It’s good to have life goals, isn’t it? It’s even better to have life goals that are 99.9% unattainable, if you ask me, because they keep you on your toes and always leave you working at, you know, actually following through. Take my little boondoggle known as Nicholas’ Oscar Project. I’ve always been a huge Academy Awards fan and something of a buff, and years ago I decided that I would make it my goal to someday watch every film and actor nominated in the major categories (picture, director, acting). Yep, all 81 years of ’em.

Each Oscar season, I turn my attention from rearranging the old movies that crowd my Netflix queue (sorry, Being There…you’ll have to sit there for just a few more weeks!) to making sure that I’m caught up on the current year’s crop. After all, you can’t go to an Oscar party, tell someone you work for EW, and then say, “Oh, but I barely saw any of these!” But I’m embarrassingly behind this year, and now I’m paying the price with a frenzied, down-to-the-wire cram session. I’ve got five movies to watch before Sunday, and last night the studying began in earnest with Changeling. I’d wanted to see it when it was initially released, but quickly lost interest thanks to ho-hum reviews and a general lack of buzz. Angelina Jolie’s surprise Best Actress nomination meant that I would, in fact, have to slog through two hours and 20 minutes of lush cinematography, plump red lips, and what seemed to be one constantly repeated line of dialogue that went something like, “This isn’t my son where is my son you’re not my son I want my son!!” I’m not really sure why Jolie got this nod; she’s serviceable but hardly a showstopper in the role.

But hey, the work has to get done. Frozen River is supposed to be arriving in the mail today, and we’ll see if I can get through that one tonight, barring a happy hour situation that looks increasingly likely. Once The Visitor gets my attention (Saturday morning?), I need to get myself to the theater and complete my checklist by seeing, um, The Reader and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Yeah, didn’t get around to those two yet.

Does anybody else impose these insane rules upon themselves every year in the interest of being a better-informed Oscar viewer? Are you cramming furiously like me as we enter the home stretch? Which movies do you still have to see before Oscar night? And are any of the movies on my list worth (the horror!) just skipping altogether? You tell me, Popwatchers.