Oscar countdown continues

Yes, it’s Oscar month as movie fans count the days to the Academy Awards presentation on February 28.

To get in the mood, check out the past winners and nominees showing on broadcast and cable television stations this weekend.

Forrest Gump (1994)

There wasn’t much suspense on Oscar night 1994 when this magical story of a simple but loving man swept the major awards. The Forrest fairy tale had already dominated the box office, and captured the hearts of moviegoers, with its simplistic views of history and sentimental takes on complex relationships. Even though, in real life, that box of chocolates can contain substantive challenges, the movie makes us believe that, in reel life, happy endings are just a hug away.

Friday, February 5, 6:45 p.m.; Saturday, February 6, 2:30 p.m., ABC Family

Country Strong (2010)

Back in 1998, Gwyneth Paltrow was a popular Best Actress winner for her moving comedy performance in Shakespeare in Love, the surprise winner in the Best Picture race. But the actress struggled with her post-Oscar career, choosing small roles in mainstream hits (including the Iron Man series) and lead roles in small films that failed to capture much attention. In this semi-musical about country western performers, Paltrow brings her charm and chops to a thoughtful performance as a woman who makes bad decisions.

Friday, February 5, 8 p.m., CMT

8 Mile (2002)

On Oscar night 2002, two-time Academy Award winner Barbra Streisand arrived on stage to present the award for Best Song. After opening the envelope, she made no effort to disguise her disapproval for the choice, the song Lose Yourself from this moving drama about an ambitious rapper. While star Eminem captivated moviegoers with his intense performance, he receives excellent support from Kim Basinger in her strongest role after winning a Supporting Actress Oscar for L. A. Confidential in 1997.

Friday, February 5, 8:20 p.m.; Saturday, February 6, 4:15 p.m., MTV

Wall Street (1987)

Michael Douglas was the man of the moment when this film opened in 1987. He had scored a huge box office hit with Fatal Attraction and, in this examination of financial greed, Douglas captured the best reviews of his acting career. In one famous movie moment, when he uttered the words, “greed is good,” The actor sums up the mood of a nation at a time of financial uncertainty. And he proved he had the chops to make a cardboard character feel very real. If only he hadn’t agreed to make the sequel, Money Never Sleeps, in 2010.

Saturday, February 6, 11 a.m., TNT

Crash (2005)

Oscar night 2005 was supposed to be a celebration for Brokeback Mountain. This groundbreaking drama – about two men who begin a private love affair – received the strongest reviews in a year also dominated by Steven Spielberg’s Munich, Bennett Miller’s Capote and George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck. So most fans expected – after Brokeback director Ang Lee won the Oscar – the film to be crowned the year’s best. But never count Oscar out for a surprise. And this look at how lives intersect in a busy city was named the top film. But did anyone actually see it?

Saturday, January 30, 2 p.m., TNT

A Star Is Born (1954)

The Academy loves the years when actresses compete to the end. Back in 1954, the great Judy Garland staged a major comeback (after being dismissed by MGM a few years before) in a remake of this classic tale of rising and fading stars. But her hopes of winning an Oscar were dashed when the young Grace Kelly worked against type as a plain, bitter woman in the film version of Clifford Odets’ play, The Country Girl. Years later, it’s difficult to understand how the Academy could overlook Garland’s magnetic portrayal of an ambitious woman with a heart. And a voice.

Sunday, February 7, 4:45 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

As the countdown to Oscar continues, look for more suggestions for family viewing next week! Until then, see you at the movies.