The charts have all been updated... I started with the Animation, Shorts and Doc page which never gets enough attention and on which you'll see a lot of new information. Short films are such a crucial building block for young filmmakers and an ideal experimental playground for established filmmakers. They never get enough attention. We haven't culled enough information yet on the live action shorts but we know of three in the mix that have qualified that all happen to star Oscar talent: Sailcloth has two time nominee John Hurt as a nursing home escapee, The Sea is All I Know has recent winner Melissa Leo as a grieving mom and African Chelsea has Sally Kirkland as the mother of an exotic dancer. (Full disclosure: African Chelsea is advertising on the sidebar even as you read this but our love for Kirkland long pre-dates advertisements. We first fell for her during her spirited Oscar run for Anna, just as we were beginning to get an inkling of what "Oscar campaigning" was back in the day. Have you ever seen Anna? A must-see for actress obsessives.)
If you know of other live action shorts that have qualified feel free to share them in the comments and we'll investigate. Unless AMPAS releases a list (like they did with the animated and doc shorts) we're flying with one blind eye.
As for the bulk of the categories... there are minor gains for The Iron Lady, Hugo, The Descendants and such but buzz always grows when films start pushing or are about to open. Oscar is a marathon and it remains to be seen which currently sprinting films can keep at it for another 2 months. Stay hydrated movies, stay hydrated. Earlier releases like The Help and Moneyball may seem to be running on buzz fumes at the moment but it isn't necessarily a bad move to stretch and take a deep breath once you've already made a case for yourself. All the films that have already done so, will have to start sprinting again anyway once ballots are in hand anyway.
I've also filled out the Best Original Song competition. Despite the extranneaous nature of this category (songs have so little to do with filmmaking especially in the modern era when most movie songs are not originals) it could offer abundant Oscar Ceremony possibilities this year. Even if we don't get to see Captain America and his USO girls in a kickline or a performance or two from the beloved Muppets we still might have opportunities to see major names like Pink, Elton John or Zooey Deschanel performing.
That said, it's always possible they'll either select badly -- DON'T EVEN SPEAK TO ME ABOUT THE CHER SNUB LAST YEAR. The flames. On the side of my face.... -- or select well and then give all the numbers to some random celebrity to sing in a medley, anyway. Note to AMPAS: if you insist on keeping this category, do not deprive us of big gawdy song spectacles!
What kind of musical performance would you love to see on Oscar night? Besides Billy Crystal's inevitable vaguely musical monologue that is.