“The Descendants”

Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing

What’s It About: Matt King (Clooney) lives in Hawaii with his wife, who — unbeknownst to him — is having an affair with a real estate guru (Matthew Lillard). As if that weren’t bad enough, Matt finds out about his wife’s infidelity after she suffers massive head injuries during a boating accident and falls into a coma. With the help of his reckless teenage daughter (Shailene Woodley), Matt must come to terms with his wife, his life and the meaning of family.

Why You Should See It: Besides the fact that you should see every movie Alexander Payne (“About Schmidt,” “Election,” “Sideways”) directs? Well, George Clooney is pretty great as Matt — still charming but without any of the polish that the Cloonmeister General brings to red carpets and his bigger-budget films. The family drama pulls at the heartstrings without ever feeling mawkish or manipulative. Unlike some of the other Best Picture nominees, “The Descendants” feels completely relatable to anyone who has ever gone through a personal trauma.

It’s Kind Of Like: “About Schmidt” and “Michael Clayton” but in Hawaii.

How You Can See It: “The Descendants” is in theaters now.


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