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Thursday, February 28, 2013

DVD+Digital: Oscar winners, runners-up and release dates

Posted by on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM

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By all accounts, the 85th annual Academy Awards was a star-studded affair, with glamorous people saying glamorous things in glamorous clothing. Sadly, I missed this year's telecast due the fact that Seth MacFarlane makes me want to go on a tri-state killing spree.

If you'd like to catch up with some of the Oscar winners and nominees, many of the big titles are now available on DVD, Blu-ray and various digital delivery platforms. Another wave of releases will come in late March and April, the traditional season for Oscar winners to cycle onto home video.

Argo took home Best Picture at this year's awards, and you'll get no argument from me. I love that movie. The DVD/Blu-ray retail combo pack, released a few weeks back, includes four excellent features on the historical context of the film, plus an audio commentary track with director Ben Affleck and picture-in-picture commentary from the principals involved. If you're getting Argo on line or on-demand, and you're interested in getting those extras, read the small print: Most streaming/download titles don't come with all or even any of the DVD bonus materials.

Best Picture nominee Beasts of the Southern Wild is also out on DVD and digital, with some interesting behind-the-scenes features including screen tests of the cosmically charismatic Quvenzhané Wallis.

Daniel Day Lewis won Best Actor for Lincoln, which is projected to come to home video in April. Or you can catch Denzel Washington's incredible work in Flight, now on DVD and digital with generous bonus materials for those who like to peek behind the moviemaking curtain.

The lovely and talented Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, another of my personal favorites last year. DVD release date on that is April 30. Also look for nominee Naomi Watts in The Impossible, coming April 23.

No word yet on the release date for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, which picked up two statues at this year's event — Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz. Philip Seymour Hoffman was also nominated in this category for The Master, which hit shelves just this week. Extras include outtakes and additional scenes, a making-of short and an hour-long WWII doc from director John Huston.

Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress as Fantine in Les Misérables — release date March 22. Word is that the bonus materials will include outtakes from the film's live singing sessions. So that should be fun.

Disney's Gaelic-themed princess movie Brave took home this year's Oscar for best Animated Feature, but it's one of the lesser Pixar movies, I think. And I'm a Scotsman. Frankenweenie was last year's most visually inventive family movie, and The Pirates! Band of Misfits was the funniest. Even the Academy Award longshots, ParaNorman and Wreck-It Ralph, were arguably better overall entertainments than Brave. In any case, all these films are now out on DVD and digital, except Ralph, which hits shelves March 5. Or you can purchase the HD digital version online now.

Best Foreign Language Film winner Amour is still in theaters, but a couple of the other nominees are available online now. War Witch and Kon Tiki can be tracked down online through video-on-demand services like Amazon Instant Video.

This year's Best Documentary Feature, Searching for Sugar Man, hit DVD in January. And for you Netflix subscribers, many of the other nominees this year — The Invisible War, How To Survive a Plague, 5 Broken Cameras — can be accessed right now via instant streaming.


Also New This Week:


Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson return as America's favorite vampires in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the fifth and final installment of the popular series.

Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston star in the surfing drama Chasing Mavericks, based on the true story of big wave rider Jay Moriarty.

A camping trek in Eastern Europe goes awry in the critically acclaimed drama The Loneliest Planet, starring Gael Garcia Bernal.

The award-winning documentary Escape Fire examines the U.S health care system from multiple vantage points.

For you BBC fans, Garrow's Law: The Complete Collection gathers all 12 episodes of the critically acclaimed period drama about 18th-century barrister William Garrow. Also look for new British TV collections — such as Maigret and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie — from the stalwart anglophiles at Acorn Media.

Plus: Holy Motors, Chicken with Plums, A Simple Life, The Mule and Sansho the Bailiff on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection.

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