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26 February 2012updated 27 Sep 2015 4:01am

Oscars 2012: runners, riders and reviews

Sean Penn's dazed look and the Most Inexplicably Praised Film of the Year.

By New Statesman

A little pre-Academy Awards reading, based on our (near complete) coverage of the Best Picture nominees:


The Tree of Life

Sean Penn’s dazed look fits this long view of 1950s America — Ryan Gilbey’s verdict

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The Descendants

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Transport is the core of levelling up

Just coasting along — Ryan Gilbey’s verdict

Midnight in Paris

Most Inexplicably Praised Film of the Year — The Cultural Capital annual film awards


Sentiment and surrealism in turn — Ryan Gilbey’s verdict

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

We’ll fake Manhattan — Ryan Gilbey’s verdict

War Horse

The man with the child in his eyes — Sophie Elmhirst interviews War Horse author, Michael Morpurgo

The whinny takes it all — on the red carpet… to see a horse.

Also nominated….

The Help

The Artist