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Why you should go to 'Nebraska'—the Oscar's dark horse

Nebraska

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The film Nebraska was introduced to me by a superstar of black-and-white movies, Marsha Hunt, who was "America's darling" in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s.

Cast of Nebraska
Cast of Nebraska
Nebraska
June Squibb gets her first nomination ever
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

She knew what black-and-white movies were, and she knew good storytelling. The movies she was known for told simple stories that had positive uplifting endings.

"When I saw Nebraska, I felt good at the end, I felt uplifted," Marsha told me. "You don't see many movies like that anymore."

She held a private screening at the Sherman Oaks Galleria for some friends, many of them who would vote later in the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy Awards. Bruce Dern attended, so did June Squibb who plays the mom (and Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte who is also in the movie).

See my photos of the actors and attendees by CLICKING HERE.

It seemed like Nebraska would be a long shot for the Academy Awards, but the little indie movie by director Alexander Payne won six Oscar nominations and for many critics it's the pleasant surprise of the nominations.

June Squibb, who plays the mother and wife to Bruce Dern's character, steals the movie in virtually every scene she is in.

"The character was so well written, I just has a great time with the part," Squibb said. "It certainly is the part of a lifetime."

At 84, Squibb received her first Oscar nod, and if she were to win, she'd be the oldest Academy Award winner in any acting category to ever receive the honor.

She was at her house in Sherman Oaks when she watched the nominations Thursday morning with her son and told the Los Angeles Times:

My son and I watched the nominations together at my house in Sherman Oaks. When he heard, he was so dear. He got up and came over and held me -- and we were both almost crying and it was lovely. He’s doing all of the events with me. He’s a filmmaker himself so there are a lot of directors that he admires and respects tremendously and likes to see at events.

At the private screening, Dern told me, "I just love this role, I don't care if it wins awards or not, it was just a career-high for me. I had a great time, working with a great cast and fantastic director."

Dern was nominated for Best Actor, Alexander Payne won for Best Director and the movie got nominated for one of the nine Best Picture contenders. The movie also was nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay.

The film is about an old man who insists he won $1 million in a sweepstakes and wants to claim his prize. His son humors him by going on a trip to see if he won.

The Academy Awards will be held on March 2.

Did you see Nebraska? What did you think? Tell us in the COMMENTS area below.