As I've blogged about before, Tom and I challenge ourselves each year to see all of the Oscar-nominated movies before Oscars night. (Because it's a whole lot more fun to watch the Oscars when you know the movies, y'know?)
It's a tough challenge. Because once the nominees are announced (January 23 this year), it's really hard to find and see all the movies before The Big Night (March 4 this year). But we have a strategy: We start following likely contenders in October . . . when the movies begin their first runs. By the time the nominations are announced, we're usually already in good shape in terms of seeing most of the movies. (Last year, we had actually seen all the nominees for Best Picture, Best Director, all actor/actress awards, and all the writing awards far in advance of the Oscars.)
And it's fun! We hardly go to the movies at all . . . except for what I call "peak movie season". Which starts right about now -- once the major fall film festivals (Venice, Toronto, and Telluride) are over, and all the contending movies begin flooding the theaters.
Our strategy? I do a bit of research, and then I create a list. . .
I read summaries of the films-to-watch coming out of the festivals, and then I check out some of the sites that follow the movies. Then, I research the theater release dates of the movies -- and watch for them to come to a theater-near-me. It helps to know what movies you're looking for ahead of time -- so you don't miss those more obscure films or any of the early-releases. And many of the best/supporting actress/actor films are not the same as the best picture nominees, so you need to cast a wide net if you're going for maximum exposure.
Our biggest challenge this year? We've lost a local theater that regularly brought in limited-release films and not-so-mass-market films. We are left with only the big chain theaters now -- and so we may be scrambling a bit more than usual this year to see some of the less-hyped movies.
We officially began our movie quest last weekend -- when we headed off to see Blade Runner 2049 -- which is getting Oscar-buzz for cinematic excellence, supporting actor potential for Harrison Ford, and possibly best picture. (I think that's a stretch -- but recall Mad Max Fury Road a couple of years ago. . . )
If you're interested in playing along, I'll be glad to share my research (release dates, etc.). I can tell you that the movies with the most Oscar-buzz out of the fall festivals - the more likely best picture nominees - include Call Me By Your Name (look for it in theaters after 11/24), Lady Bird (in theaters after 11/3), The Shape of Water (limited release 12/8), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (limited release 11/10).*
In the meantime, Tom and I will be catching up on some already-available-for-rent movies (on iTunes, for example) that get mentioned for best/supporting actor/actress potential: The Big Sick, Get Out, The Beguiled, Wonder Woman. And we may try to catch Battle of the Sexes in our local theatre while it's still around. Even if none of these movies turn out to be nominated for anything, we'll still have a good time watching.
So. What do you think? Let's go to the movies!
* My wild-guess this year? After all the Hollywood drama over the past couple of weeks, I'm looking for independent and/or women-directed films to get a nod this year. Just weighing in early here.