Awards movie checklist 10 ﬁlms to watch and where to ﬁnd them By James A. Molnar, The Gold Knight Early awards are being doled out and nominations announced. Critics’ circles have named their best ﬁlms of the year, Top 10 lists and other kudos. The Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations were announced. It’s the perfect time to gather with family and friends and watch some of the best movies of the year that could win Oscar gold. To that end, here is an alphabetized checklist of possible Best Picture nominees for the Academy Awards and where to ﬁnd them: Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011. Expect most of these ﬁlms to be recognized. O Toledo Free Press Star Lead Designer James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at thegoldknight.blogspot.com. His column will appear online and in print periodically. *All information regarding movie theater listings were accurate as of press time. + Movie not yet reviewed. 1. “127 Hours” From Danny Boyle, the Academy Award-winning director of “Slumdog Millionaire,” the gut- wrenching thriller follows the true-life adventure of Aron Ralston (James Franco). The mountain climber’s arm was trapped by a boulder for more than ﬁve days before he cut himself loose. (The Gold Knight’s rating: 5/5 stars) Where to ﬁnd: In limited release, the closest viewing is at the State Theater in Ann Arbor.* 5. “The Kids Are All Right” Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as a lesbian couple whose two teenagers — conceived via artiﬁcial insemination — seek out their biological father (Mark Ruffalo). Adding the new dynamic to the family creates tension and change and a story worth seeing. (No rating + ) Where to ﬁnd: On DVD, Blu-ray and Netﬂix. 9. “True Grit” The latest ﬁlm from Joel and Ethan Coen — Academy Award-winning directors of “No Country for Old Men” — ﬁnds a U.S. marshal with “true grit” (Jeff Bridges) and another lawman (Matt Damon) helping a young girl track her father’s killer into hostile Indian territory. The Western-style movie is an adaptation of Charles Portis’ original novel. (No rating + ) Where to ﬁnd: Rave Franklin Park, Levis Commons and Fallen Timbers.* 4. “Inception” Christopher Nolan’s meticulously-designed world is stunning at ﬁrst glance and provocative on further viewings. The director of “The Dark Knight” creates a world where a highly skilled thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) can enter the human mind via dreams and steal secrets. His next task is the impossible — “inception.” (5/5 stars) Where to ﬁnd: On DVD and Blu-ray. On Netﬂix Jan. 4. 8. “Toy Story 3” Ohio native Lee Unkrich directs the third installment following the iconic talking toys. Their owner Andy is leaving for college and his toys go on an almost existential journey which introduces them to the illustrious pink, strawberry-scented Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty). The Pixar ﬁlm packs a punch right to the emotional core. (5/5 stars) Where to ﬁnd: On DVD, Blu-ray and Netﬂix. 2. “Black Swan” Natalie Portman stars in the psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”) and set in the world of New York City ballet. Portman plays a featured dancer with a new rival (Mila Kunis) at the company. (No rating + ) Where to ﬁnd: Rave Franklin Park and Levis Commons.* 6. “The King’s Speech” The much-talked-about British royalty drama chronicles George VI (Colin Firth), who struggles to overcome a severe stutter as he claims the throne. A speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) helps the new king ﬁnd his voice to rally his nation for war. (No rating + ) Where to ﬁnd: Rave Levis Commons beginning Dec. 25.* 10. “Winter’s Bone” Seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) sets out to ﬁnd her drug- dealing father, who put her family’s house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. She meanders through tricky social terrain in the Ozark Mountains. She cannot fail. Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell. (4/5 stars) Where to ﬁnd: On DVD, Blu-ray and Netﬂix. 3. “The Fighter” The biographical ﬁlm follows former boxing hero Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), who trains his half-brother, a journeyman boxer, “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg). Against all odds, they will reunite their family and make their town proud. (No rating + ) Where to ﬁnd: Rave Franklin Park, Levis Commons and Fallen Timbers; Phoenix Theatres, Monroe; and Cinemark Woodland, Bowling Green.* 7. “The Social Network” The movie, about Facebook and its creation by Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), is jam-packed with impeccable, smart dialogue thanks to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. It is hard to watch passively and is an atypical moviegoing experience. (5/5 stars) Where to ﬁnd: The closest viewing is at Uptown Theaters, Birmingham, Mich.* On DVD and Blu-ray Jan. 11. CUT OUT!