Friday, January 15, 2016

Time for Oscar Project 2016!

The Oscar nominations are out, so it's time for my annual tradition of making a convoluted spreadsheet and driving all over the Boston area trying to see as many nominees as possible! And this year I'll take you with me. I'll post about each nominated movie that I see (roughly a post a day, maybe more on some days if things clump up, especially with the shorts), with both my general mini-review of the movie and whether I think it deserves the award in each of the categories in which it was nominated. (And if I think it should have been nominated in another category as well, I'll probably mention that too.) Then toward the end I'll write a post about each category and which nominee I think should win. I'm probably making this sound more confusing than it is; I'll maintain an index so you can easily find what you're looking for.

The numbers, as they stand: 57 titles are nominated this year in 24 categories, for a total of 121 nominations. I'd seen six of the nominated movies before the nominations were announced and saw Room last night, so I'm currently at 7 of 57 movies, representing 27 of 121 nominations, or 22%. I'm picking what to see based on a combination of interest, availability, and number of nominations - seeing The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, for example, will cover about another 20% of the nominations just between them, so they're priorities even though they're not necessarily the movies that most closely match my interests. (Though I should point out that one of the reasons I like doing this in the first place is that in past years it's gotten me to see a lot of very interesting movies I wouldn't have otherwise watched.) Looking at the list, I'm hoping to be able to see EVERYTHING that's nominated in at least two categories, and a good percentage of the rest.

As of this moment, I want Spotlight to win all of the categories in which it's nominated and some of the ones in which it isn't. It will be hard for anything to beat that one for me this year, but I have four more Best Picture nominees to see, so we'll see what happens. I have also really enjoyed Brooklyn, The Martian, and Room so far, and I'm hoping to see the rest of the Best Picture nominees soon so you'll have a post about each of them in the next few weeks.

A few caveats: Yes, I know the Oscars aren't the be-all and end-all of anything. As usual, I am disappointed in the lack of diversity in the nominations - no non-white acting nominees, no female directing nominees. This project isn't intended to signify that I believe this is an objective list of the best movies of the year or anything. I do this because it's fun, because it makes me see things I wouldn't otherwise see, because I like lists, and because it's interesting to think about both the movies themselves AND why they were nominated and what that says about our culture.

And a note: I go to matinees and small theaters when possible, but this project isn't cheap. As I mentioned on Twitter last night, I don't have any screeners or anything, so aside from the few titles that are streaming legally for free, I'm paying for theater tickets or rentals or downloads. If you enjoy reading about this and want to kick in a buck or two toward movie tickets, please head over to my Patreon page. Thanks!

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