b Papa Dog's Blog: The Annual Exhausting Ramp-Up to Oscar Night

Papa Dog's Blog

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Annual Exhausting Ramp-Up to Oscar Night

It’s that time of year again, the time when I start trying to cram a year’s worth of mainstream filmgoing into thirty days, so as to have seen as many as possible of the movies on the Oscar ballot before Oscar night. All this is to ensure that I can make informed guesses on my ballot for my annual Oscar pool. I’ve actually done pretty well this year, with a number of the movies I saw during the course of the year turning up on the ballot with multiple nominations –
Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, Crash, Match Point, Cinderella Man, A History of Violence, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yes, that’s really a nominee, for Costume Design), Star Bores Ecchisode Three, and War of the Worlds – seen that lot, and that’s a large percentage of the ballot right there. I’ve made even further ground this weekend. Last night, Mama Dog and I saw Walk the Line and this morning I went by myself to see Munich. That’s ten nominations checked off the ballot right there. Not bad for one weekend. Still on the list: Hustle and Flow, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Transamerica, Pride and Prejudice, North Country, Junebug (whatever the hell that was), The Constant Gardener, Howl’s Moving Castle, Corpse Bride, Wallace and Gromit, King Kong, Memoirs of a Geisha, and The New World. I’m leaving out Chronicles of Narnia and the Harvey Potter movie because there are some lengths to which even I won’t go.

I don’t think either of the movies I saw this weekend pose a serious threat in most categories, and I surprised myself by enjoying Walk the Line more of the two. It’s essentially a remake of a movie from last year, with the “Ray Charles” character now named “Johnny Cash.” Seriously, except for the small matters of blindness and what tiny differences might have emerged growing up black vs. white in the pre-civil rights south, they led remarkably similar lives. This describes both guys: born dirt poor; lost a brother in childhood; became a famous musician; got addicted to (and busted for) drugs; screwed around on the wife; overcame demons to die rich, beloved, and happy.

Strangely, I also saw a parallel between Walk the Line and Munich. They’re both movies about young fathers whose jobs take them out on the road where they neglect their families and find themselves morally compromised. (One hero goes out to sing songs while the other goes out to assassinate terrorists; I’ll let you work out which is which.)

Anyway. I’m getting prepared. Those of you who are regular Oscar pool participants should be doing the same. Anyone out there who’s never entered the pool before but would like to give it a try, send me an email. All are welcome.


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