Every year about this time I get excited about the Oscars. I’m not in the industry, but did go to school in Los Angeles with the intention of working in movies or television. (It didn’t really take and it’s not the subject I wanted to discuss in this post — maybe some other time). I continue to be fascinated by movies and television, finding myself drawn to interesting narratives, comedies, and fantasy/adventure (more so than action/adventure).
When I lived in L.A. I loved to build up to Oscar night by heading out to the movies, sometimes several times a week, making sure I saw as many of the nominees in as many categories as possible. I have never been a fan of foreign films, so I tended to avoid this category. The documentaries and shorts were not as accessible then as they are today, so those rarely made it to the list, too. I never achieved 100% success, but saw more of the nominated films during that time than I do today.
I know people now, and knew a lot then, who are completely put off by the idea of going to the movies alone. When the subject comes up, I can usually rattle off a number of advantages that may make sense to the dissenters, but probably never convince them to go it alone:
- You shouldn’t be talking during the movies, so who cares if you are sitting next to someone you know or a stranger.
- You can listen to all of the previews without someone saying “oh, we need to see that” or “that doesn’t look very good” in your ear.
- You don’t have to share your popcorn, candy or drink.
- You always get to see what you want to see.
- If it’s packed, you can more easily find a good single seat than multiple seats together.
Now that I am older and married, making it to every Oscar nominated film is not usually possible. There are not enough weekends between the nominations and the show that we can fit in going out to a movie with our other activities and responsibilities. If more were available to rent (iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, even YouTube) I’m sure I would make it. I’d at least have time to hit all of the best picture nominees that interested me. My wife, probably not. She would try, but there is no way she would stay awake through each and every film. I have a theory that light emissions from the TV reacts with her blanket fabric forcing her eyes closed right when the film starts to get good (or just before Jimmy Fallon begins #Hashtags on Thursday nights).
This year’s slate of films and our unachievable “To See” list includes Best Picture Nominees (I have bolded the ones we have made it to already):
- American Sniper (in Theaters)
- Birdman (in Theaters)
- Boyhood (in limited Theaters and iTunes – rent or purchase)
- The Grand Budapest Hotel (in limited Theaters and iTunes – purchase only)
- The Imitation Game (in Theaters)
- Selma (in Theaters)
- The Theory of Everything (in Theaters and iTunes – purchase after 2/10)
- Whiplash (in Theaters and iTunes – purchase after 2/24)
and other notable films in other categories:
- Foxcatcher (in limited Theaters and iTunes – purchase after 3/3)
- The Judge (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- Still Alice (in Theaters)
- Gone Girl (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- Wild (in Theaters)
- Into The Woods (in Theaters)
- Unbroken (in limited Theaters)
- Inherent Vice (not widely available)
- Maleficent (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- Interstellar (in limited Theaters)
- The Lego Movie (iTunes – purchase only)
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (in limited Theaters)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (iTunes – purchase only)
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- Nightcrawler (iTunes – purchase after 1/27)
- Begin Again (iTunes – rent or purchase)
The animated features are not high on my list this year. There are a couple I would like to see, but none are a before Oscars must:
- Big Hero 6 (iTunes – purchase after 2/3)
- The Boxtrolls (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- Song of the Sea (not widely available)
- The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (not widely available
Some of the lesser known films will make it to my “Ultimate Movies To See” wish list, but who knows if they will ever make it to the top:
- Two Days, One Night (not widely available)
- Ida (iTunes – rent or purchase)
- Mr. Turner (in limited Theaters)
- Beyond the Lights (iTunes – purchase after 2/10)
- Glen Campbell . . . I’ll Be Me (iTunes – purchase after 3/31)
The Oscar broadcast is quickly approaching on February 22nd. There are only three and a half weekends remaining (if you are devoted enough to take in a film on the 22nd before the broadcast, you can make it an even four) before Oscar night. Attending two movies per weekend only ups our seen list by seven or eight of the 26 listed in the first two groups. That would bring the total to just about half, which is certainly not a bad result. If our regular television viewing continues in reruns, maybe we can catch a few during the week on-line. I’ll have to keep you posted as Oscar night nears.
In the meantime, good luck with your own lists.