We're breaking down all the Oscars contenders for you, so that you can decide whether you want to see them -- or at the very least, hold your own at cocktail parties. Next up: 'Milk,' based on the harrowing true story of gay rights leader, Harvey Milk.

Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Director (Gus Van Sant), Best Actor (Sean Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin), Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score

What It's About: Politically-charged Harvey Milk (Penn) moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend (James Franco) and campaigns to become the first openly-gay man elected to public office. His message of hope inspires many, but divides others -- including fellow-Supervisor Dan White (Brolin) -- leading to a contentious relationship and ultimately tragic ending.

Why You Should See It: 'Milk''s positive, uplifting message is one that anyone -- gay or straight -- can connect with, especially in today's troubled times. It also features one of the best-acted ensembles of the year, with Penn leading the way in a career-best and Oscar-worthy performance; Brolin, Franco and Penn's 'Into the Wild'-protege Emile Hirsch also turn in fine supporting work. In other words: 'Milk' does a body good.

It's Kind Of Like: 'Longtime Companion' meets 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'

How You Can See It: In theaters now