Saturday, February 11, 2017

Seeing 'em all

For the first time in a while, I will have seen all the best picture nominees before the Oscar ceremony airs.

Okay, "a while" is not really that long -- I last did it in 2012. I thought there was a chance that I had never accomplished this since the field expanded to as many as ten nominees (but usually exactly nine, right?), but it turns out I did do it that year, thanks to a fortuitous limited release of Amour in Los Angeles before my ranking deadline. The reason I didn't do it other years was not that I didn't have the opportunity, just more like once I close off my list from the previous year, I usually turn the page, expecting to catch up on the ones I missed at some unspecified future date.

The task is especially difficult to accomplish in Australia, even with a concerted effort. The last best picture nominee still has not been released yet. Hidden Figures opens next Thursday, a mere ten days before the ceremony. That doesn't affect me, though, as I saw it on our last night in the U.S. last month. I also saw Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea on that trip, but they have both now opened here and I might have prioritized them even though my list had already closed by the date of their release.

The capper to this year's nine nominees came Tuesday, when I went to an "advanced" screening of Fences in order to review it for its Thursday release. This had all the makings of the token best picture nominee that I wouldn't catch until that unspecified future date, which in the last few years has included films I still haven't seen (like Philomena and Brooklyn) and ones I did eventually see but not until much later (The Wolf of Wall Street). But when my editor could not go to the screening and asked if I would review it instead, it helped complete my collection of 2016 Oscar nominees. (And I'm glad I went, since I liked the movie more than I was expecting to. You can read my review here.)

I suppose this is not in itself such an exciting thing to write a post about, but I've been busy with other things and haven't been watching a lot lately. (I thought I might write about last night's viewing of Army of Darkness, my first rewatch in nearly two months, but I didn't find I had much additional to say about a movie that is only really awesome in its first half-hour.)

So since I am writing about it, I thought I would take a quick peak on the other years where I saw all the nominees before the Oscars aired:

2012 - For posterity: Argo, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

2010 - There were ten nominees in 2010? How don't I remember that? Oh wait -- that's when it was exactly ten nominees for a few years there. Anyway, I saw Inception, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Fighter, Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right, True Grit and Winter's Bone before the ceremony -- before my list closed, in fact. So this year will probably always hold the record for the most number of best picture nominees in a year in which I saw them all before the ceremony, since having a full slate of ten nominees again seems unlikely at best.

2008 - Pretty easy when there were only five: Milk, The Reader, Frost/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire. It was a good year for best picture nominees, as even my lowest ranked of these (The Reader) was #27 on my list (out of 87).

2007 - Michael Clayton, Juno, Atonement, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men

2003 - The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Seabiscuit, Mystic River

2001 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, Moulin Rouge!

2000 - Gladiator, Chocolat, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

1998 - Shakespeare in Love, The Thin Red Line, Elizabeth, Saving Private Ryan, Life is Beautiful

1997 - Titanic, L.A. Confidential, Good Will Hunting, The Full Monty, As Good As It Gets

1995 - Braveheart, Babe, Sense and Sensibility, Il Postino, Apollo 13

So glad I committed that to permanence, aren't you? It was highly instructive and not at all tedious.

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