5 must-see films destined for the Oscars

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It's Oscar season

And that means Hollywood's finest are contending for coveted nominations. There are a lot of great films in the running, and we've gathered five in particular that are almost sure to be nominees, if not winners.

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

The Theory of Everything

Already a strong favorite among critics and the festival circuit, this film is based on legendary physicist Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his ex-wife, Jane Wilde Hawking.

With an 81% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, The Theory of Everything is being praised for its performances and screenplay. Eddie Redmayne's visceral portrayal of Hawking has been compared to roles like Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot. Expect Redmayne to be in the race for best actor.

Photo: Focus Features

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician and logician who helped crack a code that was crucial for defeating the Nazis in World War II.

This has all the makings of Oscar bait: a star-studded cast, warm festival reception, a period setting, and a strong leading man playing a character who was prosecuted for homosexuality. Best picture, director, actor, screenplay, and supporting actress nominations are probable.

Photo: The Weinstein Company

Foxcatcher

Directed by Bennett Miller of Capote andMoneyball fame, Foxcatcher is sure to receive a slew of nominations and probably a few wins.

It's hard to imagine anyone winning best supporting actor over Steve Carell's chilling performance as the wealthy wresting coach and paranoid schizophrenic John Eleuthère du Pont. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo also give stellar performances.

The story itself is portrayed in such a way that grips you from beginning to shockingly tragic end. Nominations for best picture, director, screenplay, actor, supporting actor, editing, makeup, and maybe even sound design are all very possible.

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Boyhood

How can a film that literally shows a boy growing up not receive Oscar attention? Boyhood was shot intermittently over an eleven-year period, which is a feat in and of itself that will place it in film studies textbooks.

The scope of such a project is mind blowing, and critics have been overwhelming favorable with a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition," reads the critical consensus. What more of a recommendation do you need?

Photo: IFC Films

Birdman

Michael Keaton's Birdman is the rogue, weird, unrelentingly indie contender that hasn't stopped gaining momentum. Keaton's portrayal of a washed-up actor who once played a famous superhero (cough) is being called his best work in years. Then there's the incredible supporting cast: Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, and Naomi Watts.

Besides its witty dialogue and fascinating characters, Birdman soars on the talented wings of Gravity and Children of Men cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who effortlessly follows the story with what feels like one continuous, epic shot. Birdman is worth watching for the way it looks alone, and it's hard to imagine it not winning best cinematography.

Photo: Fox Searchlight

Hollywood romance: 18 most iconic Apple cameos in cinema

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Apple is definitely ready for its closeup.

Toy Story 3

Pixar films are always generous with their Apple product placements. Maybe it's because they're so simple a toy can use them, which is exactly what happens in Toy Story 3 when Woody uses Bonnie's Mac to Google directions back to Andy's house.

You've Got Mail

Meg Ryan's PowerBook was such a crucial plot point in You've Got Mail that it was visible for nearly four minutes of the 119-minute-long romantic comedy. The other 115 minutes might have been filled with a repeating loop of the AOL chime for all we know.

Modern Family

Phil Dunphy’s love of the Apple has been a reoccuring theme on Modern Family, but the best episode of all was when Steve Jobs and Jesus conspired to have the launch of the iPad fall on his birthday.

Independence Day

A Mac saves the world from imminent alien annihilation in Independence Day. His holiness Steve Jobs couldn't have written a better plot to glorify his creation's powers than Jeff Goldblum’s brilliant intergalactic hackery, powered by a PowerBook 5300.

24

In the terrorist-soaked world of Jack Bauer’s 24, the war of Mac versus PC is almost literal. The Washington Post notes that all the good guys on the show use Macs and the baddies are stuck on PCs, but some of the heroes eventually adopted HPs later in the series.

30 Rock

Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy have had an iFest on NBC’s 30 Rock, with one episode's plot using Find My iPhone to locate Liz's lost device, while Alex Baldwin is always showing people pictures on his iPhone.

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Friends With Benefits

I imagine Justin Timberlake's charms usually circumvent the necessity to swear an oath of unholy platonic sex with right hand on an iPad Bible app, but in Friends with Benefits, Mila Kunis swings him into it. But it was just a fake bible so it was totally cool to break the promise later.

The Big Bang Theory

The physics geeks of The Big Bang Theory have been spotted using MacBooks from time to time but the love affair started in the first season when roommates Leonard and Sheldon were playing a MMORPG with friends. Though all the computers are covered with stickers, it looks like the only Mac user at the time was university researcher Raj.

