After the Oscar contenders were announced this week, emotions ran high. You might have experienced various sensations — shock, excitement, sadness.

However, if you haven’t seen any of the films yet and are worried where to start, no problem. Luckily, your cineaste Moviefone editors are here for you this awards season. In the lead up to the Oscars, you’re going to hear a lot of things — some good, some great — but we’ve narrowed down the dozens of Oscar nominees to our streamlined favorites.

Take a look at our picks below!

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A classic Tarantino movie, “Django Unchained” is wholly violent, at times comedic, and undeniably awesome. With a stellar cast ranging from the ever-remarkable Christoph Waltz as a German bounty hunter to the charismatic Leonardo DiCaprio as a slave-owning southern dandy, the film is a non-stop pleasure. It has all the quintessential elements of a Tarantino movie: gunfights, clever dialogue, just enough levity to get you through the more serious parts and, of course, a ridiculously funny cameo by the director himself. Finally, a western that didn’t put me to sleep. — Chris Jancelewicz

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You’ve heard the controversy — that it’s pro-torture, that it glorifies violence, that the filmmakers had illegal access to classified documents. Well, try your best to forget all of that. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, “Zero Dark Thirty” is worth two-and-half-hours of your time (and not just because it was nominated for Best Picture). This film is an adrenaline junkie’s dream — a tense 180 minute-exploration into the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden. And it all culminates with the movie’s breathtaking climax, a sequence that’s guaranteed to leave you out of breath. — Alex Suskind

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I’m going to cheat a little bit and recommend three movies that are all going up against each other — that you can watch from the comfort of your home this weekend: “ParaNorman,” “Frankenweenie” and “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.” All three movies are nominated for Best Animated Feature and showcase the visually dazzling and unique talent of stop-motion animation. It’s rare to see so many films in one year that were created in such a time-consuming and off-beat medium, but it’s fantastic that the Academy has recognized a high-water mark year. All three movies are bursting with artistic style, clever humor and are more than just “kid’s stuff.” — Eric Larnick

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The little indie that could! “SIlver Linings Playbook” racked up an impressive eight Oscar nods — including one for all acting categories, Best Picture and Director. Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, the film follows a clinically depressed man (Bradley Cooper) who returns to his parents’ (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) home after a lengthy stint in a mental hospital. While trying to put his life back together (via running while wearing a trash bag) he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who also struggles with depression. Together, they partner up for a dance competition and help each other find happiness. (They’re crazy — in love!) David O. Russell’s dark love story is a refreshing addition to the romcom oeuvre. — Jessie Heyman

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