For me, watching the Oscars has long been a pretty fun way to keep tabs on a bunch of good to great movies that have come out over the last year - not all of the greats, and yes, each year there are some sure-to-be picked and sure-to-be ignored titles that I loved, but regardless, I've found that for the most part, if a film gets a nomination it's a pretty good recommendation that I may enjoy the film.
So this year I actually started out ahead of the game, having already seen three of the Best Picture nominations before they were announced (Birman, Boyhood, and The Grand Budapest Hotel), so my plan for the next few weeks is to try and get out to see the rest.
Today I took the family to see The Imitation Game, which was excellent, well worth the watch, and may end up on my "To Own" list.
Past the Best Picture Nominees, I generally try and watch the rest of the film in order of
1) Availability (sorry Documentary Short Films - I've never had any luck tracking you down)
2) Number of Nominations; so after seeing the Best Picture nominations Foxcatcher, Interstellar, and Mr. Turner will all move to the top of my to see list.
3) The great folks at the Edmonton International Film Festival have put on the Short Film Nominations (both Animated and Live Action) for the last few years, and it's a great way to see a bunch of neat films as well as knock two whole categories off my list before the big event.
I generally try to drag friends or family along to the various film as it gives them incentive to hang out and watch the Oscars with me in a month, and also because going out to see movies is more fun with company.
If you've never tried seeing Oscar Nominations before, I say give it a shot - the films may move you out of your comfort zone a little, but what the heck, isn't that often the point?