20 Movies to Watch Before the Oscars

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Always feel like you’re left out in the dark come Oscar night? It helps if you’ve seen the contenders. Here’s a helpful list of all the movies you need to catch up with before the Academy hands out its little golden men on March 2nd.

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Gravity
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron), Best Actress (Sandra Bullock), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects
The gist of it: Intense survival thriller with dazzling visual effects about two astronauts (Sandra Bullock, George Clooney) stranded in space after space debris destroys their space craft, killing all their colleagues and communication with Earth.
Now playing in theaters. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 26

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12 Years a Slave
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Steve McQueen), Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design
The gist of it: The harrowing true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery. The definitive document of American slavery.
Now playing in theaters. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 4

american-hustle-best-of - Copy

American Hustle
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (David O. Russell), Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design
The gist of it: Comic, infectiously entertaining 70s-set caper about an over-weight con man (Christian Bale) and his better half (Amy Adams) forced to work for a sleazy FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) in a rapidly out-of-control sting operation.
Now playing in theaters. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 18

nebraska

Nebraska
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Actor (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography
The gist of it: Poignant tragi-comedy about a senile elderly man (Bruce Dern) and his put-upon son (Will Forte) as they drive from Montana to Nebraska to pick up a fictional winnings the former thinks he’s won.
Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 25

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The Wolf of Wall Street
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), Best Adapted Screenplay
The gist of it: Wild, sprawling and envelope-pushing dark comedy from Martin Scorsese about the excess-fuelled rise-and-fall of Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Now playing in theaters.

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Dallas Buyers Club
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Hairstyling and Makeup
The gist of it: Powerfully-acted true-life drama about a charismatic womanizer (Matthew McConaughey) who starts smuggling FDA unapproved drugs into the United States after contracting AIDS in the late 80s.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD

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Captain Phillips
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
The gist of it: Intense docu-drama about the prolonged hostage crisis that ensued after the botched hijacking attempt of the U.S. cargo ship Mearsk Alabama in 2009.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD

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Her
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“The Moon Song”), Best Production Design
The gist of it: Touchingly-told meditation on the nature of human connection and relationships seen through the eyes of a relationship between a divorcee (Joaquin Phoenix) and his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
Now playing in theaters.

philomena

Philomena
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Judi Dench), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score
The gist of it: Funny and sad story of an Irish woman’s (Judi Dench) near 50-year search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption when she was a teenager.
Now playing in theaters. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 4

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Before Midnight
Nominated for: Best Adapted Screenplay
The gist of it: The year’s best film. A heart-wrenching and brutally honest study on the way relationships evolve over time; a film rife with captivating dialogue, raw performances and stunning Greek vistas.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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Blue Jasmine
Nominated for: Best Actress (Cate Blanchett), Best Supporting Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Original Screenplay
The gist of it: Scathing take on a pill-popping anxiety-prone New York gold-digger (Cate Blanchett) who is forced to move in to the modest abode of her dotting insecure sister (Sally Hawkins) after her husband is arrested for embezzling millions.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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August: Osage County
Nominated for: Best Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts)
The gist of it: Over-the-top awards-baiting dark comedy, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, about a venom-spewing matriarch (Meryl Streep) and her equally psychotic family.
Now playing in theaters.

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Despicable Me 2
Nominated for: Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song (“Happy”)
The gist of it: Lively animated sequel about the escapades of a former super-villain, his three adopted daughters and million adorable minions.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

frozen-let-it-go

Frozen
Nominated for: Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song (“Let it Go”)
The gist of it: Overrated monster hit Disney musical about a Danish princess with magical powers who plunges her kingdom into a perpetual winter, and her spunky younger sister bent on saving it.
Now playing in theaters. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 18.

the-grandmaster

The Grandmaster
Nominated for: Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design
The gist of it: Majestically-shot and told martial arts epic on the life story of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, commonly known as the teacher of Bruce Lee.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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Inside Llewyn Davis
Nominated for: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing
The gist of it: Melancholic musical drama from the Coen brothers about a struggling musician (Oscar Isaac) trying to make ends meet during the unforgiving winter of 1963.
Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 11

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The Hunt
Nominated for: Best Foreign Language Film
The gist of it: Seething Danish drama about an innocent man (Mads Mikkelsen) wrongly convicted of sexually assaulting a child, and the vicious witch hunt that ensues.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

the-great-beauty

The Great Beauty
Nominated for: Best Foreign Language Film
The gist of it:  Exquisitely crafted homage to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita about an aging socialite trying to find meaning in his decadent lifestyle.
Now playing in theaters

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20 Feet from Stardom
Nominated for: Best Documentary Feature
The gist of it: Slick, crowd-pleasing documentary and ode to the back-up singers who, for some reason or another, never made the transition to the spotlight.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

the-act-of-killing

The Act of Killing
Nominated for: Best Documentary Feature
The gist of it: Disturbing, ground-breaking documentary about Indonesian death squad leaders who continue to be worshipped as heroes in their native land.
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

 

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