Oscar Voters do your Homework

Attention, awards voters: You have two assignments this weekend. First, set back your clocks one hour Saturday night. Second, see at least two movies. Don’t leave your homework until the last minute!

Most studios send out a glut of screeners before Thanksgiving so voters can have marathon viewing sessions during that four-day weekend. The screeners continue through December and early January to encourage end-of-the-year holiday viewing.

But there are so many contenders this year, voters need to start now. Oscar nomination voting runs Dec. 27-Jan. 8, and many guilds and voting groups have even earlier deadlines. So a year-end orgy of filmgoing will be tough.

As of today, only a few films are available on Netflix, and even fewer are available on screeners. But there are plenty of opportunities to see 2013 films in theaters or at home (via iTunes, video on demand or DVD). Here are some suggestions.

Now in theaters: “12 Years a Slave,” “All Is Lost,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Enough Said,” “Gravity,” “Prisoners,” “Rush.”

Also, in more limited runs but worth seeing: “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Kill Your Darlings,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Short Term 12,” “Wadjda.”

Available on iTunes/VOD: “42,” “Before Midnight,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Mud,” “Parkland,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” plus many excellent animated features and documentaries (which are eligible in most other categories as well, including sound, music, editing and so on).

Also worth considering on VOD/iTunes: “As I Lay Dying,” “The Conjuring,” “The Heat,” “Renoir,” “Side Effects,” “Spring Breakers,” “The Way Way Back,” “World War Z.”

Does the list seem overwhelming? Oh, calm down and take it one day at a time. Watch two this weekend. Watch one more during the week. Rinse and repeat. After three weeks, you will have a big jump on the Thanksgiving feast. It’s good to get a head start on your homework but, more important, you’ll be rewarded by seeing a lot of great work.

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