Another year, another set of movies vying for Oscar gold.
There are rules. 1) "Twilight" kids, this game's not for you. 2) Those who favor hair-poofs and no pants need not apply. 3) Stick with the tried-and-true types of films and stars the academy loves most; prepare to win big.
History, as the saying goes, repeats itself. One need only look at the Oscar winners and nominees of the past to know what's likely to captivate the academy in the present. Below, check out ABCNews.com's take on 10 ways to win an Oscar (or at least get nominated for an award), freshly formatted to apply to this year's crop of contenders.
1. Be pregnant. In addition scoring Golden Globe and SAG awards for her turn in "Black Swan," Natalie Portman has another reason to anticipate hoisting a golden statuette above her head come Feb. 27: She's pregnant. The academy long has awarded expecting actresses, including Eva Marie Saint (for "On the Waterfront"), Meryl Streep ("Sophie's Choice"), Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Chicago") and Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener"). Zeta-Jones even gushed about her state when she accepted her best supporting actress award in 2003: "My hormones are way too out of control to be dealing with this!"
2. Feature a disability. Colin Firth probably should make some room on his mantel before the 27th. Besides his critically acclaimed, much-lauded performance in "The King's Speech" (Golden Globe? Check. SAG? Check.), he played a role the academy relishes: a character with a disability. Firth affected a speech impediment. Oscar winners and nominees before him have faked palsies (Daniel Day Lewis in "My Left Foot") and channeled mental illness (Billy Bob Thornton in "Sling Blade," Sean Penn in "I Am Sam").
3. Put Jeff Bridges in it. He's rugged, he's real and he's really good looking for a man his age -- 61. What's not to like about Jeff Bridges? Apparently, the academy feels the same way lately, finally having awarded him an Oscar last year for "Crazy Heart." (He'd previously been nominated four times.) Bridges is up for best actor again for "True Grit." If he wins, he'll be the sixth person in history to score back-to-back best actor/actress Academy Awards.
4. Give 'em "Bahstaan" accents. Boston or British -- if a movie boasts one of these affectations of speech, there's a 47 percent chance the Oscar committee will look its way. Previously, "Good Will Hunting" and "The Departed" appealed to the academy's proclivities towards the Red Sox, M.I.T. and the Irish mob. This time around, the Boston-based boxing epic "The Fighter" boasts seven nominations.
5. Spotlight homosexual issues. "Philadelphia." "Boys Don't Cry." "Milk." All told poignant stories concerning the LGBT community; all won Oscars. While "The Kids Are Alright," about lesbian partners whose children seek out their sperm donor father, takes a more lighthearted tone than those three films, it hits all the right notes, and thus it's up for three major Oscars.
6. Tell a horribly tragic story. There are those movies about life that induce depression, gloom, and a general feeling of, "Is this really what it's all about?" Into this melancholy category fall past Oscar nominees and winners "Requiem for a Dream," "Leaving Las Vegas," and "Monster's Ball." Current contender "Blue Valentine" (for best actress, Michelle Williams), which chronicles the crumbling of a couple's marriage, joins them in the annals of ennui.