Handicapping the Oscar nominations

The Oscar noms come early this year, and once again as many as 10 films may be up for best picture. But which ones? And how many?

Here I have a handicapping, in descending order, of the most likely nominees in all the categories. After the nominations come out Thursday morning, check to see how well we (and you) did. My picks are below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Film award nominations: Golden Globes, SAGs and more

In the last 24 hours, two major groups have announced their nominations for some of the film awards of the season — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Add to that Film Independent Spirit Awards, and the landscape is shaping up.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, of which I am a voting member, will announce our winners next Tuesday.

More on the nominations after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

It’s a little of the calm before the storm.

Few big movies are opening this weekend. That’s because starting next week through Christmas, there will be roughly 2 billion new films vying for your attention (give or take) — many with gay content or appeal: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hyde Park on Hudson, Any Day Now, The Guilt Trip, This Is 40, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Jack Reacher and Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Apart. Try catching up on gooduns like SkyfallHitchock and The Sessions before the onslaught. (In the Dec. 21 edition of Dallas Voice, we’ll have a complete rundown of holiday movies as part of our Hollywood Issue.)

‘Til then, catch up on theater: Jekyll & Hyde has been rejiggered to appeal to a demographic that is more about The Voice and The X Factor that Patti and Babs, but Deborah Cox and Constantine Maroulis, pictured, sure know how to sing. So does Janis Ian, who takes over the smaller Hamon Hall venue at the Winspear on Saturday.

For Christmas themed shows, you have a choice between two local Nutty Award nominees — Texas Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker and MBS’s Bur-Less-Q Nutcracker — as well as DTC’s annual Christmas Carol — which, once again, delivers. And the Turtle Creek Chorale offers six more opportunities to see them perform — their Comfort & Joy show at the Meyerson (and again in McKinney) this week, then the campy Naughty & Nice show the following week, leading right up to Christmas Eve.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

It’s very moving weekend we have in store. Wheel get right to it.

Starting today, Dallas’ Classic Chassis Car Club revs its engines for the 25th annual Golden Girls meet-up, a convention of member clubs that enjoy older, interesting or unique automobiles. The event includes mixers, a picnic and an awards dinner in Fort Worth. Here in Dallas, Park Place Motorcars officially launches its new Motorsports division, targeting those gearheads who have a need for speed.

One of the best movies of the year, Skyfall, opens today as well, with Daniel Craig, pictured, returning as James Bond and Javier Bardem as a gay supervillain. Even if you aren’t double-oh-seven fan, you’ll love it. Another admirable film opening this weekend is A Late Quartet, a clever drama where then members of a musical group find themselves actually performing the roles of a fugue as they interact. It contains an amazing performance by Christopher Walken, who should be short-listed for the Oscar this year. And it’s not too late to catch Cloud Atlas, another terrific movie with gay themes. Also, The Variants finished up its third season this week; you can watch it here.

On stage, Kitchen Dog Theater continues its new season with the dark comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane opening Friday, and on Saturday 42nd Street tap-dances its way into Casa Manana. Also this weekend, the Theater Ministry of the Cathedral of Hope stages Standing on Ceremony, a collection of short plays about marriage equality. And on Thursday, Rick Miller performs, for what he says will be the penultimate time, his one-man show MacHomer at the Winspear.

Jim Duran, a Dallas fashion designer, launches his new menswear label, BLKLN, with a gala at Dish on Tuesday.  And sticking with fashion, model lensman Steven D. Hill holds his second annual toy drive with snacks from the Original Cupcakery and fashionistas on display. Oh, and last night, Stephan Pyles’ newest restaurant, Uptown’s Stampede 66, opened for dinner.

There’s also an anti-bullying concert being held at the Angelika Plano at the Shops of Legacy from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, with CDs available and proceeds benefiting anti-bullying causes.

Finally, Art Conspiracy returns for an evening of fundraising and art, music, food and other things that make life worth living. It’s at 960 Dragon St. in the Design District Saturday night.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones