If You Can Only See One Oscar-Nominated Movie ...

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...then you probably shouldn't read this. With ten best picture nods this year, a full roster of five animated features, all the nominations in the other categories (and only a week left of movie-watching before Oscar night), it's nearly impossible for film contributor Rafer Guzman and I to pick just one Oscar-nominated movie for you to see. But we can each give you three (as well as three to skip).

Rafer's three Oscar nods to see:

  • Avatar - with a ton of nominations and lots of water cooler conversations centering on it, you'd be remiss to miss it.
  • Hurt Locker - it also has many nominations and is a much better movie than Avatar.
  • An Education - the best coming of age movie since The Graduate.

And Rafer's Oscar nods you can skip:

  • The Blind Side - it's mediocre and Sandra Bullock brings nothing special to the role.
  • Precious - there are good performances by some unexpected actors, but it's a somewhat typical urban message movie.
  • Up - everyone loves Up for those five magical minutes at the beginning, but the rest of the film is quite average.

As for me, my three Oscar nod picks are:

  • Up in the Air - it manages to be funny, smart, and heartbreaking all at the same time.
  • Up - yes, it's really about those first few minutes, but that's fine; they're probably the best few minutes you'll see on film this year.
  • An Education - the end is a bit too tidy for my taste, but the other 95% is quite nuanced and the acting is great.

And the Oscar nods I think you're fine skipping:

  • Avatar - probably the most over-rated movie in all of human history.
  • The Blind Side - the few minutes I've seen of it made me wish I was watching a Lifetime movie instead.
  • Fantastic Mister Fox - very cute animation, but slow-paced, and not enough to sustain a feature.