Weighing the merits of Oscar-movie bingeing

People think I’m crazy trying to see all of the Oscar-nominated movies in every category. My husband says: “Don’t go see something just because you haven’t seen it.”

I guess he means I should use more discretion based on buzz.

Therein lies the rub. The fact something is nominated is enough buzz for me. Exercising no discretion is the point. Technically, I lean anti-buzz by seeing everything. My method rejects those marketing/media campaigns that seal the winner before the envelope gets unsealed.

Sure, someone had to do some marketing just to get on the nominees’ list. But most of them have no chance in Jupiter of winning. Predicting the winner isn’t what this is about. It’s not who will win but who should win that interests me. The two are rarely aligned.

I’m not a moviegoing addict. (Is that denial speaking?) If I were, I would see all the crap out there and go to the movies every week. I don’t. I see maybe four first-run movies a year. When the nominations come out in January, however, I go looking to be inspired. I want to sample la crème de la crème, but I don’t have time to just throw darts, nor do I want some Google or Amazon search engine analyzing my “tastes” and saying: “If you liked that, you’ll like this.”

Nope, it’s diversity I seek. Pure who-woulda-thunk-it-gee-whiz discovery. I use the list of nominees as a starting point, but typically my muse is holed up far down the list.

I’m also interested in discovering what themes have bubbled up, like water. What the latest commentary on society — humanity — might be, as reflected by these artists.

Filmmaking is an art, so what better place to sample rich nibbles than from those who stretch the envelope with experimental shorts?

dripped-1-510x286One particular animated short, which didn’t even get nominated but is on the “highly commended” list, sums it up for me this year. It comes from France and translates as “Dripped.” Luckily, the folks who put out the Academy members’ voting reel didn’t have enough nominees to fill it up — attention spans are shrinking, so the animated nominees are shorter than ever — and they included some also-rans.

“Dripped” is about an art thief who fills his walls with master works, and then eats them.

chez-eddy-dripped-surface-and-surfaceHe gets a momentary high by transforming into the theme of the work, whether a cherubic angel or a cubist monstrosity. He ingests all of the art in his possession then glumly stares at empty walls. Having depleted his sources, he gets resourceful and tries his hand at creating his own art. When he eats his own work, though, it sickens him. He retches in disgust. His creations just aren’t good enough. And doesn’t every artist feel this way in the beginning?

Eventually, he drips some paint where he hadn’t intended … and the dam of inspiration bursts open. He creates a style, eats it and is transformed into beautiful drips of paint that somersault joyfully along city streets.

Cut to the art gallery, where his own works of dripped paint now line the walls. He’s arrived.

d1And so it goes for artists. Everything stinks for a while, but at least you try, while sampling other great works dripping with inspiration. Maybe you aren’t exactly stealing ideas, but something rubs off and allows your own style or idea to break through.

That’s what I’m doing here: bingeing on art. Insatiably. The message for us all here is “I coulda been a contender.”

There’s no shame in being an also-ran, Drippers, because it means at least you ran.

Where I stand as of today:

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • The Master
  • Flight
  • The Impossible
  • The Sessions
  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits — may catch it On Demand. not necessary, as I’ve already seen animated feature winner, shhh.
  • Wreck-It Ralph — will catch it at second-run theater for $2
  • Anna Karenina — I’ve passed up many chances to see this … somehow can’t get up for it, but it’s now On Demand, so no excuses
  • Skyfall
  • Mirror Mirror — On Demand. If time.
  • 5 Broken Cameras — found it on free Internet download.
  • The Gatekeepers — Opens in D.C. Friday, plan to see it
  • How to Survive a Plague — CAN’T FIND IT. won’t see it.
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching for Sugar Man — will catch it On Demand.
  • Hitchcock — at last! On Demand.
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — will see it at Smithsonian IMAX this weekend.
  • Chasing Ice — will download song it’s nominated for, at least.
  • Ted — My ultimate anti-buzz demonstration: I refuse to see this, despite the fact creator Seth MacFarlane is hosting the Academy Awards show and I do like teddy bears. I will download the song, tho.
  • Kon-Tiki (Norway)
  • No (Chile) — doesn’t open locally until March 1, but found it on free Internet download.
  • A Royal Affair (Denmark) — one local theater is still showing it. Hoping it lasts through the weekend. Otherwise, don’t care, because it looks a lot like “Anna Karenina,” plus “Amour” will win this category.
  • War Witch (Canada) — CAN’T FIND IT. probably won’t see it.
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Prometheus — available On Demand.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman
  • Moonrise Kingdom — available On Demand, and this WILL be the next one I rent. Writing categories are a must for me.

SHORTS — It’s a wrap! (My picks, in an upcoming post.)

  • Inocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption
  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
  • Paperman
  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew
  • Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)
  • Henry