If you want to make sure you see all the Oscar Best Picture nominees this year, you're going to have to set aside 18 hours and 42 minutes. But screenings starting this Friday at the Gateway Film Center can make you a bona fide expert in an Oscar category in one manageable sitting.

If you want to make sure you see all the Oscar Best Picture nominees this year, you're going to have to set aside 18 hours and 42 minutes.

But screenings starting this Friday at the Gateway Film Center can make you a bona fide expert in an Oscar category in one manageable sitting.

Three separate programs will feature all of the nominees from the Best Short Film (Animated), Best Short Film (Live Action) and Best Documentary Short Subject categories. You can feel like an industry insider - and get a leg up on your office Oscar pool.

Highlights among the live-action shorts include "God of Love," a jazzy and playful little black-and-white romp about a musician who finds a box of Love Darts, which make their intended target fall in love, Cupid's arrow-style.

If you're looking for an Oscar frontrunner in the category, "Na Wewe" has the right mix of subject matter and execution. It has a thoughtful - and surprisingly heartwarming - take on genocide in Rwanda.

Also of note is "Wish 143," which chronicles a teenager with terminal cancer whose dying wish is to lose his virginity. It's the stuff of a bad teen sex comedy, but in more talented hands.

On the animated side, there's the six-minute Pixar short that screened before "Toy Story 3," "Day & Night," a Tex Avery-esque mix of CGI and hand-drawn styles.

But the best reason to see the animated shorts is "The Gruffalo." Based on a 1999 children's book, it tells an Aesop-like fable with a whimsical visual style and a star-studded voice cast.

The oddball tale "The Lost Thing" also has a wild sense of imagination, lest you think Pixar has put a copyright on that.

The lengthier documentary program will be broken up with a brief intermission. All programs are screening at the Gateway starting Friday.