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Schmoozing through a losing marathon

In the run-up to the Academy Awards, the nominees go through the motions of courting the voters - even if they know they won't win.

Viola Davis, who was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Jan 5 (left), has all but sewn up a win in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in "Fences" at this year's Oscars. She has scooped up nearly 30 trophies, including minor ones, in recent months.

Los Angeles

SMILING and clapping through marathon rubber-chicken award banquets. Week after week, month after month.

Racking up frequent-flier miles (New York to Los Angeles to London to Los Angeles) to woo Oscar voters at question-and-answer sessions. Giving endless command...

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