Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Watching Another Oscar Movie Marathon

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Watching Another Oscar Movie Marathon

Bill and Carol at the Oscar Movie Marathon
AMC Esplanade Dine-In Theatre
We started this last year and this year we did it again. We watched an Oscar Movie Marathon, all the nominees for Best Picture, in two Saturdays, February 22 and March 1, for $50. We wore our most comfy clothes and came in early.  The couple beside us said they have been doing it for the past ten years. Like them, we have found the experience fun and thought-provoking.  During the interval  of twenty minutes or so between movies, Bill and I and neighbors discuss the merits and demerits of each movie and the performances of the actors/actresses, etc. All our antennae seem more heightened.

menu and showcase book
And this year we tweaked it a little more. We chose to see it at the AMC Esplanade in Phoenix, a dine-in-theatre. We scrimped on refillable popcorn and pizza slices last year in Seattle. We thought we would pamper our aging selves this year with real food and drinks! So we grazed on appetizer samplers and pizza supreme together with margarita and red wine on the first Saturday. On the next one we chose lots of popcorn and chicken quesadillas!  We also ran away with four prizes in the Oscar Trivia Quiz they held before every movie and won 2 free desserts and 2 prized movie posters! Here are examples:

it was full-packedAdd caption
1. American Hustle was nominated for all 4 acting categories. Which 2 movies won Best Picture after such nominations, too?
2. June Squibb, 84, and Bruce Dern, 77, are the oldest female and male stars in a Best Picture nominee. Who did they surpass?
3. Scarlett Johnanssen’s voice was brought in to replace whose voice in Her? 
4. Where and what was Barkhad Abdi doing when he was discovered for this first acting job in Captain Phillips?
5. For which Best Director nominee was it the first nomination?
6. This was Judi Dench’s 7th Oscar nomination. Another actress has received more. Who and how many?
7. Wolf of Wall Street is 180 minutes long. What other picture nominated for Best Picture was longer and by how much?
8. Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt’s collaboration on 12 Years a Slave is the third. What were the other two?
9. How many pounds did Matthew McConaughey lose for Dallas Buyers Club?

Answers are found below!!!

The first day, February 22, featured four true stories and on the second day, March 1, another true story plus 4 fictional ones. We had already seen Gravity in 3D before so we were able to skip out early and spent about the same time on the second group of five movies watching only 4.  Here’s a summary of our take on each, in the order we watched them, along 8 categories which do not have other films that we have not watched nominated :

Philomena: This is a very charming drama/comedy and Judi Dench was superb in her understated portrayal of a little old Irish Catholic lady guilt-ridden all her life and quite unassuming. The forgiveness scene at the full circle end with everything turning wintry white from spring and fall before is most memorable. Possible Best Picture, Best Actress. For once Bill liked a girlie movie!

Dallas Buyers Club: Make-up artists Adruitha Lee et al did a miraculous job of making Mathew McConaughey look even more like a stereotypically thin AIDS victim than his 38 pound weight loss would have done, more realistic than Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. And Jared Leto as the transvestite Rayon matched McConaughey’s performance toe-to-toe. The prescription drug industry angle is also not cliché-ish. Possible Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor.

The Wolf of Wall Street: Seeing McConaughey in a regular role at the start of this movie as di Caprio's mentor was great right after completing Dallas Buyers Club! But apart from the laughs elicited by the funny antics about life’s excesses, in the end it was just too long and too overdone. Perhaps Martin Scorsese could not decide which scenes to splice and decided to be excessive about the whole movie…all 180 minutes of it!

12 Years a Slave: Although the twist of being a free man before being kidnapped into slavery is new, the anguish of black men and women in the era before the Civil War has been well done several times, so is not new.  There were too many long scenes of just looking at Ejiofor’s face, handsome though he may be.  But his performance is creditable. Possible Best Production Design.

Nebraska: Very interesting cinematography, in black and white, of scenes we have seen during our cross-country runs of America. It is both funny, especially about the love between husband and wife, and poignant, especially about the love of a son for the father. Possible Best Supporting Actress.

Captain Phillips. Exciting and gripping action, especially towards the end, it is a look at the very current problem of piracy in the high seas. It is a highly entertaining box-office movie. But the many close-up moving scenes were not pleasant for us.

the Oscar Trivia guy
Her.  It is a very interesting take on people and our increasing addiction to computers and software. We were glad that both of them reverted back to reality in the end. It was also nice and cool artistry in colors, predominantly orange and yellow hues on drab backgrounds. Possible Best Production Design.

American Hustle. It was a slick/smooth movie from beginning to end with an all-around cast who delivered escellent performances; that is why it got nominations for all four acting categories. There was laughter, drama, and action with a lot of twists at the end. Possible Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Film Editing.

Gravity. It is an amazing recreation of what is currently possible in outer space. Sandra Bullock whose superb performance was the bedrock of the movie was aided by terrific special effects! She took us with her to the great beyond. Possible Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Production Design, Best Film Editing.

special lanyards for everyone
Last year, we guessed correctly for the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, but not for Best Picture. This year, here’s our fearless forecast on more categories: BEST PICTURE, Gravity, BEST ACTRESS, Sandra Bullock, BEST ACTOR, Matthew McConnaughey, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, June Squibb, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, Jared Leto, BEST DIRECTOR, Alfonso Cuaron, BEST FILM EDITING, Gravity. We are 4-3. What can we say? There was an obvious split in the Academy!

1. From Here To Eternity and Mrs. Miniver.
2. Peggy Ashcroft, 77 and Henry Fonda, 76
3. Samantha Morton
4. a limo driver in Minneapolis
5. Alfonso Cuaron
6. Meryl Streep, 18
7. Titanic, 5 minutes longer
8. Inglorious Bastards and The Counselor
9. 38 


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  2. Sounds like a good way to see them all. Good luck on your predictions . Seems like the "pros" disagree with you

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