#2013Oscars: 20 movies you must watch before Oscar Night

 

Zero Dark Thirty, Paperman, Django Unchained

Sony; Disney; The Weinstein Company

Ready or not, the 85th Annual Academy Awards are almost here.

So why not be ready? We’re here to help.

These are the 20 films that you absolutely, positively must see before host seth macfarlane takes the Dolby Theatre stage on Feb. 24:

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LINCOLN

It’s as good as it is relevant. Daniel Day-Lewis is great. James Spader is an unexpected gem (even if he wasn’t nominated). Plus, with a field-best 12 overall nods, it’s going to win—everything, or just about.

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LES MISÉRABLES

Anne Hathaway is as powerful as you’ve heard. Russell Crowe is better than you’ve read. The musical is as emotional as thosesobbing Long Island parents have led you to believe. And now it works as a debate-starter, too: Director Tom Hooper, robbed or not?

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

If you want to concoct a scenario whereLincoln does not win Best Picture, then you start with this comedy-drama that picked up eight nominations, including nods for Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

THE MASTER

Its Best Picture momentum lost months ago, the Paul Thomas Anderson film only got three nominations, but it got a loud three: Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix; Best Supporting Actor for Philip Seymour Hoffman and Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams.

“PAPERMAN”

The kids will want to see Wreck-It Ralph to see Wreck-It Ralph. The Oscar buffs who take the kids will want to see Wreck-It Ralphto see the accompanying animated short that could win the Oscar.

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ANNA KARENINA

Your assignment is to watch, and then answer the following questions: (1) Where did things go wrong for a film once considered one of the ones to beat? (2) Should you bet the office-pool tiebreaker on it salvaging wins in Costume Design, Cinematography, Original Score and Production Design?

Django-Unchained

DJANGO UNCHAINED

Impressively, it was nominated for Best Picture, Original Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino) and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) and two other awards. Perhaps unbelievably, it wasn’t nominated for Best Director or Best Dastardly Leonardo DiCaprio Performance.

ZERO DARK THIRTY

The Hurt Locker was a lighthearted romp compared to Kathryn Bigelow‘s latest. But the Best Picture contender is the debate-starter of this Oscar season, and cannot be ignored—even if the snubbed Bigelow was.

FLIGHT

This movie isn’t just the Denzel Washingtonshow; it also picked up a key nod for Original Screenplay.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

The Peter Jackson epic may loom large in the technical categories, where it’s nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design and Visual Effects.

THE IMPOSSIBLE

Reese Witherspoon loves, loves, lovesNaomi Watts. And if Witherspoon is as successful a lobbyist as she is a movie star, then it’s Watts who may be your next Best Actress winner.

Brave-2012

BRAVE

Can Pixar take the Animated Feature Oscar—again? The oddsmakers think so. The question for you to decide: Does it deserve to?

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SKYFALL

Netting only two fewer nominations than Argo, for a total of five, the latest James Bond was the only action film to make a significant showing.

LOOPER

The time-travel flick, which rated a screenplay nod from the Writers Guild, was shut out entirely by the Academy. Deserved? Or dissed?

HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE

The best reason to catch this Documentary Feature nominee, about how activists pushed and prodded the federal government to develop AIDS-treatment drugs, is that it’s an amazing, if tragic document of the 1980s and early 1990s. The best reason to not miss it is that it’s already available on Netflix streaming.

THE SESSIONS

You’ll buy a ticket for the nudity Helen Hunt‘s Best Supporting Actress turn; you’ll stay for the after-debate on whether John Hawkes got jobbed out of a Best Actor nomination.

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LIFE OF PI

With 11 nominations, including ones for Best Picture and Best Director (Ang Lee), the 3-D epic is second only to Lincoln, and could well dominate the technical categories.

ARGO

Why the outrage over Ben Affleck‘s exclusion from Best Director? Time to find out. As an added bonus, you’ll be checking one of the top overall nominees, up for seven awards, including Best Picture.

AMOUR

A two-fer: It’s a Best Picture nominee, it’s a Foreign Language Film nominee. Up for five total awards, including Best Director and Original Screenplay (both for Michael Haneke), it’s also a potential history-maker: At 85, Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest Best Actress hopeful ever.

RUST AND BONE

Marion Cotillard didn’t pull out a Best Actress nomination—discuss.

– E! Online

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