I don’t want to alarm anybody, but we’re just under seven weeks from the 2017 Oscars. No, we don’t even know who the nominees are yet, but the Golden Globes are over, which means that movie snobs, er, buffs everywhere can turn their attention to the big show, where we’ll all be reminded how bad movies that people actually go see really are.
Are you ready for that? You might think you are. Maybe you watched the Globes and sent out the odd tweet or two. Maybe you gave a little shout when Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress. Maybe you’re already sick of La La Land, even though you haven’t seen it. The specifics aren’t all that important. What is important is that you understand just how unprepared you really are for the big show on February 26.
Fear not; I’m here to help.
We’re in this together, after all. How else are we supposed to enjoy 21st century award shows if not by issuing and responding to flippant yet decisive red-hot takes on social media for the Oscars’ entire nine-hour runtime? There’s no going it alone on this. It takes a village. There is no “I” in “team.” Sorry, I’m just priming you for all the clichÃ©s you’re sure to hear six weeks from this Sunday.
Don’t See All the Movies
This seems counterintuitive, but hear me out. Logic would dictate that actually seeing all of the major nominees would improve your Oscars viewing (and tweeting) experience. You’d get all the in-jokes during Chris Rock’s monologue, and you could make measured, informed opinions about who deserves each big award throughout the night. Wrong. Seeing all the movies is only going to bring thoughtful balance to your assessments and make it way less likely that you’ll irrationally blow a gasket over a movie you’ve never seen taking home an award you don’t care about. Oscars night is not the time to be acting all level-headed. Instead, pick just a few of the major nominees (plus a dark horse; more on that later), and treat them like they’re your adopted children for the night. And nobody messes with your babies. That way, when Manchester by the Sea beats out, say, Arrival for best cinematography or whatever, you can cathartically smash a dinner plate against your wall instead of sitting there like, “Well, I thought Arrival was beautifully shot, but I can see why the gave it to Manchester by the Sea.” Boooo! Nobody on Twitter has time for your measured opinions. Go on. Let out your inner Kanye.
Pick a Dark Horse
When the Oscar nominations come out on January 24th, there will undoubtedly be a bunch of movies you’ve never heard of sprinkled in amongst the major players. It is essential that you watch one of these movies, then become irrationally attached to it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to complain about how overlooked it is, and complaining about overlooked movies is maybe the purest distillation of what watching the Oscars (and caring about them in the first place) is all about.
Think about it: everybody who cares about the Oscars is, on some level, a movie snob. They (we) are totally fine with a bunch of industry elites getting together every year and dictating to the world at large which movies and performances should be deemed capital-G Great. Earlier, when I made that joke about how the Oscars favor movies that a very small percentage of the viewing public will actually see? That was just me covering up my elitist insecurity about doing the exact same thing.
Watching the Oscars is a snobbery competition between people who are already operating at a high snobbery level to begin with. So, go on. Watch The Lobster or Florence Foster Jenkins or Elle, then bite down on that bone and don’t let go. Or, if you want to take your game to a new level, spend the entire night harping about a movie that combines middling box office receipts with nearly no nominations. I went back-to-back-to-back this with little trick back from 2005-2007 (Brick, Stranger than Fiction, and Children of Men, respectively). Words cannot describe how satisfactory it was. I was a god among men. If only Twitter had been around to hear my cries.
Take the Specific and Make it General
On the surface, it may seem like having meaningful reactions to the Oscars has something to do with how well you can articulate your thoughts about a given year’s nominees and winners. But a hot take about why Moonlight deserves a screenplay award over Fences simply isn’t enough. It’s double-A ball, if you want to know the truth. To reach the major leagues, you have to use that quick trigger instinct and apply to something much, much more substantial.
All you mountain-from-molehill superstars, it’s your time to shine.
You might think is “Moonlight deserves the Best Adapted Screenplay award because (insert reasons here; it doesn’t really matter when you get to this point).” But what you say is “MOONLIGHT WAS ROBBED!!! Just shows Hollywood is scared of anything and anybody new – and yes I said it: Denzel’s OVERRATED!!!”
See, it’s critically important that you use your immediate thoughts about these individual films to make huge, sweeping, irresponsible statements about their stars, their genres, the state of the movie industry, or (and this one gets bonus points) our society as a whole (cue ominous drums). If you can’t pull off this critical third piece of the puzzle, then all your hard work from steps one and two are for nothing.
Nobody said this would be easy, but in a crowded sea of social media overreaction, the only way you’re going to stand out is if you’re not afraid to shamelessly lose all sense of perspective.
Go ahead. You’ve got just under seven weeks to get ready. Make me proud.