It’s Oscar time — the winners will be announced Feb. 27 — and, as much as I rail against the Academy’s annual choices of the best films and performances of the year (because, you know, they screw it up so often), I have to confess that I still love the whole overblown, deeply flawed, mostly ridiculous spectacle. Which means, now that the nominations have been announced, I’m playing catch-up; no one wants to be the guy at the Oscar party whose abashed mantra all night is, “I haven’t seen that one.” Seriously, it’s embarrassing.

But, as ever, the Portland film scene is an energetic, creative place, and there are multiple ways to make sure you finish at the top of your Oscar pool.

First, a surprising number of the major nominees are already available on DVD (and, in keeping with the whole indie vibe here, let’s rent them from local, independent video stores, huh?).

Second, Portland’s own Nickelodeon is bringing in as many Oscar nominees as possible in the weeks leading up to the big night. (Check to confirm showtimes.)

And third, Space Gallery ( is bringing in back-to-back programs of this year’s Oscar-nominated short films, with the animation shorts playing on Feb. 24 and the live action shorts on Feb. 25. There’s no better way to knock the socks off that special someone at your Oscar party than to bust out a discussion about whether “Let’s Pollute” or “The Gruffalo” deserves the animation Oscar this year.

To make you as Oscar-savvy as possible, here’s a guide to catching as much Oscar bait as possible before the big night: 

“Black Swan” — Best Picture, Actress, Director, two others (at the Nick).

“Inception” — Best Picture, seven others (on DVD).

“The Kids Are All Right” — Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, one more (on DVD).

“The King’s Speech” — Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress and Actor, seven more (at the Nick).

“The Social Network” — Best Picture, Actor, Director, three more (on DVD).

“Toy Story 3” — Best Picture, Animated Picture, three more (on DVD).

“True Grit” — Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, six more (at the Nick).

“Winter’s Bone” — Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, one more (on DVD).

“Biutiful” — Best Actor, Foreign Film (at the Nick).

“Rabbit Hole” — Best Actress (at the Nick).

“Blue Valentine” — Best Actress (at the Nick).

“The Town” — Best Supporting Actor (on DVD).

“Animal Kingdom” — Best Supporting Actress (on DVD).

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” — Best Documentary (on DVD).

“GasLand” — Best Documentary (on DVD).

“Restrepo” — Best Documentary (on DVD).

“Waste Land” — Best Documentary (see “Coming to Local Screens” above).

“Dogtooth” — Best Foreign Film (on DVD).

“The Illusionist” — Best Animated Film (at the Nick).

“How to Train Your Dragon” — Best Animated Film (on DVD). 

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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