Every year I try to watch as many of the Oscar nominated movies as possible. I’ve been asked, why go by someone else’s list? Watch what interests you. Here is a long, somewhat rambling response.
I’ve always loved movies and books. As a child my family moved every 2-3 years, generally to a different country. It was a wonderful way to grow up, but there were challenges. I wasn’t just adjusting to a new school, I was learning a new language and a new culture. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. The first few months were always the hardest, especially if we arrived during summer break, as I started to try to make friends. Books and movies were my escape. I would watch The Neverending Story, and then curl up with a book afterwards, pretending that like Bastian, I could travel into the pages. Footloose and Flashdance inspired me to dance for hours – wearing the latest in fashionable leg warmers, naturally. Platoon, Dirty Dancing, The Breakfast Club, Rain Man, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid – I still love them. I believed with all my heart that John Cusack and I would one day be married. I didn’t limit myself to one genre, but didn’t try to explore much beyond the standard dramas/comedies/horror movies.
That changed about 10 years ago. On the spur of the moment, I bought a ticket to AMC’s Best Picture Showcase – one day where they played all five of the Best Picture nominees. I was surprised to see that the theater was sold out. The ladies next to me told me that each year, they would try to see every single nominated film. Even the documentaries! Now, at that point, when I thought of documentaries, my mind conjured up images of stuffy classrooms and droning narration. The next year I decided to try to watch as many as I could, except for a few categories that I thought would be boring. What happened was that I was surprised by how much I loved some movies that I had assumed I would hate. Once the digital streaming revolution started, it became much easier to get my hands on films that previously had been inaccessible. I bit the bullet and watched a doc, and loved it. I started watching the short films – and loved those. Going by someone else’s list gives me a good starting off point to watch things that I might have overlooked before. Here’s the thing – I don’t just watch the documentaries, short films, and indie movies that are nominated – I watch more throughout the year. It has opened up a whole new world of film for me.
Captain Fantastic (with Viggo Mortenson) flew completely under my radar this year. Not sure why, because Viggo is one of my favorite actors. When I saw him nominated, I watched it. It is an odd, odd little film. An odd film that I ended up loving. The Red Turtle – nominated for Best Animated Feature – is 1.5 hours with one word of dialogue. It is depressing at times, uplifting at others, and manages to build tension without a word. This weekend I am seeing The Salesman, Toni Erdman, Passengers, and Fantastic Beasts. Not exactly four films that you would group together naturally…
In sum, I watch the nominated movies because I love film. I love the emotions that they provoke, the different sides of history that they expose, the ideas they plant. From a visceral standpoint, I love how they look on screen, the visual worlds they create, the explosions and illusions… you get the idea.
SPN re-watch this morning way Everybody Loves a Clown. *shudder* clowns. That’s it for today! See y’all tomorrow!