A few years ago, I attended our local art-house movie theater’s Oscar night party. Having just started to watch award shows (mostly to stave off the depression of Northeast winter), I loved the excuse to get dressed up, have fun with friends, and take part in a cultural phenomena.
Each year I grew progressively more interested in what was sanctioned as a “good” movie versus a “great” movie and what movies were ignored altogether. I started reading movie reviews and people’s opinions about “The Academy” (which is really colleagues weighing in on each other). I started to actually develop my own sense of what made a movie enjoyable and what made it a work of art. I began to appreciate skilled cinematography, nuanced dialogue, subtitles of strong acting, expert transitions, and the awe created when complicated truths are unwrapped through a compelling and well-told story.
Always a staunch ally of “the book is always better than the movie” position, I now also found that movies stole my heart.
Enter January 2019 when the Oscar best pictures are announced and I realize that I had already watched at least half the movies. For the first time in my life, I could potentially watch the Oscars having an informed opinion, preference, and/or prediction for each of these categories. I could celebrate a talent whose work I had cherished, and decry the one who had been passed over.
I love a challenge, a deadline, and a way to enhance an experience I already enjoyed. The race to the Oscars was on. I chronicled the journey loosely in my Instagram stories using my refrigerator white board.
And it was fun. So I’m at it again this year. Researching the likely nominations over my holiday break and strategizing how I can watch as many movies as possible–which platform is streaming it? When can I grab it at my local theater? Who will join me? Which movie will I watch by myself as a treat in the middle of the day?
I also love that my partner is supportive and wants to be part of my movie squad. He’s enjoys the challenge and is more of a big-screen nerd than I. The conversations afterward–what we liked, what we loved, what we thought we silly or poor or problematic–I love the whole experience. Plus, a few winter months of date nights planned? Win/Win.
The anticipation almost makes me forget that we are facing one of the longest months of the year with the shortest days and impending polar vortexes and blizzards. I will try to chronicle beyond insta stories this year. Anyone else along for this journey through the long, cold January? Oscars are February 9 and my tickets to our viewing party are purchased. Movie reviews to follow. Let’s go!