Friday, January 18, 2013

The Oscars are coming! The Oscars are coming!

Remain calm.   

There’s still time to see all the Academy Award nominated films before February 24th.  So you can make informed decisions on your ballot.  Of course!  Priorities people! 

Some of us are conscientious.  Some of us make a concerted effort.  Even if it requires a marathon.  Or two. 

For these reasons, it’s all the more irritating when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences flings a knuckle ball at those of us who are doing our due diligence.   

We’re paying attention.  Tuned into the buzz.  Faithfully.  Dutifully.      

Then, out of Ursa Minor comes “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”  

I mean really, it’s just not fair.  But that’s OK.  I’ll work it in.  Who am I to say that Quvenzhane` Wallis doesn’t deserve a nod?  At 6 years old, or 11, or 5 and a half, she must have turned in a stunning performance.  Her personal best.  I’ll go.  I’ll go! 

I figure if I see thirteen movies between now and the end of February, I will have seen all the best picture nominees, all the nominated actors and actresses in lead and supporting roles; witnessed the best work of the most esteemed directors and talented screenwriters; laughed; cried; turned away in horror; spent $97.50 in admissions and another $123.50 on small bags of oily popcorn and small cups of watery Coke for a total of $221.00; sat in gloomy and cold theatres for 26 hours and loved every minute.   

My favorite Christmas gift that I thought I’d never use?  My new iPhone5 from Apple. My husband insisted.   

(When the young men behind the counter checked my average usage before recommending a new billing plan, I thought they might laugh at me; but they just looked puzzled.  “Eight minutes?” the first one said.  The other leaned in, squinting at the screen.  “Eight minutes,” he confirmed. 

Then they turned in unison to look at me with expressions of true wonder – like I was a unicorn or the fading image of a do-do bird.  I talked an average of eight minutes a month on my old flip phone.  You can see why I was dubious about the upgrade, but…)  

Best feature on the iPhone5?  The Fandango app.  It’s free and so cool and a must have for the dedicated Oscar aficionado. 

You can sit in the Safeway parking lot and decide right then and there to go to the movies, unless you bought ice cream.  Fandango will tell you that “Argo” is playing close by in 30 minutes and “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Life of Pi” in 3D are within reach after that. 

You can watch trailers, buy your tickets, map your path of travel, and even submit your reviews afterward.  OMG.  I’m a complete convert.   

So not to worry.  Thirteen movies?  It’s doable!  It’s totally doable.  We have 5 weeks!  Are you kidding?  That’s no step for a stepper!  The hardest part is to chase down the films that have already been showing so long that they’re retreating into the nether regions of limited showings.   

And of course, there’s “Amour.”  Gotta find “Amour.”  What?  You’ve never heard of it?  Me neither, but there it is.  First in alpha order of the nominees for Best Picture.  And get this:  it’s also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film!  Those crazy Austrians!  They must have some serious dirt on members of the Academy! 

I know.  By now you’re shaking your head.  “Oh Carolyn,” you might be saying.  “Don’t you know we’ve got to raise the debt ceiling?  What about guns, Carolyn?  Guns!  And how can you enjoy a movie when the bicycling world is reeling with Lance Armstrong’s shocking revelations?” 

My point exactly.  That stuff’s going on.  And what are you going to do?  You can go onto Facebook and express your opinions to those who already agree with you.  Or, you can tangle with those whom you’ll never convince.  You can stress out over the financial security of our beloved country, or get angry with the officials we’ve elected who only pose and play-act when we need them most.  

Or, for a couple of hours, you can sit in the dark with greasy fingers and be carried away by a great story of human struggle, love, honor and redemption.   

Priorities people.