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: 'The Illusionist,' a heartbreakingly beautiful animated pantomime.

Nominated For: Best Animated Feature

What It's About: In the late 1950s, an older magician struggles to support himself in a world that is faster than he can keep pace with. While performing in rural Scotland, where lightbulbs are still considered amazing, a young girl named Alice becomes enchanted by the old man's magic and follows him to the big city of Edinburgh. There, the illusionist guides the girl towards adulthood by making personal sacrifices while Alice takes care of the old man with delicious homecooked meals.
Why You Should See It: 'The Illusionist' is simply a beautiful movie; it is hard to imagine more gorgeous animation. Nearly wordless, the film explores with great nuance and subtlety the life of an old man who has become obsolete and yet finds himself needed by a innocent young runaway. Based on a 1956 script by French comedic legend Jaques Tati, and directed by Sylvain Chomet (of 'The Triplets of Belleville' fame), 'The Illusionist' will strike an emotional chord with any viewer and will be especially pleasurable for lovers of animation.

It's Kind of Like: The last 15 minutes of 'Toy Story 3.'

How You Can See It: In theaters now

The Illusionist
Based on 31 critics

An aging magician bonds with a young fan who believes his tricks are really supernatural. Read More

categories Features, Oscars, Awards