Ross Banaime, Staff Writer

Ever watched the Oscars and thought, “How could this film be nominated? I’ve never even heard of it”? Every year, categories are filled with nominees most moviegoers have never heard of.
To help get acquainted with these films for the big night, enjoy a description of some of these films, as well as information about where you can find some of them.

One of the strongest categories this year is the Best Short Film (Animated) category. Each of these films can be found online and are playing at local theaters.

The most familiar entry is Wallace and Gromit in ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ in which the duo start their own bakery while dealing with a murderer who is killing bakers.

Also nominated is Logorama, which takes place in a world of nothing but corporate logos and where Ronald McDonald goes on a gun-crazy rampage. Granny O’ Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty features a grandmother telling her granddaughter the famous fairy tale, yet getting sidetracked with her own commentary. French Roast is about a stingy businessman who forgets his wallet at a coffee shop and tries to stall the check.

Finally, The Lady and the Reaper is about an old woman who is on her deathbed and waiting to see her late husband again. However, the Grim Reaper and her doctor fight over whether she will live or die. The best animated short film category is one that everyone should take some time to check out. Best Foreign Language Film of the Year showcases some of the best films from around the world. Ajami shows five stories about life in an area of Tel Aviv where Muslims and Christians live together.

The White Ribbon, showing in local theaters, is the story of a town in Germany before World War I and the strange incidents that leave people injured and shaken.

The Secret in Their Eyes follows a man trying to solve a decades-old murder.
A Prophet is about an Arab man in a French prison who becomes a leader in the Mafia.
The Peruvian film The Milk of Sorrow features a woman who realizes she has a disease that her mother has recently died of as she tries to not end up like her mother.

One category that always has some great nominations is Best Documentary. Winners have included Man on Wire, March of the Penguins and Bowling for Columbine. This year, the category has some great choices as well. Burma VJ is about a protest of thousands of monks in Burma.

The Cove, available on DVD, uncovers the murder of dolphins in Japan through undercover cameras. Food Inc., also on DVD, looks at the corporate food industry.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, in local theaters, is about a Pentagon insider that was influential in the end of Nixon’s political career.

Which Way Home follows children in Mexico who were left behind while their parents went to the U.S., and their goal to be reunited with them. In these lesser known categories lie some great nominees that shouldn’t be missed.