Should You Marathon Oscar Nominees?

By  · Published on January 10th, 2017

Dear FSR

One filmgoer’s special offer is another’s torture.

At some point in your life, you’ve likely been faced with a question that has no solid answer. Some people may take such a puzzle to a trusted confidant, a friendly pastor, or the esteemed annals of Yahoo! Answers. But will they have the expertise needed to solve your most pressing film predicaments?

Think of Dear FSR as an impartial arbiter for all your film concerns. Boyfriend texting while you’re trying to show him your most precious Ozu? What’s the best way to confront the guy who snuck that pungent curry into your cramped theater? This is an advice column for film fans, by a film fan.

Dear FSR,

My local theater hosts an annual all-day watch party for all the Best Picture Oscar nominees. Tickets range from a $55 marathon pass to two $30 tickets if we wanted to see the nominees split over two days. I’ve done this in years past, staying up all night to see the likes of The Grand Budapest Hotel at 3:45 AM, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth it this year. It’s cold, I’m tired, and frankly, I’m just not sure if the movies will be worth it. For every Boyhood or Selma, there’s always an Imitation Game. What do you think?


Maybe Marathon Man

Dear Marathon Man,

Aside from the planning logistics you’d need to take into account (when do you eat? Do you try to sleep an excessive amount beforehand? When are bathroom breaks?) this just isn’t how people were meant to see movies. There’s a reason that there’s something called the “film festival bubble.” After seeing a certain amount of movies in an impossibly short time, your brain can’t really process additional information. The lights, sounds, words, and ideas all blend together in your deranged mind. Your eyes start to look like the Ludovico technique from A Clockwork Orange, only with metal clasps of your own devising.

You’re paying for the privilege of suffering the same awards season burnout as people that watch movies professionally. The upside of course, is that now you’ll be one of the most well-informed Oscars viewers in your circle of peers. Here’s the thing though: seeing all the Best Picture nominees doesn’t mean you’ll know what’ll win any better than the rest of us.

Awards bloggers see them all every year – so do most full-time critics. Do they predict the winner every year? If they did, we wouldn’t have had Crash over Brokeback Mountain. Or, at least, we would’ve had the uproar before instead of after. This isn’t to knock the idea of seeing all the nominees. It’s a miracle if anyone sees all the awards contenders – including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters. But why limit yourself to the – usually boring – Best Picture nominees?

If you have it in your mind to see all of SOMETHING, something that a voting body has determined as “the best,” why not get outside the box you’ve put yourself in and watch all of the Foreign Film nominees or Best Original Screenplays? Hell, get weird and watch the Best Short Films. You could even watch all of them in a row without using up your whole day and/or sanity.

They’d definitely be harder to track down, but won’t that make it more fun? The search, the esotericism, the subsequent evangelism. You won’t just be the only one of your friends to have seen them all and have some clout in the Oscar betting pool, you’ll be one of the only people in the nation to have heard of some of these pieces of underserved art. And you can introduce your friends to them. Plus, everyone forgets about the smaller categories which, if you’re a betting man, add up to much more than the single Best Picture category. Those are also usually a bit more clear cut (look for people related to Academy voters) which’ll give you the edge by knowing literally anything about them.

But, if you’re absolutely dead set on seeing the marathon, be sure to snack wisely (not theater fodder, I’m talking black coffee and energy bars), bring back support and eyedrops, and take as many bathroom breaks as you need. You’ll be able to see these movies again and UTIs are a real and ever-present danger.



Do you have a question for FSR? Tweet us with the hashtag #DearFSR, ask in the comments, use our member’s only chat, or e-mail us at [email protected]

We’ll be back answering your questions every Tuesday!

Related Topics:

Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).