Oscar front-runners emerge as voting begins for this year's nominees

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the latest details.

We're less than three weeks away from knowing who will be nominated for an Academy Award, but Hollywood is already buzzing about the top contenders.

Thursday marks the start of Oscar voting. The 6,000 members of the Motion Picture Academy have until next Friday to choose the lucky few who will be nominated.

This week some of the most famous people in America were in the city collecting awards, and looking to score the big one

Doing the Hollywood hustle is a lot like hard work.

"Wow, it gets more intense every time. You'd think you'd get used to it, but you don't or I don't," said Jeff Bridges.

What some might see as lighthearted is actually a necessity for those going for the gold, because when it comes to the Oscar race, staying out of sight can put you out of mind just as Oscar voters are making up their minds about who they will nominate.

"They call it Oscar campaigning and it's become a really long campaign," we said to Octavia Spencer. "You know what I like about it? The room is filled with people, luminaries I respect," she said.

"People I've never met. I got to meet Tom Hanks the other night, you know it can be a real thrill," said Casey Affleck.

Both the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics agree, Casey Affleck gave the performance of the year in 'Manchester By The Sea', as a janitor named guardian of his nephew following a tragedy shared with his ex-wife.

To make this seem even more real, Michelle Williams spent a lot of time in Manchester, Massachusetts before filming.

"I really wanted to steep myself in the place so I didn't walk in feeling like a foreigner or like an outsider," Williams said.

Her movie is one of a trio of films trade paper Variety is calling 'the front-runners'.

Another is "Moonlight" about a young man who discovers he is gay as he grows up.

Naomie Harris plays his troubled mom.

"It reminds us about our shared humanity, and I think we need that now more than ever," Harris said.

But the first among favorites still has to be the choice of broadcast film critics, the film called "La La Land".

"La La Land" has been credited with reviving the lost art of the classic Hollywood musical, so it's expected to do very well at Sunday night's Golden Globe ceremony, where musicals and comedies are separated from dramas. So several of these front-runners could do well.
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