'Avatar' Vs. 'New Moon': Who Will Be MTV Movie Awards' Best Movie?

Front-runners are joined by 'Alice in Wonderland,' 'Harry Potter' and 'Hangover.'

With so many other fun categories for fans to vote on, it's almost easy to forget about the meat and potatoes of the

href="">MTV Movie Awards, the big kahuna of the competition, Best Movie. Although a fan favorite ("The Twilight Saga: New Moon") and a box-office champion ("Avatar") make this a particularly contentious category, the most remarkable thing about this year's Best Movie race is the eclecticism and quality of the films in the running.

Take a closer look at the nominees below. Additionally, head over to for more information and to vote for your favorites. The big show starts tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

[movie id="373927"]"Alice in Wonderland"[/movie]

There's probably no greater visionary working in mainstream movies today than Tim Burton, and his adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland" is the perfect pairing of moviemaker and material. Offering visionary, jaw-dropping visuals, amazing, inventive characters and a compelling coming-of-age story, Burton's Wonderland is a wonderful place to visit.

[movie id="301495"]"Avatar"[/movie]

More than 10 years in the making, James Cameron's return to fiction filmmaking is a breathtaking and groundbreaking new vision of the possibilities the silver screen holds. Featuring motion-capture CGI that renders every reaction and quirk of actors Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, Cameron creates a world unlike anything audiences have ever seen while taking them on a journey that harks back to the most basic formulas of film storytelling. The movie that made 3-D a must-have technology for almost all future films, "Avatar" is a game changer for cinema as a whole as well as a phenomenon unto itself.

[movie id="307087"]"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"[/movie]

Six movies after Daniel Radcliffe and company first brought J.K. Rowling's book series to life on the silver screen, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" proves that the films still have plenty of creativity, and more than that, originality in them. Radcliffe continues to mature into the grown-up Harry Potter who has yet to confront his greatest adversaries, while director David Yates gives this sixth installment a unique look that sets it apart from the rest of the films and yet makes it fit in perfectly with what has come before. This film may feature a half-blood prince, but it's indisputably, absolutely, fully entertaining.

[movie id="369201"]"The Hangover"[/movie]

Todd Phillips is no stranger either to raunchy comedies or to revealing the appeal of new comedic talents, having helped Will Ferrell become a star with 2003's "Old School." But "The Hangover" marks a turning point in the director's career as he elevates misbehavior to the stuff of gutter poetry, assembling four equally talented but different performers to create an unforgettable, hilarious ensemble. Featuring Breakthrough and Best Comedic Performance nominee Zach Galifianakis and Best Comedic Performance nominee Bradley Cooper, "The Hangover" has "instant classic" written all over it, packing as much power as a punch from Mike Tyson.

[movie id="414921"]"The Twilight Saga: New Moon"[/movie]

Following 2008's enormously successful "Twilight," the cast reunited under the watchful auspices of "The Golden Compass" director Chris Weitz to expand the scope and drama of Stephenie Meyer's book series even further. Bella's relationship with Edward gets much more complicated when he departs for destinations unknown after a violent incident at the Cullen house, but her longtime friend Jacob threatens to become a surrogate or even possible replacement boyfriend after he does some growing up (in all the right places). A rich and dramatic romance that also includes plenty of requisite vampire and werewolf action, "New Moon" is the sort of adventure that lingers with you long after the sun has come up.

Don't miss the live red-carpet coverage, exclusive movie clips and fist-pumping action on MTV News' "Jersey Shore Blow-Out at the MTV Movie Awards," airing live from Los Angeles tonight. Then stay tuned for the 2010 MTV Movie Awards at 9 p.m. ET/PT.