Sunday night the 81st Annual Academy Awards will take place, and Hollywood’s biggest and brightest will be celebrating themselves and their remarkable achievements.  There are without a doubt (pun intended) some great films and performances nominated this year.  Sure, we all saw The Dark Knight, but some of the other films you may not have had the chance to see yet.  So, here’s a way to get familiar with the nominees through the medium of video games.  Sort of….

IF YOU ENJOYED THE WRESTLER, YOU’LL LIKE PRO WRESTLING.
Mickey Rourke’s comeback performance definitely has my vote for Best Actor.  The Wrestler was a moving and painfully real film, which Rourke carried on his bloody and broken back.  He really deserves to win.  If you saw it, you probably noticed the scene where he plays an NES wrestling clone with a neighborhood kid.  The game is by no means a broken down piece of meat, but Pro Wrestling won’t allow you the chance to pla y as Randy The Ram or The Ayatollah, although Starman is just as delightful  A winner is Rourke, hopefully.

IF YOU ENJOYED DOUBT, YOU’LL LIKE BIOSHOCK.
Doubt explores accusations of an improper relationship between a Catholic priest and a young altar boy.  Now I know what you’re thinking already, as does the writer of this play the movie was based on (John Patrick Shanley wrote both and directed the film.) But preconceived notions are shattered as the film goes on, leaving the viewer to make up his own mind as to who is right and wrong, and what really occurred.  Similarly, Bioshock breaks down the mold as the tale goes on, and the player is left to make up his own mind about right and wrong.

IF YOU ENJOYED MAN ON WIRE, YOU’LL ENJOY WARIOWARE:  TWISTED.
Man On Wire is almost a shoe-in for Best Documentary.  The tale of a man who snuck into the World Trade Center and tightrope walked across the gap of the towers in the 1970’s, it shares several things with the WarioWare series.  Both are foreign, both are silly yet entertaining, and both feature the skill to keep your balance to perform absurd stunts.

IF YOU ENJOYED TROPIC THUNDER, YOU’LL LIKE CONTRA.
Yes, Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  Yes, they both take place in the jungle. If you pretend the character in Contra is Robert Downey Junior’s character Kirk Lazarus, you’ll be the dude playing the dude who’s playing a dude disguised as another dude.  That’s all I got for this one.

IF YOU ENJOYED MILK, YOU’LL LIKE CHO ANIKI.
Gus Van Sant’s return to form (well, his form is really always changing) stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official as mayor in San Fransisco.  Penn is without a doubt one the greatest actors of our time and won a golden statue just a few years ago for Mystic River.  Cho Aniki is a Japanese game series which, from what I understand, has you fighting off scantily clad male bodybuilders who are the search of the universe’s protein.  I think it’s safe to say you can make your own assumptions here.

IF YOU ENJOYED THE READER, YOU’LL ENJOY WOLFENSTEIN 3D.
With nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress, The Reader is about a young man’s love affair with an older lady who has a past…a Nazi past.  And what better way to celebrate that then by reliving your past and killing some Nazis in Wolfenstein?

IF YOU ENJOYED THE DARK KNIGHT, YOU’LL ENJOY BATMAN.
The easiest relation to make.  The NES classic Batman is difficult, retro, and fun.  Good luck ever getting to The Joker, and then even more luck trying to beat him.  You’ll die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself actually beat this game.  Much like Heath Ledger’s nominated performances, both Jokers will leave your jaw-dropped, one via a true feat of acting, and the other via frustration and repeated death.  Why so difficult?

There you have it.  A quick recap of what movies were the year’s best, and what games you should play to honor them.  Break out your memory cards, blow out those NES carts, get your ballots filled out and await the opening of the envelopes.  Happy Oscars everyone!