The Contenders Collection

A look at 10 titles vying for Academy Awards

Babel

Paramount

Feb. 20 on DVD,

HD DVD, Blu-ray

Already a Golden Globe winner for dramatic feature, “Babel” arrives on DVD just in time for the Academy Awards, where it’s up for seven trophies. However, fans of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s global drama will have to make do with the pic itself; the initial release comes only with a trailer and previews.

Borat

Fox

March 6 on DVD

Oscar producers are no doubt rooting for pic star Sacha Baron Cohen to win adapted screenplay honors, given the comedian’s droll acceptance at the Golden Globes. Lawsuits attempting to bar the mockumentary’s DVD release have been spurned, paving the way for its debut next month. The disc release promises outrageous outtakes, including a Kazakh “Baywatch” spoof.

The Departed

Warners

Tuesday on DVD, Blu-ray, HD DVD

Martin Scorsese’s latest gangster shoot-out earned him his first DGA trophy and wracked up five Oscar noms, including picture and director. The two-disc DVD comes with plenty of extras. Among the riches: two intriguing featurettes, one on Little Italy’s influence on Scorsese’s work, and the other on the Boston mobster who inspired Jack Nicholson’s character.

The Devil Wears Prada

Fox

Available on DVD, Blu-ray

Meryl Streep garnered her record-breaking 14th Oscar nom for her larger-than-life role in this summer hit, which is also Academy-recognized for costume design.

Extras outline the lit adaptation’s bigscreen makeover and oft playful approach to high fashion; a gag reel and featurette on bosses from hell add to the frothy fun.

Half Nelson

Sony

Tuesday on DVD

Ryan Gosling received his first Oscar nod as a talented but drug-addicted history teacher. In their commentary, writer-director Ryan Fleck and co-scribe Anna Boden explain their struggle to make the pic, first filmed as a short. They also explain why they pushed to have characters say as much as possible with gestures rather than words.

An Inconvenient Truth

Paramount

Available on DVD

Up for docu and song honors, the DVD version was released last November in recycled packaging. The disc contains a chilling update, as well as the half-hour featurette “An Update With Al Gore,” which explores such cheery topics as “Ocean Acidification” and “Glacial Earthquakes.” Also included is an 11-minute featurette on the building of the set.

Little Children

New Line

April 24 on DVD

Todd Field’s pic about ennui and adultery in suburbia netted three Oscar noms: best actress for Kate Winslet, supporting actor for Jackie Earle Haley and adaptation. Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, the intimate drama, which also stars Jennifer Connelly and Patrick Wilson, will bow on disc two months after the Academy Awards. No extras are slated.

Little Miss Sunshine

Fox

Available on DVD

Fox’s little indie that could, already a strong seller on disc, got another boost when it nabbed four Oscar noms and a key SAG award: Sales immediately doubled. The DVD version features a warm commentary by co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and scribe Michael Arndt, plus four alternate endings that mostly show how right the final denouement was.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Sony

March 27 on DVD and Blu-ray

Acad voters warmed up to Will Smith’s empathetic turn as a father struggling to provide for his son. The DVD arrives a month after the Oscar ceremony, with a feature on Smith and his son Jaden, who made his screen debut in the pic, as well as one on Chris Gardner, whose life is chronicled in the film. Helmer Gabriele Muccino supplies commentary.

United 93

Universal

Available on DVD

Oscar-nominated for directing and editing, the DVD version includes helmer commentary from Paul Greengrass, in which he describes his stringent insistence on accuracy in the portrayal of the 9/11 hijackings. The disc also contains a heart-wrenching featurette on the families left behind and footage of the pic’s emotional premiere.

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