For cinephiles, this is the week to mull over the Oscar pool in preparation for Sunday’s big event on ABC, hosted this year by the esteemed duo of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin (left).
While “The Hurt Locker” is the presumed leader, the complicated process in which the ten films are winnowed down could ultimately lead to another victor, be it “Up in the Air” or “Avatar.” Most of the other major categories are dominated by presumed favorites such as Mo’Nique for best supporting actress and Jeff Bridges as best actor.
Otherwise, there’s plenty to watch this week. You can bid farewell to FX’s groundbreaking and often surreal “Nip/Tuck,” in case you knew it was still on the air. The show, along with “The Shield,” helped establish FX as an “edgy” basic cable network that could take on HBO and Showtime.
NBC introduces its long-awaited version of the comedy “Parenthood” Tuesday at 10. It’s an amalgam of “Brothers & Sisters” meets “Modern Family.” Check out the return of Lauren Graham, best known for “Gilmore Girls.”
And “Bachelor” fans have helped make the current cycle one of the more popular ones. Studly Jake Pavelka and his quick cutting has pared it down to Tenley and Vienna. He’ll be handing a ring (perhaps?) to one of them Monday night on ABC.
A couple of other popular scripted shows are bowing out for the winter: USA’s guilty pleasure “Burn Notice” sees its third season draw to a close while HBO’s “Big Love” keeps pushing the envelope about polygamy as season four comes to an end Sunday.
“The Bachelor” 8 p.m. ABC (14th season finale) — Pilot Jake may decide to fly away with Tenley or Vienna. Our bet: Vienna.
“How I Met Your Mother” 8 p.m. CBS — “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood makes her acting debut as Ted’s latest squeeze.
“Little Parents, First Baby” 8 p.m. TLC (new series) — TLC loves its little people. Tonight, its focus is on little people raising an average-size baby.
“Rules of Engagement” 8:30 p.m. CBS (fourth-season debut) — Jeff takes Russell’s advice when a female colleague flirts. Never take Russell’s advice.
“24” 9 p.m. Fox — An already tense meeting between President Taylor and Omar Hassan takes an unexpected turn.
“The Haney Project,” 9 p.m. Golf Channel — Hank Haney helps Ray Romano (”Men of a Certain Age”) with his golf game.
“Damages” 10 p.m. FX — Ellen uncovers new evidence about Louis Tobin’s death.
“American Idol” 8 p.m. Fox — The top 10 girls, stretched out over two hours. Maybe “Idol” can actually let them sing more.
“The Biggest Loser” 8 p.m. NBC — The remaining contestants split into two teams. The twist: one person gets to pick the teams.
“NCIS” 8 p.m. CBS — Gibbs’ former mother-in-law appears as a witness in a murder investigation.
“Lost” 9 p.m. ABC — Sayid, recently dead, has a tough decision to make. And how evil is Claire now?
“20/20: Before They Were Famous” 10 p.m. ABC — Check out Oscar nominees’ early gigs.
“Parenthood” 10 p.m. NBC (new series) — A “reimagining” of the Ron Howard film. Lauren Graham subs for an ill Maura Tierney.
“Southland” 10 p.m. TNT (second-season debut) — First new episode that NBC didn’t air.
“American Idol” 8 p.m. Fox — Were the guys really that bad last week? Yes. Can they redeem themselves? We can only hope.
“The New Adventures of Old Christine” 8 p.m. CBS — Ed Begley Jr. plays a pastor advising Christine.
“Faces of America” 8 p.m. GPB (season finale) — Henry Louis Gates Jr. probes the pasts of the 12 subjects to find connections.
“Ghost Hunters” 9 p.m. SyFy (sixth-season debut) — The 100th episode focuses on Alcatraz.
“The Locator” 10 p.m. WE (fourth-season debut) — A woman tries to track down her dad who disappeared 35 years earlier.
“Law & Order: SVU” 9, 10 p.m. NBC — In the first of back-to-back episodes, Kathy Griffin, normally a comic, plays a serious role as a lesbian activist. Her gay fans will love it.
“Nip/Tuck” 10 p.m. FX (series finale) — “The Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special” 10 p.m. ABC — Celebs interview each other.
“American Idol” 8 p.m. Fox — Why can’t “Idol” get rid of four guys at once? Danny Gokey will sing.
“Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” 8 p.m. CBS — Coach starts to become unhinged while Rob smells a rat when it comes to Russell.
“CSI” 9 p.m. CBS — A member of Rascal Flatts gets electrocuted – fictionally, of course.
“The Office” 9 p.m. NBC — Pam and Jim have their baby. And will Andy ever get around to asking out Erin? And beware ever letting Dwight into your house.
“Burn Notice” 10 p.m. USA (third-season finale) — Michael tries to stop a terrorist bomber.
“Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” 10 p.m. VH1 (third-season finale) — Petulant Kari Ann is back!
“Real Housewives of Orange County” 10 p.m. Bravo (fifth-season finale) — Past and present housewives gather for an end-of-summer soiree. The New York City housewives follow at 11 p.m.
“Ghost Whisperer” 8 p.m. CBS (100th episode) — A ghost tells Melinda about a missing bomb.
“Who Do You Think You Are?” 8 p.m. NBC (new series) — Like “African-American Lives” and “Faces of America” with a network sheen. Sarah Jessica Parker’s past history is investigated tonight.
“Caprica” 9 p.m. SyFy — Joseph searches for Tamara in the virtual world.
“Spartacus” 10 p.m. Starz — Spartacus starts to embrace his role as a champion gladiator.
“Numb3rs” 10 p.m. CBS — Don looks into suspicious deaths of two men who had been sexually assaulted by a teacher when they were kids.
“America’s Most Wanted” 9 p.m. Saturday Fox (1,000th episode) — John Walsh looks back at some of the series’ 1,100 captures.
“Curb Appeal: The Block” 9:30p.m. Saturday HGTV (first-season finale) — Shot in Atlanta, this show ends with an ivy-choked home given a makeover.
“Saturday Night Live” 11:29 p.m. Saturday NBC — Zach Galifianakis hosts.
“The Amazing Race” 8 p.m. Sunday CBS — The remaining teams fly to Germany and retrace the steps of the Beatles.
“The 82nd Annual Academy Awards” 8:30 p.m. Sunday ABC — “The Hurt Locker” is the favorite to win but don’t count out “Avatar,” “Up in the Air” or “Precious.” Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin host.
“Big Love” 9 p.m. Sunday HBO (fourth-season finale) — Could Bill manage to win a state senate seat with all the secrets he possesses?