For someone who has the dying urge to see every movie after watching its trailer, I tend to approach Oscar season with a sense of guilt. So many wonderful movies slip in and out of theaters before I ever find time to see them.

But unlike last year, when I admittedly failed to catch most of the films I had hoped to see (read my 83rd Academy Awards post here), I’m pleased to announce that I’ve seen quite a few of this year’s nominees.

My critical and celebratory sides will battle after the awards, as we discover who takes home the Oscar. So for now, just a quick recap of the nominated films I’ve seen this year and who I will be rooting for.

This is an exciting year for Best Picture. I proudly note that I’ve seen about half of these nominees, including Midnight in Paris (while in Paris!), The Artist, The Help, War Horse, and Tree of Life. Naturally, I’m leaning toward a film I’ve seen, but I’ve also heard great things about The Descendants, Hugo and Moneyball.

So, who’s my top pick? It’s a tough choice, but I’ll say The Artist for the stand out use of black and white, and its success of being a modern silent film, forcing a higher level of expressive acting from the cast.

I have a few ideas for the other categories based on what I have seen, too. The Descendants for Best Adapted Screenplay, Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris, The Artist’s Jean Dujardin for Best Actor, and either The Tree of Life or War Horse for Cinematography.

A few other films I caught this year that received nods are Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Ides of March, J Edgar, My Week With Marilyn and Harry Potter (nerd alert: I dressed as a Ravenclaw to see the midnight premiere!). Really, it’s a good year all around for films so the Academy will have tough decisions.

On a slightly separate note, my face must surely be recognized at the Athena in Athens and Cedar-Lee Cinemas in Cleveland Heights, two independent theaters. I have been going out of my way to enjoy their selection of amazing, mostly independent movies. Some of my favorites from the past year that have not made the Academy’s list are A Dangerous Method, Shame, Like Crazy, Blue Valentine and All Good Things.

We’ll see how things go in just a few days. Until then, Happy Oscar Season!

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