Well, here we are at that time of year again. Awards season. We feel a little extra buzz around the Mountains Beyond Mountains offices this time of year when those screeners start showing up in the mail, and we get to watch all the Oscar contenders and make informed choices when we cast our votes for the Academy…..wait. That’s not right. We aren’t members of the Academy, we’re not even members of what any reasonable person would call “the media”. We’re much more (and less) than that. We’re an internet connection with insidious intent. (and sadly that job description does not qualify us for screeners). So that means going out and seeing these movies on our own “time and dime” as the kids like to say. [editors note: this is not a saying that “kids” nor any other demographic use, or have used in the past, nor will probably use in the future.]
But that’s crazy. How is a guy like me going to get out and see 9 movies before March 2? It’s a varied group this year, and if you take the “Award Nominee” status away from them, there’s really only three that I’d actually probably be interested in seeing. Gravity, American Hustle and Her. And I’ve already seen Gravity back in October before there was any awards talk, so I guess that leaves 8 movies, 6 of whom I really don’t care about.
But you know, I come by it honestly. Even back in the day when there were only 5 best picture nominations, there were many years where I couldn’t get out to see all of them.
For example, just taking the last 20 years worth of best picture nominations, here are some of the movies I still have not seen.
The English Patient, Shine, Secrets and Lies (1995)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
The Insider (1999)
In the Bedroom (2001)
Chicago (2002) -I had to turn it off after the first 10 minutes as it was making me sick to my stomach.
Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
There will be Blood (2007) -I had to turn it off after the first 10 minutes as it was making my wife sick to her stomach.
In 2009 the Academy changed how they nominated films for the Best Picture category, so you could get as many as 10 in a year, and this is where I really fall down.
The Hurt Locker, Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, Precious, A Serious Man (2009)
Black Swan, The Kids are Alright, Winter’s Bone (2010)
The Artist, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Tree of Life, War Horse (2011)
Les Miserables (2012) -I had to turn it off at the half-way point because it was making both me and my wife sick to our stomachs.
And you know, looking over this list of unwatched Best Picture nominees over the last 20 years, the only one that I think I’d probably sit down and watch now would be “The English Patient”. I wanted to see it when it came out but it just slipped through the cracks. I even owned the soundtrack, so that’s weird right? Why I never borrowed it from the library all these years is a mystery.
I think I’d like to give “There will be Blood” another go, maybe when my wife has gone off to bed and I’ve watched all of “Oz” or something. I’ve heard good things, and maybe I’ll finally understand that “milkshake” quote that I’ve heard bandied about.
When it comes down to it, movies should be entertaining, and not feel like homework. I’m not saying that movies shouldn’t move you, or make you angry, or cry, or think. The best ones might do all of these things, but sometimes I just feel like a good laugh, or see some ‘splosions, or get caught up in a small, simple story for an hour or two.
So yeah, I’m okay with that track record, but I also know that there is a full month before Oscar night, and I may just get out and see one or two more of these movies before then, so maybe I should hold off on my annual “Oscar Run Down” until we are a bit closer. I think that works. And who knows, maybe we’ll get the odd screener sent our way?
How about it, Hollywood types? Can this blog get on a list or something? Weinsteins, you reading this?