The nominees may change, but the formula remains pretty much the same.
Last year, ABCNews.com debuted our list 10 surefire ways to score Oscar recognition. As expected, the Academy awarded its perennial favorites: the feel good film ("Slumdog Millionaire"), the straight guy playing gay (Sean Penn), the woman in the Holocaust movie (Kate Winslet) and the dead actor (Heath Ledger).
With a fresh crop of nominees, we've taken out a few non-applicable cliches and added some new ones. After all, there are more than 10 ways to gain Oscar recognition -- just ask Meryl Streep, who's been nominated for Hollywood's top trophy a record 16 times.
Below, check out ABCNews.com's updated list of 10 ways a movie can make the Academy swoon, and see which of this year's nominees might bag a coveted statue.
The academy loves history, and few periods lend themselves to drama more than Nazi-era Germany.
Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" won seven Academy Awards in 1994, including best picture. "The Counterfeiters," a 2006 film about a Nazi plot to financially destabilize the United Kingdom, won Austria its first Oscar by scoring the best foreign language film award. Last year, "The Reader," about a Nazi war crimes trial, picked up five nominations and star Kate Winslet took home the best actress award.
This year, Adolf Hitler might roll over in his grave if Christoph Waltz, aka "The Jew Hunter" in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds," doesn't take home the best supporting actor Oscar. Considering he swept the critics' awards circuit and scored a Golden Globe and a SAG for playing a Nazi boss, the academy might as well ship their trophy to his mantel.
As noted, Oscar voters veer toward films with historical grounding. Elizabethan England has fared well with the academy -- 1998's "Shakespeare in Love" won seven Oscars, including best picture and best actress; 1998's "Elizabeth" and its 2007 sequel, "Elizabeth: the Golden Age," both scored a slew of major nominations and won awards for makeup and costume design, respectively.
20th century history also works -- depression-era films "Cinderella Man" (2005) and "Changeling" (2008) picked up three nominations each. This year, "Julie and Julia," "A Single Man" and "An Education," with their 1950s and '60s aesthetics, fit the mold.
The rape victim: disturbing and dramatic, it's the ultimate role for a rising star.
Jodie Foster proved it in when she won the best actress Oscar in for playing gang rape victim Sarah Tobias in 1988's "The Accused." Hilary Swank upped the ante when she scored the same award for playing a transgender man who gets raped in 1999's "Boys Don't Cry."
Hollywood newcomer Gabourey Sidibe put her career on the fast track by taking her first major role as the title character in "Precious" -- an obese, illiterate teen whose father rapes and impregnates her, twice.
Now, after receiving a slew of critics circle awards, Sidibe's sitting pretty in the Academy's best actress category. While she may not beat out leading contenders Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep, earning an Oscar nomination for a debut role deserves its own round of applause.