prize for Guillaume Schiffman, too.
"The Descendants" won the Spirit screenplay award and appears to be the favorite for Best Adapted Screenplay after winning the Writers Guild of America award. The move was adapted from the novel with the same name by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings.
The Academy Awards starts at 2 p.m. Hawaii, is being televised in Hawaii on a tape-delay basis. It will air starting at 6 p.m. with arrivals and the show staring at 7:30 p.m. on KITV.