Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning, and the nods for Best Picture, a category revised to expand and contract according to the number of deserving nominees, shrunk from 10 to nine films (You can see the full list of Oscar nominees in all categories here).
It’s not that big of a difference, but as Jen Chaney says, all of the contenders are worthy of the honors, and there would be room in the field for even more films equally deserving of the prize. This year’s nominees, with the exception of “The Help,” weren’t big box-office contenders — but there’s still time to see many of them in theaters. Check out the Going Out Guide’s list of Oscar nominees playing in local theaters, and check out the trailers below — either our 60-second supercut, or the full-length clips — to see which ones pique your interest. Then, vote for the film you think will win in our Oscar poll.
“War Horse” : The film earned three stars from our critic, Ann Hornaday. She wrote: “As much an homage to cinema at its most old-school theatrical as it is a meditation on the absurdity of war, Spielberg's lush epic spares nothing by way of action, melodrama, historical sweep or unapologetic schmaltz.”
“The Artist” : Four stars from Hornaday. She calls it “A delectable homage to the silent movies of the 1920s, Michel Hazanavicius's romantic comedy plays like a sweet, airy confection, satisfying the audience's sweet tooth with gentle wit, a lavish production and winning performances.”
“Midnight in Paris” : Hornaday also awarded this film three stars. “Midnight in Paris” finds Allen in a larky, slightly tart and altogether bountiful mood, giving filmgoers a movie that, while unabashedly funny and playful, provides a profiterole or two for thought,” she wrote.
“Moneyball” was another four-star pick from Hornaday. “Like a cold beer under a bluebird sky; like a flawless line drive on a warm summer's day; like a long, languorous seventh-inning stretch — "Moneyball" satisfies,” she wrote.
“The Descendants” also earned four stars from Hornaday. She called the film “a tough, tender, observant, exquisitely nuanced portrait of mixed emotions at their most confounding and profound.”
“The Tree of Life” : Hornaday gave this film three-and-a-half stars. “ ‘The Tree of Life’ is both good and bad, great and fatally flawed, transporting and disappointingly literal. The sprawling story of a man’s quest to reconcile a contradictory parental legacy, ‘The Tree of Life’ ties that search to more metaphysical questions having to do with God, Creation, Truth and Beauty.”
“The Help” : The film about Southern servants only won two stars from Hornaday, who wrote, “Surely both taste and perspective will inform whether viewers will find ‘The Help’ a revelatory celebration of interracial healing and transcendence, or a patronizing portrait that trivializes those alliances by reducing them to melodrama and facile uplift.”
“Hugo” : Earning three stars from Hornaday, she wrote, “With the director so clearly in his element and so affectionately in control, ‘Hugo’ ends as a triumph, bursting with the poetry, verve and irrepressible love befitting a match made in movie heaven.”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” : Earning only one star from Hornaday, this is the critic’s lowest-rated Best Picture nominee. “There's a fine line between precocious and insufferable, and it's a line continually crossed by ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,’ ” she wrote.