When the nominees for the 2018 Academy Awards were released, I had coincidentally and unintentionally already seen eight of the nine nominees for best picture. I cannot see myself ever enjoying football on my own accord, so I figured that I might as well be involved in at least one mid-winter cultural phenomenon. That being said, I promptly saw the final film and just like that, I was “in” on the season that film junkies everywhere live for.
Tweeting about “Call Me By Your Name” or posting about Harry Styles’ surprisingly decent acting skills in “Dunkirk” was about the closest I’d ever be to a film student, but I decided to roll with this false identity that will now reveal itself from December to February each year. This year, I’m slowly but surely working through the list of best picture nominees before the ceremony on Feb. 24, and I think you should too! Here are just a few benefits of doing so.
1. The Academy Awards are the easiest major award show to become acquainted with.
Face it. There’s not enough time in the day to binge watch every Emmy-nominated TV show; you probably do not have the patience to listen to each of the hundreds of artists nominated for Grammys; and, unless you live in New York City and have a ton of extra money to throw around, you are likely not going to see every Tony-nominated show on Broadway.
Each year, with the rise of streaming services, film becomes a more accessible medium, making the Academy Awards the easiest major award show to be “in” on.
2. You’ll be able to predict the winners.
What do the Academy Awards have in common with the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby? People love to place their bets on who will win. While most Oscar viewers will not be betting money on movies (nor do I recommend that you do), the prediction aspect is a lot of fun.
Different sites and magazines offer “Oscar ballots” where viewers can predict and keep track of how many they have guessed correctly. Some groups of friends or co-workers host competitions to see who can make the most correct predictions.
Of course, you can always read the predictions published by critics in the days leading up to the awards and let their opinions influence you (that’s what I did for quite a few years.) However, by watching all of the best picture nominees you will have a more personal, authentic insight, which is typically at the core of the most nominations and predictions. Not to mention, you’ll actually know what the heck you’re talking about.
3. You’ll be exposed to movies you wouldn’t normally choose to watch.
When you make a promise to yourself to complete a predetermined list of anything, there is bound to be at least one thing on the list that you are not super excited about. Even the biggest cinephiles will admit that they are not the biggest fans of superheroes or biopics.
However, it can be beneficial to diversify your watch-list. Who knows? You may discover that you actually enjoy war films or cheesy comedies. Stepping out of your cinematic comfort zone also gives you the opportunity to educate yourself on the different time periods, settings and ways of life represented in this year’s Academy Award nominees.
4. You’ll be supporting local theaters.
Sure, streaming services are great, and watching movies in the comfort of your own bed is convenient, but there is something about the shared experience of watching a film on the big screen, surrounded by a room full of strangers, that just can’t be replaced (the popcorn is a great bonus, too).
Small theaters, especially, offer a unique and intimate experience. Many of these small theaters struggle to stay afloat but through your pursuit of total Academy Award domination, you will be supporting them all season long!
So, what are the 2019 nominees, and where can I watch them?
“Black Panther,” a blockbuster hit from Marvel, follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he becomes the new leader of his home country of Wakanda. The film can currently be streamed on Netflix.
“Blackkklansman,” set in Colorado Springs in the 1970s, follows two police officers, one African American (John David Washington) and the other Jewish (Adam Driver), as they attempt an undercover mission to expose the Ku Klux Klan. “Blackkklansman” is currently available for purchase on Amazon Prime video.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” covers the life and times of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) as Queen rises to fame throughout the 1970s and ’80s. The film, which was released back in November, is still being widely shown in theaters.
“The Favourite” follows the battle between cousins Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) to become the favorite of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). The 18th-century England period piece is currently being shown in theaters.
“Green Book” chronicles a southern road trip in the 1960s, shared between an Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortenson) and an African-American musician (Mahershala Ali). “Green Book” can currently be seen in theaters.
“Roma,” Netflix’s first best picture nominee, tells the story of a young domestic worker (Yalitza Aparicio) and her experiences in 1970s Mexico City. “Roma” can be viewed primarily on Netflix, but is also been shown in select theaters across the country.
“A Star Is Born,” the third remake of the original 1937 film starring Janet Gaynor, documents the ups and downs of the professional and personal relationship between musicians Ally (Lady Gaga) and Jackson (Bradley Cooper) as Ally rises from obscurity to fame. The film is still being shown in a few theaters but is likely to be rereleased more widely in the coming weeks.
“Vice” is a biopic following former vice president Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) after George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) chooses him as his running mate in the 2000 presidential election. “Vice” is currently in theaters.
You can catch the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. Happy watching!