Water under the Red Carpet

H2O is a major player in movies nominated for Oscars 2013. (UPDATE from the Red Carpet: DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, when asked why there was such an amazing field of movies and talent this year, replied: “There must be something in the water.”) If you need a drinking game for Sunday’s event, you might consider taking a swig each time you hear a plug for these water-saturated nominees.

Beasts of the Southern WildBeasts of the Southern Wild (up for Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Directing, Adapted Screenplay): Squatters living in the bayou are preyed upon by melting ice caps, furious storms and cataclysmic flooding.

reg_1024.lifeofpi.tigerswim.mh.072612Life of Pi (up for Best Picture, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Original Score, Original Song, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay): No biblical flooding here, but an ungodly storm capsizes a boat loaded with zoo animals, and it’s The Young Man and the Sea — only sub an adult Bengal tiger for the great marlin. Even the protagonist’s name, “Pi,” is short for “Piscine” — French for “pool” — and as a youth he’s dared to drink of holy water, which he does, before a priest helps quench his thirst for both water and every ounce of religion he can absorb.

the-impossible-movie-reviewThe Impossible (up for Actress in a Leading Role): In a word: tsunami.

runningwaterAmour (up for Best Picture, Best Actress, Directing, Foreign Language Film): Well, there was that running tap — Hitchcockian suspense!

The Master (up for Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role): This post-World War II intrigue has its share of, ahem, seamen [sic] and boats, but it’s more about a sailor who has lost his moral compass and his pursuit of spiritual cleansing — plus a dizzying consumption of rot-gut spirits.

Skyfall (up for Cinematography, Original Score, Original Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing): 007 plunges into the water after being “killed” and before his resurrection.

Les Misérables (up for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role Original Song, Costume Design, Makeup and Hair Styling, Production Design, Sound Mixing): Possibly the best shot since Titanic of a tilted boat takes your breath away in the opening scene, and although there’s water, water everywhere, you are immediately thirsty. Plus, it seems to rain a lot (A Little Fall of Rain never hurt anyone) and everyone sweats a lot, the audience cries big crocodile tears and there’s that whole sewer sequence.

Emotionally drenching Les Miz.

Emotionally drenching Les Miz.

Django Unchained (up for Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Original Screenplay): During one of Django’s visions, he sees his wife, Hilde, as something like the lady in the lake, misty-eyed and surrounded by mist.KonTiki

Kon Tiki (up for Foreign Language Film): Crossing  the South Pacific on a tippy raft in shark-infested waters — c’mon, dive in!

Moonrise Kingdom (up for Writing-Original Screenplay) Raging floods and raging hormones flow through this “camp” fairy tale of puppy love between two misfits. And aren’t we all misfits? Especially fun is the bit where the boy walks past one of those old sentry water fountains and plays with it, as we all did in school, just to marvel at how it worked.

Asad (up for Live-Action Short): South African/U.S. filmmakers track a young boy at the crossroads of becoming either a Somali pirate or legendary fisherman. An animal from the sea helps seal his fate.


There’s certainly no shortage of gorgeous water shots for movie lovers to drink in this year.

For your drinking game, you might even toss in “Flight” (about a high-functioning alcoholic who happens to be a commercial pilot) and the documentary short “Redemption,” about canning in New York City — people down on their luck who live off of recycling bottles and cans. Haven’t yet gotten to the drippy animated feature “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” or the “Chasing Ice” flick about the actual melting ice caps. Give me time.

Eeek. Running out of time.

Someone should make an app for Oscar marathoners

The Washington Post does a pretty good job rounding up locations for me -- despite the fact its redesigned print movie grid is utterly unreadable.

The Washington Post does a pretty good job rounding up locations for me — despite the fact its redesigned print movie grid is utterly unreadable.

I’ll bet there are a lot of us out there: movie die-hards who cram to see all of the Oscar-nominated films in the six weeks between January announcements and the gala February date — the same time period when nominees are getting fitted for gowns and tuxes and writing and rehearsing and rewriting their ad-libbed reactions to their awards.

Does anyone else appreciate how hard it is to plan out the times and routes to various theaters, often in other states, working around one’s work and social obligations?!?!?!? Not to mention incorporating On Demand and other avenues of scoring. Fandango and MovieFone are of no use when all you have is an iPhone 3, one tiny screen on which to map both showtimes and compass points, and you’re in a strange city (Chicago, for me), and half the phone numbers listed for theaters are disconnected or centralized at Regal headquarters, and you aren’t sure which theaters are worth their salt in concessions.

I spent a few hours last week in Chicago literally chasing movies — first figuring out which theaters were showing multiple titles that I still needed to see, so I could squeeze in a double feature on my one night free, then figuring out if it was close enough in rush-hour traffic, then trying to determine parking and how far I needed to walk. I missed several start times literally by 10 minutes, trudging through snow, and had to start again from square one, Googling and mapping. By the time I made it to a legit theater for a legit movie, I had time for only “Skyfall,” scratch the double feature.

We’d pay good money for such an app.

My old-school app that I keep folded up in my purse.

My old-school app that I keep folded up in my purse. Requires a peripheral called a “pen.”

Today, my plan is to see “The Master” and “The Impossible” — thus completing the “Top 6” categories that most movie fans aim for. Of course, I aim for more — 37 feature-film nominees, in every category, excluding “Ted,” which I refuse to see. Tomorrow it’s “Anna Karenina.” I’ve heard that one’s just as bad as “Ted.” Perhaps there’s time also for foreign film nominee “A Royal Affair,” playing at the same theater.

Would be heaven if I could just type these titles into an app and see ALL my options in the D.C. metro area. I also want to plug in my work schedule, commuting times and other commitments to block out the entire next week, fitting them in like puzzle pieces to ensure I can make it from one theater to the next in time for previews, and also know which theaters are changing up their shows next Friday, and to what. Like an old-fashioned newspaper grid. Plus a score card showing what I’ve seen and what’s left to see. Plus reminders on what awards the movies are up for before the titles begin. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?


My status, with checkmarks on what I’ve seen, as of this moment: 16, not even halfway, but I got a really really late start. How is your score card / dance card filling up?

  1. Amour
  2. Argo
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  4. Django Unchained
  5. Les Misérables
  6. Life of Pi
  7. Lincoln
  8. Silver Linings Playbook
  9. Zero Dark Thirty
  10. The Master
  11. Flight
  12. The Impossible
  13. The Sessions
  14. Brave
  15. Frankenweenie
  16. ParaNorman
  17. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  18. Wreck-It Ralph
  19. Anna Karenina
  20. Skyfall
  21. Mirror Mirror
  22. 5 Broken Cameras
  23. The Gatekeepers
  24. How to Survive a Plague
  25. The Invisible War
  26. Searching for Sugar Man
  27. Hitchcock
  28. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  29. Chasing Ice
  30. Ted
  31. Kon-Tiki (Norway)
  32. No (Chile)
  33. A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  34. War Witch (Canada)
  35. Marvel’s The Avengers
  36. Prometheus
  37. Snow White and the Huntsman
  38. Moonrise Kingdom

And I am “done” (fit to judge) these categories:

Best Picture


Film Editing

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing (same thing? c’mon.)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Seeing three more movies mentioned will give me seven more categories by tomorrow.

Actor in a Leading Role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Leading Role

Actress in a Supporting Role


Costume Design

Music (Original Score)

Still not good enough, not until I get Writing (Original Screenplay). My kingdom for a “Moonrise Kingdom” showing!!!