Winners in my Book: Must-See Oscar-Nominated Movies

Feb. 26, 2010, 12:12 a.m.

For whatever reason, perhaps because of the spirit of the Oscar season, I always end up watching a ton of movies around this time of the year. With the Oscars just a little more than a week away (March 7), it’s time for me to catch up on all of the critically acclaimed movies I failed to see in theaters. So, if you’re anything like me, and in need of a little movie break, I suggest you watch these must-see Oscar-nominated flicks.

Winners in my Book: Must-See Oscar-Nominated MoviesAvatar

Believe it or not, I have encountered several people who have still yet to see this record-shattering film. For example, my roommate refuses to see it simply based on principle. Even if you hate to be part of the mainstream, commercial world, this movie is undeniably incredible. I went to see it with a lot of skepticism, thinking that it was over-hyped, but left the theater amazed. I found the story and idea behind the film itself really interesting and entertaining. However, the plot is clearly not the attraction. James Cameron’s vision of the world located on planet Pandora is remarkable. “Avatar” showcases multiple revolutionary visual effects, such as 3D technology, which make the scenery and characters vivid and realistic. There was one particular part where the main character looks over the edge of a very high branch, down through the foliage of the jungle, and I felt my body tensing up as if I were afraid to fall. It’s no surprise that the film is nominated for Best Picture.

Winners in my Book: Must-See Oscar-Nominated MoviesA Serious Man

This Best Picture nominee, another Coen Brothers masterpiece, depicts the life of an ordinary Jewish man, Larry, as he experiences one problem after another. As his world seems to be falling apart, Larry begins to question God’s intentions and inquires into what he has done to deserve such an unpleasant life. Like many other films by the Coen Brothers, this one is strong in its subtle, dry wit. This sense of humor is a style that I really enjoy. Everyday incidents that would not usually be funny are conveyed in such a way that makes them comical and enjoyable. Every time I watch a Coen Brothers film–and this one is no exception–I laugh the entire time. However, once it ends, I’m left ruminating over the message. The events in the plot are simple and easy to follow, but the bigger picture, or point, is a little more obscure. I think this system really works; this movie is both entertaining and meaningful, leaving me both amused and confused, in a good way.

Winners in my Book: Must-See Oscar-Nominated Movies

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Based on the children’s novel by Roald Dahl (author of classics like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda”), this movie is nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. Directed by Wes Anderson and voiced by an amazing cast, including George Clooney, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman, this film was destined to be great. The plot revolves around the blundering main character, Mr. Fox, and the community of animals that live nearby. Wes Anderson has a truly distinct style, with explicitly expressed emotions, a likeable antihero and shrewd humor. The movie is really funny and had me laughing out loud several times. Jason Schwartzman’s character, Ash, steals the show. Rejecting the computer-animation that reigns supreme today, this film refreshingly employs stop-motion animation to bring the animal characters to life. This effect is very creative and truly innovative, making the movie appear as both a story and a work of art. Pixar has dominated this Oscar category in the past, but it better watch out because this film is truly a contender.

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