It's among my favorite days of the year. The announcement of the Academy Award nominations sets off a sprint for me and my wife. This year we have a head start.

Nine movies were nominated for Best Picture on Tuesday. We have already seen three of them, putting us ahead of our normal pace. About a decade ago I made a commitment to see as many of the Best Picture nominees and found many of them to be great movies. My wife joined me a year or two later and she has been almost perfect in picking the winner over that time.

We have seen Arrival, Hell or High Water and Manchester by the Sea. Nothing too artsy here. The variety includes contact with aliens with no laser guns or light sabers, bank robbers you almost want to support and a touching family story with a cruel twist.

Our mission, we have decided to accept, is to find time to see Fences starring Denzel Washington, Hacksaw Ridge directed by Mel Gibson, the NASA-based story Hidden Figures, the musical La La Land with its record-tying 14 nominations, and Lion and Moonlight by awards night, February 26, with host Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.

If you are looking for something to rent, may I suggest a previous winner. Spotlight tells the behind-the-scenes story of a powerful job done by investigative reporting. Birdman stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor whose claim to fame was being a superhero. 12 Years a Slave is a chilling and sobering look at a sad time in our history. Or for something with a slightly lighter feel, there's the silent film The Artist.