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The Academy Award nominations are out, so if you plan to complain about what wins, you have until Feb. 24 to see the films in contention.
In a lot of cases, that means heading to theaters. Four of the best-picture nominees did not premiere until December, three others in November -- and even those were often limited releases. Zero Dark Thirty just arrived in most markets, and Amour is opening sporadically. (The other picture nominees are Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook.)
Still, you can find some films on DVD and Blu-ray now and in the weeks ahead. One major nominee, Beasts of the Southern Wild (best picture, director, adapted screenplay, and lead actress, Quvenzhane Wallis) is available now (Fox, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray); the engrossing Beasts was a bit of an Oscar surprise, and Wallis, 9, is the youngest lead-actress nominee ever.
Argo (picture, adapted screenplay, Alan Arkin as supporting actor and four other nominations) will be available Feb. 19 (Warner, $28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo); if you want to play a was-he-robbed? Oscars game, this is a possibility since director and star Ben Affleck did not get an expected directing nomination.
In the acting categories, besides the nominees already mentioned, you can be in the comfort of your own home for Flight (Denzel Washington, best actor) beginning Feb. 5 (Paramount, $29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo) and find Helen Hunt's best-actress-nominated turn in The Sessions on Feb. 12 (Fox, $22.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray). The Sessions may also give you more material for a was-he-robbed? game, since some lists of Oscar snubs included that film's male lead John Hawkes.
Then there's The Master, which did not get a nomination for director Paul Thomas Anderson but scored three acting nods: best actor (Joaquin Phoenix), supporting actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and supporting actress (Amy Adams); it will be on DVD (Weinstein, $29.98) and Blu-ray ($39.99) on Feb. 26. I know, after the Oscars. But it is in only a dozen theaters nationwide at the moment, so you may have to wait for the video to see it at all.
You will be better off if your Oscar leanings are based on what your children like. Four of the animated-feature nominees are out (Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, and The Pirates! Band of Misfits) while the fifth, Wreck-It Ralph, arrives March 5. All four of the available titles are offered in different packages including just the DVD, a DVD/Blu-ray combo or a combo with the 3-D version added; prices range from about $30 for the standard DVD to $45-$50 for the combo with the 3-D Blu-ray.
Among documentary nominees, The Invisible War, Kirby Dick's agonizing look at rape in the military (New Video, $29.95), and 5 Broken Cameras, following a Palestinian man and his village's struggles (Kino, $29.95), are on DVD. Music saga Searching for Sugar Man comes to DVD (Sony, $30.99) and Blu-ray ($35.99) on Tuesday, and AIDS chronicle How to Survive a Plague on Feb. 26 (MPI, $24.98 DVD). Plague is already on Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.
As for new releases, nostalgia fans will want to note Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series (Classic Media, 23 episodes, $32.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo), the 1971-73 Saturday-morning show. ABC had some success before this with a Beatles cartoon series, but that had used voice actors for the Fab Four's dialogue; Jackson 5ive boasted the real voices of Michael, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, and Jackie. And two songs per episode. It's strictly kid stuff in the storytelling, but the musical numbers -- two per episode -- occasionally have some spacey visual charm. But no extras.
Down video road
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1, the next-to-last movie in the series, will add eight minutes for its DVD and Blu-ray "extended edition" release on March 2; it was previously released in its theatrical version. The Imposter, a documentary that was on the 15-title short list of Oscar candidates but did not end up with a nomination, will be on DVD on Tuesday. The Bay, an eco-horror movie from director Barry Levinson, will be on DVD on March 5.