>You've been there: you sit down to watch the Oscars in February and realize you've only seen two of the nominated movies. Suddenly the prospect of sitting through three and a half hours of stale jokes (even if they are delivered by actors as talented and good-looking as Anne Hathaway and James Franco) seems even less appealing. The Academy made "Oscar literacy" even harder last year when it expanded the pool of Best Picture nominees from five to 10, making the chances you've watched all the top films lower than they were already.
Fortunately, there are still 13 full weeks left before the February 27th telecast. And though the nominees aren't announced until January 25th, we have a pretty good sense of which films will get honored this year. So, to help you prepare for the big day, we've broken down the 13 films that will be in theaters between now and the Oscars ceremony with the best shots at landing major nominations.
In addition, six more strong contenders are either already on DVD or will be released on DVD sometime in December: The Social Network, Inception, Toy Story 3, The Kids Are All Right, Winter's Bone, and The Town. These films also boast several of the year's best bets at acting nominations. For Best Actress, Kids' Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are heavy favorites for playing lesbian mothers dealing with a rough patch in their relationship—as is Winter's Bone's Jennifer Lawerence, unflinching as a girl trekking through the Ozarks to hunt down her drug-dealer father.
The men of The Social Network—Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer—are being heavily campaigned, and Leonardo DiCaprio is looking for his first win for Inception.
The way we figure it, a regimen of weekly trips to the movie theater mixed with some light home DVD viewing will help you get ready for the awards—and avoid the Oscar night "I haven't seen these movies" panic.