by Grant Stoner
(Originally written for www.dotcomsformoms.com)
The film awards season is in full swing, and the big daddy of them all, The Academy Awards, announced their nominations yesterday in Los Angeles. For the complete list of nominees, sans commentary, you can find it here on IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database). There are probably several you’ve heard of or seen, but probably some you haven’t. Here, you can also cross reference actors, writers or directors to find out what other films or TV shows the nominees have done. Hey, that actually was Oscar Nominee James Franco in General Hospital over the summer! If you like a bit more juice in your reporting, Huffington Post is rife with opinions and hindsight on who deserved the nominations and who got snubbed. Over the next several weeks, news outlets, blogs and Facebook pundits will all be prognosticating and arguing over who will take home the coveted golden statue on Oscar night. You can join the fun too, or at least have an opinion by seeing the films, and in some cases, reading the books many of the top films were adapted from.
Where to see ‘em in theaters
With so many categories and so many nominees, we’ll just stick to the big ones here, Best Picture and Best Documentary Feature. If you’re one of those who like to read reviews before deciding what to see, Rotten Tomatoes is a terrific site, offering a mix of reviews from critics and everyday fans. The reviews generate a rating percentage based on positive reviews. 65% positive and higher is considered “Fresh” and blow that is “Rotten.” They have all the nominated films and their ratings here.
Many of the top films are still in theaters, and a few of them are getting re-released after receiving nominations. These include Black Swan, The Kings Speech, True Grit and The Fighter, with 127 Hours, The Social Network and Winter’s Bone all getting re-releases (Winter’s Bone and The Social Network are also available on DVD). You can hop on to Moviefone.com to watch clips and trailers, check for showtimes and buy tickets in your local area.
Where to find ‘em on DVD and Online
Along with the DVD releases above, Inception, Toy Story 3 and The Kids are All Right can all be purchased at Amazon.com, with many available to watch directly on your computer for a limited time with Amazon On Demand either via rental, or free with purchase of the DVD. They can also be added to your Netflix queue or purchased and downloaded on iTunes.
Controversial political commentaries and environmental cautionary tales, along with the occasional bio, usually populate the documentary category. This year is no different, with the Afghan war chronicle, Restrepo, natural gas exposè Gasland, the Brazilian garbage dump journey Waste Land, a look behind the financial collapse with Inside Job, and the story of a self-made street artist Exit Through the Gift Shop. You can currently watch both Restrepo and Exit Through the Gift Shop on DVD as well as through Netflix.com’s watch instantly on your computer feature and Hulu.com. Gasland can be purchased at Amazon.com right now, and will be re-airing on HBO Signature on February 2nd, and HBO On-Demand until February 20th. Unfortunately Inside Job and Waste Land won’t be released on DVD until March, but if you live in a major metropolitan area, keep checking the websites to find out about screenings near you.
Where to read ‘em and learn more
Many of this year’s nominees started their lives on the written page, either as novels, or in the case of Restrepo, Sebastian Junger’s Vanity Fair article on Afghanistan’s deadly Korengal Valley, “Into the Valley of Death.”
- True Grit – A novel by Charles Portis
- Winter’s Bone: A Novel – written by Daniel Woodrell
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place (127 Hours)– written by Aron Ralston
- The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook (The Social Network) – written by Ben Mezrich
- The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy – written by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi
Finally, if you see The Fighter, which follows the true story of boxer Micky Ward and his brother Dickie Eklund, who is a former boxer-turned crack addict, you can catch many of their real fights dramatized in the movie on Youtube. Along with that, in the film, Dickie is being followed around by an HBO film crew producing a documentary on crack in America. You can watch that original, 1995 full-length doc here at SnagFilms.
Enjoy the films and tune in to the Oscars, February 27th on ABC!