The Day Before the Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations come out tomorrow morning. Last year, for the first time, I decided to see all 53 nominated films — everything, in every category, including documentaries (full-length and short), animated films (full-length and short), foreign films, costume nominees, makeup nominees. It was stressful as hell, partly because I tend to make things stressful when they don’t need to be. I would lie in bed at night, worrying about how many films I had left and how many days were left to see them.

I didn’t start out planning to see everything. It just sort of happened. In the past, I hadn’t even made a concerted effort to see all the Best Picture nominees. But last year I decided to do that, and it gradually grew from there until I realized it seemed possible to see everything.

Here’s the chart I made and used last year to keep tabs on everything I saw. At the bottom of the page is the calendar of what I saw and when.

I saw some good films I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. In documentaries, I got to see The Invisible War, Searching for Sugarman, and The Gatekeepers, but I also had to sit through 5 Broken Cameras. The only foreign film nominee I really liked was Amour, which I would have seen anyway because it was also nominated for Best Picture. A Royal Affair was entertaining but a potboiler, and I didn’t get much out of the other three.

I’ve decided I’m not doing it again this year. I will try to see all the major nominees, and all the good nominees, and I’m going to keep track of what I’ve seen and what I haven’t. But I’m not going to see Bad Grandpa just because it gets nominated for Best Makeup, and I’m not going to sit through a movie just because it got nominated for Best Original Song. I don’t care about predicting winners or competing in an Oscar pool; I just like seeing great movies. But just because something gets an Oscar nomination in a minor category doesn’t mean it’s one of the best movies of the year.

So, I’m not doing it again.

Of course, I say that now. We’ll see how I feel in a month.

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