List of the Week: Best Picture Nominees

This Tuesday, the Academy Award nominees were announced. This year, however, there’s an unexpected twist — the list of Best Picture nominees includes 10 films, not the 5 that have been customary for over 60 years. To help you cope with the double dose of films you’ll consider seeing (but never actually get to) before the awards ceremony, here’s a list of the films and a short synopsis.That way, you can pretend you know what you’re talking about when the Academy Awards air March 7 on ABC.

“Avatar”: A paralyzed veteran goes to the planet Pandora to infiltrate a tribe of native aliens through an artificial “avatar,” but ends up joining the tribe to repel the human invaders.

“The Blind Side”: This sports-drama flick features Sandra Bullock in a more serious role as a mother who encourages an at-risk football player to develop his talent.

“District 9”: When a disabled spaceship hovers over Johannesburg, South Africa, security expert Wikus van de Merwe has to relocate starving aliens to a more isolated location, but gets infected with an alien substance.

“An Education”: A 16-year-old British schoolgirl is in a hurry to grow up, and ends up falling for a much older man and his world of nightclubs, shopping and travel.

“The Hurt Locker”: A graphic and psychologically intense nominee about soldiers in the Iraq War who carry out one of the most dangerous military assignments out there: defusing Improvised Explosive Devices.

“Inglourious Basterds”: A ragtag group of Jewish “Natzi”-killers invade occupied France in World War II to spread terror across the Third Reich.

“Precious”: An obese, illiterate teen named Precious is impregnated twice by her father and abused by her mother before getting what may be her last chance to turn her life around.

“A Serious Man”: Set in the 1960s, a look at a Jewish professor whose life is in danger of falling apart at the slightest provocation.

“Up”: An animated film about an elderly widower and the young boy who is accidentally brought with when he decides to fly to South America in a house suspended by helium balloons.

“Up in the Air”: A corporate downsizer who lives his life from flight to flight begins to consider the notion that his life of anonymity may not be as fulfilling as he believes.