House of Cards

What does the most conniving, vengeful man in Washington, D.C., use to run his quest for political domination? Apple, of course. And it's not just Francis Underwood. Reporter Kloe Barnes is also spotted throughout House of Cards getting scoops from her iPhone, even as death comes barreling through the subway.

Sex and the City

Carrie Bradshaw introduced millions of women to the coolness of Macs, thanks to the trusty PowerBook G3 she used to write her weekly column. It was due to the popularity of Sex and the City that el Jobso may have eventually relented on having the logo flipped around so it'd look right-side up when you see someone using it.

Legally Blonde

Before every hipster college student was toting a MacBook into the lecture hall, Reese Witherspoon's fashion-obsessed character in Legally Blonde absolutely had to have Jony Ive's unapologetically sherbet iBook in class to match her threads. Apple has ditched the colorful plastic, but MacBooks have only gotten more popular on campus.

Back To The Future

In the opening minutes of 1989’s Back to the Future II, Marty McFly lands in 2015, where hover-cars loom, Jaws 19 in 3D plays in movie theaters and folks sport layered outfits that only a daltonic could love. In an antiques store, Michael J. Fox does a double take over a “vintage” Mac sitting next to other '80s relics like a Dustbuster and a bottle of Perrier.

Men In Black 2

To retrieve vital info from that could save Earth from an intergalactic disaster, Men in Black II’s Will Smith decides to use an illegal deneuralizer. Of course getting his hands on one requires making a deal with Jeebs, whose rickety setup is cobbled together with a food mixer, a house fan and some stolen A/V gear -- all controlled with an iMac G3.

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The Proposal

After her cellphone gets stolen by an eagle in The Proposal, Sandra Bullock's character picks up a replacement at the town general store and then goes to the only Internet cafe around to find all of her 37 urgent messages using an iMac G3 connected to civilization via a coin-operated modem.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks look to solve their cash-flow problems in Zack and Miri Make a Porno by making adult films on their clamshell MacBook. The movie also had a part for Justin Long — “Get a Mac” Apple adman — as a gay porno star, leaving at least one person to suggest the actor is an Apple endorsement, too.

The Office

In The Office, Dunder Mifflin's computer of choice was Apple for years during the early seasons before HP eventually bought up some promotional rights. Wanting to be the world's coolest boss, Michael Scott bought a video iPod for the White Elephant gift exchange in the Christmas episode, while MacBooks lingered around the conference room and other desks later in the series.

Zoolander

The blissful stupidity of Derek Zoolander and Hansel still gets us stoked for Orange Mocha Frappuccinos and gas station fuel-pump fights, but the male model duo took tech problems to all new heights in Zoolander as they struggled to open the iMac G3 carrying the files to stop Mugatu.

Stephen Colbert

The new host of The Late Show is taking his Apple obsession with him. Stephen Colbert's been spotted pimping Apple products across the country, from toting iPads at the Grammys to posting selfies with the great Dave Letterman himself.

Hollywood loves Apple almost as much as it loves itself.

The passionate affair burned for decades before Samsung came snapping celebrity selfies with Ellen at the Oscars and dishing out enough paid endorsements to finance the next Star Wars trilogy.

Apple plans to fight back with its own buzz marketer in New York to keep its products in the hands of the elite and glamorous. But Cupertino has never had a problem getting its products on the big screen and into the coolest TV shows — even though Apple swears it doesn’t pay a dime for product placements. Here are 18 of the most iconic Apple cameos to hit the screen.

Oscars Host Ellen DeGeneres Ditched Her Galaxy Note For An iPhone Backstage

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ellendegeneres

Samsung may have flashed a bit of cash to get Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres to appear on-stage with a Galaxy Note, but it seems that DeGeneres ditched the device backstage, as she was spotted tweeting out selfies using an iPhone.

Ellen DeGeneres’ Heads Up! Game Adds New Oscars Category

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Ahead of the 86th Academy Awards show, the Heads Up! app dreamed up by this year’s host Ellen DeGeneres has received a timely update — offering questions related to the Oscars.

Joining existing game categories including Celebrities, Animals, Accents, and Characters, the new time-limited Oscars game deck offers users a chance to brush up on their movie trivia knowledge in the most time-pressured setting imaginable. “It’s perfect perfect for your viewing party, or preparing for the big night starring Ellen,” the app’s developers state.