We're breaking down all the Oscar 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: 'Winter's Bone,' the bleak tale of a teenage girl searching for her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her dysfunctional family from falling apart.
Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (John Hawkes), Best Adapted Screenplay
What It's About: With her father nowhere to be found and her mother in a near-catatonic state, 17-year-old Ree (Lawrence) struggles to keep her family from being evicted from their home. Despite her knowledge of her father's crystal-meth-dealing past, Ree continues to poke and prod her neighbors for information, which leads to some unpleasant results. Helped along the way by her Uncle Teardrop (Hawkes), Ree eventually uncovers the unsettling truth behind her father's disappearance.
Why You Should See It: While it's not the most uplifting of this year's Best Picture nominees, 'Winter's Bone' features some spectacular performances. Lawrence's raw portrayal of the troubled, determined Ree is mesmerizing, especially at the film's climax. Paired with the intensity of Hawkes as Teardrop, this movie transports you directly into the cold mountain air, where you can't help but feel the chill.
It's Kind of Like: 'Gummo' meets 'Deliverance'
How You Can See It: In stores on DVD