Oscar Cheat Sheet: What You Need to Know About All the Best Picture Movies You Didn't See

By John Boone
|  Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014  |  Updated 4:25 PM CDT
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    Gone are the days when you had just five Best Picture contenders to watch before Oscars night. This year, the Academy nominated nine (9!) movies and half of them are like, three hours long. Who has time for that?!

    Seeing as the awards are this Sunday, we're guessing if you haven't seen them yet, you're not going to. But don't let that ruin your Oscar party: Here's a cheat sheet with some helpful talking points to fake your way through this year's Best Picture race.

    "American Hustle"

    What It's About: Bradley Cooper with a perm, fat Christian Bale and Amy Adams' boobs scam someone out of money. We think? We saw the movie and we're still not exactly sure what happened.

    That Scene: Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence kiss. You don't really need any more context, because there really isn't any. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence kiss because because.

    Oscar Chances: It will win Costume Design. Lawrence is a front-runner for Support Actress.

    Did You Like It: It might be controversial, but no. You did not like it.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "I don't know, the acting was good, but the movie was boring. And I really liked Silver Linings Playbook."

    - Alternately: "I don't know, everyone felt like they were acting. None of the performances felt natural, ya know? No one could actually believe that Jennifer Lawrence was that kid's mom."

    - "Is it wrong that I still found Bradley Cooper hot with a perm?"

    - "Is it wrong that I still found Christian Bale hot with a gut?"

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    "Captain Phillips"

    What It's About: Tom Hanks is just your average cargo ship captain and Barkhard Abdi is just your average pirate. The two meet and hijinks ensue. Hijinks like kidnapping and robbery and violence!

    That Scene: The last five minutes are Tom Hanks best acting ever. Nay, the last five minutes might be the best acting by anyone, ever.

    Oscar Chances: None. But not for lack of trying.

    Did You Like It: Yes. Who doesn't love a good underdog story? Especially if the underdog is Tom Hanks.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "Did you know this was Barkhard Abdi--the guy who places the pirate--this was his first movie! Ever! I know, can you believe it? He was a limo driver before this. That's crazy."

    - "I liked the movie, but I heard it's nothing like what happened in real life. I heard people hated the real Captain Phillips. But no one could hate Tom Hanks, so..."

    - "I love Tom Hanks."

    "Dallas Buyers Club"

    What It's About: Matthew McConaughey plays a homophobic rodeo worker who discovers he has HIV. He befriends a trans woman (Jared Leto) and they sell non-FDA approved medicine to other people with HIV. In the process, Matthew McConaughey becomes a less horrible person.

    That Scene: Any scene with Jared Leto.

    Oscar Chances: Best Supporting Actor. Best Actor. Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

    Did You Like It: Yes, Jared Leto is insanely good. But you liked the whole movie too.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "Jared Leto was SO GOOD."

    "Gravity"

    What It's About: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in space. It's kind of like that scene from "Wall-E" with the fire extinguisher, only scarier. Oh yeah, and George Clooney really isn't even in the movie that much.

    That Scene: There's this whole part in the middle where Sandy barks like a dog, then dies...but doesn't die she's just hallucinating a conversation with George Clooney who (SPOILER ALERT) is actually dead.

    Oscar Chances: Best Director, definitely. Best Sound Editing, definitely. Best Cinematography, probably. Best Visual Effects, probably. Best Picture, maybe? It seems very likely at this point.

    Did You Like It: Yes, but you have to see it in theaters.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "You didn't like it? But did you see it in theaters? In 3D? Well you have to see it in theaters in 3D."

    - "Yeah, but I heard it wasn't that accurate. If she were a real astronaut, she would have been wearing an adult diaper."

    - "I love Sandra Bullock."

    "Her"

    What It's About: Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with Siri (Scarlett Johannson's voice).

    That Scene: Joaquin Phoenix has phone sex with Siri (Scarlett Johannson's voice).

    Oscar Chances: Best Original Screenplay.

    Did You Like It: Yes, you thought it was absolutely delightful and you think people need to see it if they haven't.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "Joaquin Phoenix was robbed for Best Actor! I don't usually like Joaquin Phoenix in movies, but he was so good in this. He should have got nominated instead of Leonardo DiCaprio. All Leo did in "Wolf of Wall Street" is yell."

    - "Scarlett Johansson was robbed! There really should be an Oscar category for voice work."

    - "I wish Siri worked like that. Siri sucks."

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    "Nebraska"

    What It's About: It's a road trip movie, about a senile old man who thinks he won a million dollars! Starring MacGruber from "SNL" (Will Forte) and an old man (Bruce Dern)! And it's in black and white!

    That Scene: June Squibb flashes a tombstone. (It was her ex-boyfriend's.)

    Oscar Chances: Virtually none. But it was an honor just to be nominated?

    Did You Like It: Surprisingly, yes.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "I have to say, I was surprised by how much I liked that movie."

    - "Did you know that was Buzz from "Home Alone"? He was the fat cousin!"

    "Philomena"

    What It's About: Young Judi Dench gets pregnant while living at a Catholic Church and has to give the baby away. Nowadays Judi Dench gets a journalist (Steve Coogan) to help her track the baby down. And there's a whole odd-couple thing going on.

    That Scene: SPOILER ALERT! Judi Dench finds out her son is dead. Sad!

    Oscar Chances: None. Well, probably none. It's a Harvey Weinstein movie, so who knows. He could pull something out of his hat. So maybe, Best Score?

    Did You Like It: No, you did not like it, but you though Judi Dench was adorable in it anyway.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "I never thought I would hear Judi Dench say 'clitoris.' But here we are!"

    "12 Years a Slave"

    What It's About: Chiwetel Ejiofor is kidnapped and sold into slavery (for 12 years). Michael Fassbender is evil, Sarah Paulson is more evil and Lupita Nyong'o is caught in the middle. The whole thing is brutal, raw and emotionally exhausting. And then Brad Pitt comes and saves the day.

    That Scene: The whipping scene. Ugh. So hard to watch.

    Oscar Chances: Lupita will take Best Supporting Actress over Lawrence. Best Picture.

    Did You Like It: Of course you did! That said, it was so sad.

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "I cried so much."

    "The Wolf of Wall Street"

    What It's About: Leonardo DiCaprio plays a nightmare person named Jordan Belfort who does so many drugs and has so much sex (all the sex) and makes a lot of money doing illegal and/or morally questionable things pertaining to the stock exchange. And don't forget: Jordan Belfort is a real person.

    That Scene: Take your pick: Leo does cocaine out of a prostitute's butt within the first 10 minutes of the movie. There is an airplane orgy. Leo takes Quaaludes and gets super out of it.

    Oscar Chances: Not Best Actor (sorry Leonardo DiCaprio). Adapted Screenplay is its best bet.

    Did You Like It: Sure, but...like...what did you just watch??

    Additional Talking Points:

    - "If DiCaprio ever had a chance at winning Best Actor, this is it. One word: Quaaludes."

    - "It was entertaining, but I found the misogyny of the film problematic. Margot Robbie is such a talented actress, did she really have to be basically naked in every scene? Did every woman in the movie have to be naked in every scene? Not to mention, it doesn't pass the Bechdel Test."

    - "WTF?"

     

    PHOTOS: Check out which stars have been hitting Oscar parties this year!

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