Few television events get me as excited and emotionally invested as the Oscars: the paparazzi, the beautiful people all dressed in their finest, the tearful acceptance speeches, that dramatic pause before opening the envelope… Oh, the theatrics. And this year, I’m perhaps more excited than ever because unlike some years in the past, I’ve actually seen all of the movies nominated for Best Picture. So, if the following movies are the ones you know you probably should have seen before Sunday, but never got around to it, here’s everything you need to know about the Best Picture Nominees, and my predictions:
Best Picture Nominees
The plot: Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a timid yet hard-working ballerina, just trying to be perfect. When she snags the role of Swan Queen in her company’s production of The Swan Lake, fellow ballerina Lily, played by Mila Kunis, seems to be doing everything in her power to steal the part. But is it all in her head?
This was my favorite Best Picture nominee of the year, but probably won’t take home too many awards except Best Actress.
Why you should see it: The acting is perfect, the dancing is great, and if you like scary movies (or especially if you don’t) this one will really creep you out.
The plot: The biological father (Mark Ruffalo) of the children of a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) shows up for a rather awkward but touching family reunion. It won’t win, but maybe the ever-adorable Annette Bening will shock everyone and beat Natalie Portman?
Why you should see it: It’s fun, it’s not your average cheesey family drama, and Moore and Bening are really cute together. Also, it’s pretty cool that a movie about a family with two moms made it to the Oscars.
The plot: Leonadro DiCaprio, a thief of thoughts, leads his dream team into the mind of a millionaire businessman to plant an idea, an unprecedented feat. In the meantime, he reveals pieces of his unconscious and ties to find a way back to his children. Unfortunately this summer blockbuster has been overshadowed by the more recent film debuts, and probably will only take home the less flashy awards, like sound mixing.
Why you should see it: Most people I know saw this at least once when it was in theatres, but if you didn’t happen to see it, prepare to have your mind blown. It’s a brilliant, not to mention super attractive cast and Christopher Nolan’s years of writing made for a truly amazing film.
The plot: A film based on the true story of a crack-addicted one-hit-wonder boxer (played by Christian Bale) trying to get his brother (Mark Wahlberg) back into the boxing scene and win a national title. Probably won’t win, but the Supporting Actors will.
Why you should see it: I almost didn’t see this one because I wasn’t sure if I would really be feeling a movie about boxing, but I’m so glad I did. It’s raw, hilarious at parts, and if you’re somewhat competitive like me you’ll get really into the fight scenes.
The plot: The story of King George VI (played by Colin Firth), who became the King of England just before the start of World War II. With a terrible stutter, making a speech to inspire his country during wartime is no easy task. He attempts to deal with his stutter and family drama with the help of his wife and untraditional speech coach (Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush). It’s probably going to clean up at the Oscars this year.
Why you should see it: It’s a really interesting story at an important point in history. And if nothing else, you should see it just to witness the adorable bromance that develops between Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.
The plot: A new and (arguably) improved version of the John Wayne original, True Grit tells the story of a girl (Hailee Steinfield) seeking to avenge the death of her father with the help of a rough-and-tumble bounty hunter (Jeff Bridges) and a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon). It won’t win Best Picture, but is picked to win for Cinematography.
Why you should see it: Jeff Bridges is great as always, and Joel and Ethan Coen can never do wrong in my book. Not my favorite Best Picture Nom of the year, but it’s an intense, yet funny movie, and even if you don’t think you like Westerns, you’ll probably enjoy it.
The plot: When Andy finally leaves for college, the toys have to find a new home. When they’re sent off to a daycare that turns out to be an awful place led by an evil stuffed bear, the toys will attempt an escape. Has no chance of winning in this category, but will no doubt take home Best Animated Film.
Why you should see it: It’s cute. This is by far the best Toy Story in the series, and it brings the series to a nice end. If you’re the one person out there who still hasn’t seen TS3, be forewarned: you’ll probably cry.
The plot: The movie flashes back and forth: There’s Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as a Harvard undergrad- hacking networks, meeting creator of napster (Justin Timberlake), and creating Facebook with his best friend Eduardo (Andrew Garfield). Then there’s Mark Zuckerberg as the world’s youngest millionaire, defending himself against two multi-million dollar lawsuits. It just might win Best Picture, but it’s a dark horse at this point.
Why you should see it: Because it’s about FACEBOOK, obviously! But it also has some impressive acting (even JT is not too shabby) and is captures all the components of a great story: betrayal, jealousy, greed, and even a little heartbreak. And the best part? It’s true. (Kind of).
The plot: Yep, the one about the guy that cuts his arm off. When hiker Aron Ralston gets his arm stuck under a giant boulder, he doesn’t have too many other options. This is quite the rollercoaster ride of emotion.
Why you should see it: If you like James Franco, you’re in luck: his face takes up about 90 percent of the movie. Even if you don’t, the movie is much more entertaining than it sounds, and the end was probably the most inspirational ten minutes of my life.
Predicted Winner: The Social Network
Though most Oscar predictions tout The King’s Speech as the sure winner, I’m pulling for The Social Network. I remember when I first heard about the film: “It’s a movie about Facebook, and Justin Timberlake is in it.” Sounds great. But The Social Network had the uncanny ability of being about Facebook without being “The Facebook movie.” Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin effortlessly traced the evolution of an algorithm on a dorm room window into a revolutionary social networking phenomenon. And the reason I want it to win: it’s relevant. The King’s Speech is a fantastic movie, but The Social Network is what current American society is all about, and it reveals a lot about the controversial origins of ideas, about the way people do business in today’s world, and about the way we socialize via the Internet. And that’s what I love most about movies- the way they can hold up a window to society and allow you to look in.