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How To Watch All 10 Oscar Movies in a Week

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Every year, I declare the same intention the way a tragic 1990s comic strip lady says, "Diet starts Monday!"

I say, "I am going to watch all 10 nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards!" I prepare to rest my chin on my fist at living room parties, to wax on about storytelling nuance and low-angle framing, to sneer, "Well, you know how Scorsese loves to subvert a traditional three-act structure" while spooning soft cheese onto an herby cracker.

Sigh. It would be so good, so aspirational, so brainy, so culturally competent. Nominations were announced on Jan. 23, leaving a month-plus to peck away at 2023?s finest film achievements. With just a week until the March 10 telecast, do you think I'm close? Hmm? Do you? Here is my Oscars record:

Three.

Never one to pass up a chance to drink pink wine in a theater and project feminist theory upon a giant Ryan Gosling, I saw "Barbie" with friends. My husband and I later watched "The Holdovers," a positive delight on a crispy winter night, sweetly comic, well-paced. I'm rooting for it, the favorite in my sad sack of three choices.

The third check mark goes to "Oppenheimer." We watched the Oscar front-runner in two viewings over the course of several days. One unwavering religious belief I hold is that no movie needs to be three hours. If a project lurches over two hours, the Lord said that's a prestige miniseries.

We watched as much "Oppenheimer" as possible before our eyes caught vitreous jelly floaters, and then put it down with the intention to return the next day.

"Do you want to watch the white men sit in rooms and talk?" I offered when the time came.

"What, tonight?!" he replied, as if I was suggesting we do shots of Patron and taxidermize a peacock. We did finish eventually, and I see why "Oppenheimer" is an artistic feat. Also, I will never watch this movie again.

 

A less delusional person would give up, but I think there's still a chance. Seeing seven highbrow movies in a week will take effort, money, a shifting of values and a possible dissolution of career and family. I invite you to join me.

First, we must dispense with people. There is simply no time to coordinate household moods, as one person will always be too tired, too busy, too mentally tapped to do anything but eat tuna from a packet. Furthermore, nearly every best picture nominee is rated R. With kids in the room, who can possibly pop on a foreign-language legal drama set in the French Alps? Oui? This week, we must consume cinema as solitary beings, crouching in closets with laptops, watching "Past Lives" and sobbing into an old sock.

Second, there's the issue of jobs. Does "needed to come to AMC Theatres to laugh, to cry, to care, because we need that, all of us," fall under federal protections? Look, I am not telling anyone to call in sick, though there are plenty of bugs going around. I'm not telling anyone to work with an earbud in or jiggle your cursor in Microsoft Teams every 10 minutes. I'm not telling my editor anything as she reads this. Move along.

Lastly, the cost. A quick tally of the titles I need to buy or rent comes to... $85.95, gag. That's on top of the monthly cost of streaming. I humbly posit, how is it possible to pay for 64 platforms and still lack options? People have bills! For $85.95, we could all buy our neglected families milkshakes and bottomless fries at Red Robin next to the movie theater.

Hmm, OK. I am glad we talked this out. It does, in fact, seem the best option might be embracing a world with no art deadlines, a world of discounted titles after awards season, a world where we might one day watch "Maestro" on a Delta flight. We can make a cheesy Totino's and be happy with medium-rich creative lives. We can go to sleep with our little eye floater friends while Googling "Cillian Murphy buccal fat." We can do anything we dare to dream. Therein, perhaps, lies the real movie magic.

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Stephanie Hayes is a columnist at the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. Follow her at @stephhayes on Twitter or @stephrhayes on Instagram.

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