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. Today: the indie drama 'Frozen River,' which emerged from Sundance winner to unlikely Oscar candidate.

Nominated For: Best Actress (Melissa Leo), Best Original Screenplay (Courtney Hunt)

What It's About: A middle-aged mother of two (Leo) in frigid and rural Upstate New York is left in a desperate situation when her husband splits, taking all of their savings (including payment for their new trailer home) with him. For cash, she hesitantly teams up with a young Mohawk woman (Misty Upham) to smuggle immigrants over the US-Canada border via the Indian reservations.

Why You Should See It:
'Frozen River' is the type of simple and quietly powerful drama that wins over fans at film festivals but rarely garners mainstream attention. Leo's performance as a hard-edged woman who works at a dollar store and packs heat is both nuanced and painstakingly real. And while the film slipped in and out of theaters without much fanfare, it's more than worth spending a cold winter's night catching it on DVD.

It's Kind of Like:
'Maria Full of Grace' meets 'Fargo'

How You Can See It: On DVD Tuesday, Feb. 10


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. Today: the indie drama 'Frozen River,' which emerged from Sundance winner to unlikely Oscar candidate.

Nominated For: Best Actress (Melissa Leo), Best Original Screenplay (Courtney Hunt)

What It's About: A middle-aged mother of two (Leo) in frigid and rural Upstate New York is left in a desperate situation when her husband splits, taking all of their savings (including payment for their new trailer home) with him. For cash, she hesitantly teams up with a young Mohawk woman (Misty Upham) to smuggle immigrants over the US-Canada border via the Indian reservations.

Why You Should See It:
'Frozen River' is the type of simple and quietly powerful drama that wins over fans at film festivals but rarely garners mainstream attention. Leo's performance as a hard-edged woman who works at a dollar store and packs heat is both nuanced and painstakingly real. And while the film slipped in and out of theaters without much fanfare, it's more than worth spending a cold winter's night catching it on DVD.

It's Kind of Like:
'Maria Full of Grace' meets 'Fargo'

How You Can See It: On DVD Tuesday, Feb. 10