WANT to get a head start on viewing this year's Academy Award nominees-to-be? Unless you have a psychic in your pocket, there's really no way to be certain which films will get the Oscar nod, but there are some good candidates in this batch of upcoming DVD releases:
"Cinderella Man." While the Ron Howard film turned out to be a disappointment at the box office, there is still a slight chance it could get a best motion picture nomination or another nod for three-time nominee (one-time winner) Russell Crowe for best actor in a lead role. Universal: with features including documentaries, deleted scenes, fight preparations, commentaries, discussion with composer Thomas Newman, $49.98 (also available in a non-collector's edition, $29.98), Dec. 6.
"March of the Penguins" and "Grizzly Man." Each of these nature-in-the-raw chronicles could be a serious contender in the best documentary feature category. Warner Bros.: includes featurette and animated short, $28.98, Nov. 29; Lions Gate: $27.98, Dec. 27, respectively.
"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price." Don't count out Robert Greenwald's recent documentary as a possibility either. Disinformation Co.: includes commentaries, special videos, spoof commercials, $12.95, Tuesday.
"Madagascar" will likely garner DreamWorks a nod for best animated feature film. DreamWorks: includes commentary from the four penguins and filmmakers, as well as featurettes and games, $29.99, Tuesday.
"Valiant." Disney's animated feature is a less certain possibility. Buena Vista: includes a game to test ability to become a member of the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, $29.99, Dec. 13.
"War of the Worlds." Achievement in visual effects voters will surely put the Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise blockbuster in the running. DreamWorks: includes featurette on development of the Tripods, Spielberg and Cruise detailing on-set experiences and John Williams discussing the score. The limited edition ($30) is a two-disc set, but the film is also available as a one-disc version ($19.95), Nov. 22.
"Fantastic Four." The superheroes tale may also be a contender ... but don't put money on it. Fox: includes deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes home video, featurette, $29.98, Dec. 13.