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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Flick Chick: The Oscar Push

defazioheadshot_opIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! The Academy Awards are this Sunday. So print out your predictions sheet, place your bets and go over to your favorite aunt’s house for four hours of regulated praise of Hollywood’s most notable, white (literally, every nominated actor and actress is white), and recently overlooked actors and directors. You have seen all the nominees for best picture, right? Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash, American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything? Oh, come on now.

You really haven’t seen them all?

Oh. Maybe next year.

There is such a pressure to intellectually watch and comment on the Oscars. We feel as if we’ve wasted the entire year on binge watching “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix and rewatching old Disney Channel movies. We have to make up for our immaturity. We’re adults now — we watch the Oscars for the content rather than on who is dressed best. These nominations are thrust upon us in early January and are constantly nagging at us to get on it, watch these movies, have an opinion. As my aunt calls it, this is known as “the Oscar Push.”

We’re college students — why would we do this to ourselves? It’s midterm season (constantly) and we put another deadline on ourselves, as if we get off on being stressed. This year, so far, I’ve only seen three movies that are nominated. Three! This time last year I had already immersed myself in film critique and culture, and had already put myself on a pedestal for maybe almost being done. I love my movies, I love putting deadlines on myself, but stepping away from this time of year and taking my mental and physical health into account shows that no, I can’t take the time out to see Theory of Everything just yet with my two papers, quiz, and midterm on the horizon.

But that won’t stop me from trying. I’ve seen The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, and Birdman, all of which are works of art on their own and in different ways. Budapest was beautifully imagined and translated a story of wealth and justice into the minds of viewers with fantastical chase scenes and characters. Imitation brought to light a previously shrouded element of the winning of World War II with amazing acting and adapted plotline. Birdman took the glory of fame into its barest bones through magical realism, where a man struggles with mental illness, family concerns and reliving the glory days, all through two hours of what was edited to seem as one whole shot.

I am in no way a credible movie critic, I have no authority over what is a good film or not to the Academy and I am not able to influence the panel of privileged Hollywoodites to pick my favorite. And so I will not tell you which movie I find to be worthy of 2015’s Best Picture.

Despite its faults, I love this game. The anticipation, the suspense and the bragging rights I get after watching all the nominees make all the stress worth it. As someone who has way too high of expectations for myself, I can’t get enough. I love reasons to stress myself out. It’s exciting to see your favorite movie crew get what it deserves and be especially grateful in their acceptance speech as you cry at home. I’ll admit it, I haven’t seen all the nominees this year yet. I still have five days — that’s like a movie a day! I’ve done more. Last year I watched Wolf of Wall Street half an hour before the Oscars started. I’m a pro.

Though the Oscars should have little credibility in claiming what is a good or bad movie, I still love the built-in challenge it gives me every winter. The event is exciting, gives me a real purpose in life, and I get to spend my free time watching movies for a “purpose” rather than just to procrastinate. I have to distract myself from reality somehow, right?

Let me know, seriously, what you think of this year’s Best Picture Nominees! My family is tired of hearing it. Contact me on Twitter @emdefaz10 or by email at endefazio@ucdavis.edu.

Graphic by CA Aggie Graphic Design Team

Photo by CA Aggie Photo Team

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