As a former (recovering?) film student, I take the Oscars very seriously. Perhaps too seriously, but what can I do? I love the movies, always have, and -- this is the part that has become the most important to me now, in my "advanced" age -- I also really, really enjoy watching people wearing clothes that cost more than my house.
Also: Neil Patrick Harris. I will watch anything he is in (and I actually HAVE, since I watched every. single. episode. of How I Met Your Mother).
So help me, I am a bonafide red-blooded American woman, despite all my attempts to avoid becoming such a creature for basically my entire life. I'm a stereotype. I make no excuses.
Used to be, back in the days when we were still dating, G and I would go out of our way if necessary to see all the nominated films. It was easier when we were in college and they would show movies on campus for $2. The hardest part about seeing Oscar movies back then was coming up with the $2. Then we got engaged and got jobs and got married and got a mortgage and got a kid ... and now we barely have time to change our underwear, let alone carve out countless hours to spend at the movies. (I won't even mention that $2 no longer buys a soda at the movies any more -- hell, you care barely get a movie theater box of Junior Mints at Target for less than that.)
I'll spare you all the long and boring details (TOO LATE, haha sucker!) and just get to the part I think you're waiting for anyway: "So, which Oscar-nominated movies did you actually see this year?" And perhaps as a corollary: "What did you think of them?"
Here you go. This is the entirety of the list of Oscar movies I've seen this year.
- Boyhood. I honestly can't say enough good things about this movie. It's the best movie I've seen in a long time, perhaps ever. Go see it and get back to me. (You can probably still get it at Redbox, which has been a godsend to patient cinephiles with nice TV's at home.) Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke were both beyond fantastic in this movie. I never really gave much thought to Richard Linklater's films (not usually my thing), but I have since reconsidered. I think it would be super if this wins Best Picture, as it is expected to. I usually root against the frontrunner, but I can't in this case.
- Gone Girl. We liked this one well enough. I'd read the book before we saw the movie; my husband didn't. I was not a particular fan of Rosamund Pike in this movie, but I'm not sure it's her fault; could have been the character. Ben Affleck was perfect, which are words I never thought I'd ever say.
- Into the Woods. It was pretty much exactly as I expected it to be. G and I both liked it (me more than him, but that's because he is not always hot to trot on musicals). Chris Pine was a revelation and probably the second-best thing in this movie after James Corden. Maryl Streep absolutely DID NOT deserve a nom for this; they gave her one anyway because she's Meryl, and that's bullshit.
- Big Hero 6. Highly recommended. Will be picking up the Blu-Ray on Tuesday. Okay, Shae? Can we stop with the civil disobedience now? Jesus Mary and Simon Peter. Mommy and Daddy can sometimes bend the laws of physics and space-time, but we just don't have the power to make Big Cinema do what you want it to.
- How to Train Your Dragon 2. Liked it. Basically The Empire Strikes Back, but with, y'know, cartoon dragons. My husband and I very much enjoyed playing our favorite game of "Name That Voice" while watching.
- Maleficent. Yes, this movie got nominated for an Academy Award -- for Costumes, but you know what? An O is an O. It was fine. I like watching Angelina Jolie chew the hell out of some scenery.
- Guardians of the Galaxy. My favorite movie of the year, but I am biased because I love Chris Pratt so hard right now. Not the best movie of the year, but my favorite. Already own the Blu-Ray, and already watched it at least six times. No regrets.
- The Lego Movie. Nominated for Best Original Song for "Everything is Awesome" which you are probably singing right now. I am disappointed that this movie didn't get nominated for Best Animated Feature because I thought it was the best animated movie of the year (and I am absolutely in the bag for Disney).
- X-Men: Days of Future Past. Liked it a lot, but thought Peter Dinklage was criminally underutilized.
That's it. Eleventeen hundred nominated movies, and I've seen nine of them. I suck. I can't make predictions in any categories because I haven't even seen enough to clips to guess what way the Academy might want to go. Although I can say this: I really hope that J.K. Simmons wins for Whiplash -- a movie I haven't seen -- and I hope that Michael Keaton wins for Birdman -- again, a movie I haven't seen -- just because I like those guys a whole lot and want them to have lots of success and stuff.
And if Meryl wins again? I'm flipping a table.