Oscar Fever

4 Feb

You might think that being a movie buff is contradictory to being a bibliophile – after all, the two media compete for your attention, your time, your money. Why spend two hours watching a movie when you can spend those hours reading, right? Most of the year, I agree. I’d usually rather spend my time with a book than with a movie. 

But in the month or two leading up to the Oscar ceremony, I’m an unapologetic movie fanatic. I make it a personal goal every year to see as many of the 50+ films nominated – even those in the obscure categories like the 15 short films (Live Action, Animated and Documentary Short Subject) and the Foreign Language films. It’s not always easy to do. Last year, I saw all but a few, and this year, my goal once again is to watch ALL of the 56 films. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? And it is – but I’ve seen exactly half. And that doesn’t include those 15 short films (crossing those off the list in the next week or two).

It’s a lot of time spent in front of a screen (and eating popcorn), but I don’t really see reading and watching as that different – or at least the reason for my enjoyment isn’t that different. For me, they both are about the enjoyment of a story told. Which is also probably why I enjoy Oscar-nominated movies more than say a summer blockbuster. Not that I don’t love those as well, but I’ve actually gone entire summers and seen maybe one or two movies in the theaters. It’s not on the same level for me – and I like movies that make me think and learn, which are two of the same reasons I read.

There have of course been some fantastic movies based on fantastic books, and saving me the trouble of compiling that info, Greg at The New Dork Review of Books posted about recent Oscar movies that were adapted from books, and it’s a great list. And after reading his post, I realized that there’s quite a few of those books that I did read – but there’s also quite a few I didn’t. I’m solidly in the “the book is almost always better than the movie” camp* so I hate to taint my enjoyment of a story either direction.

The one place I make an exception is with the Harry Potter books and movies. I never compare the two since I know that the movies can never ever encompass the depth of the books, but are wonderful and beautiful in their own rites. I’ve thought recently about also trying to read all the books or works on which the Best Adapted Screenplay nominees are based. But I think that might be pushing my Oscar commitment. After all I still have 28 more movies to watch in 23 days!

And in case you’re wondering, I will post my predictions closer to actual ceremony on Feb. 27th.

Do you have similar Oscar traditions? Do you think I’m insane? 🙂

*The only movie I can distinctly remember liking much more than the book is Where the Heart Is, movie starring Natalie Portman (nominated for Best Actress in Black Swan this year), book by Billy Letts.

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7 Responses to “Oscar Fever”

  1. Greg Zimmerman February 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Stories are stories – whether on screen or on page. And for that reason, it’s not surprising how many book dorks are also film dorks (me included!)…

    Thanks for the linkage.

  2. Karen February 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    I love books, but I also love a good movie, I always like the ‘art’ of the movie. But I agree that a story is a story, my favourite adaptation from book to movie has to be Atonement, but they have to go together, the book gives you something the movie doesn’t and vice versa (and I had the priviledge of seeing the Dunkirk scenes filmed in my home town!) One glaring choice of movie is better than the book, would have to be, for me, Brokeback Mountain, the book, well, novella, is so brief it’s hard to ‘feel’ the story, the language is so coloquial it’s hard to wade through, however, the movie is so beautiful. I don’t make much of an effort to watch the Oscar nominations, I just tend to, as with books, watch/read the story that takes my fancy!

  3. pburt February 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    I have a friend that does this and I watch what I can with her. I tend to see the films nominated for best picture and some of the other major awards while she goes all out. I also have acquaintances that live in places where movie theaters will do a marathon of the best picture nominees.

    I loved Winter’s Bone – it just plain blew me away. King’s Speech was also good and Black Swan was intense. Still need to see a few and I will skip 127 Hours – I just don’t want to see it.

    Have fun.

  4. Nora February 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Don’t think your insane at all. I tend to just see the movies up for Best Picture/Screenplay/those with actors & actresses in them (both best and supporting best) but that’s still a whole lot of movies! I love to see the Oscar movies… partially because we host an Oscar party the night of and it’s important to have seen them (or at least we think so)!

  5. Vishy February 16, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    I am new to your blog and I discovered it through Eva’s blog. It looks great!

    I enjoyed reading your post on the Oscars. I am on the same camp as you – I love reading books and I love watching movies too 🙂 Looking forward to reading your predictions on the Oscars this year. Because you are an Oscar connoisseur, I will ask you this – did you watch Michael Haneke’s ‘The White Ribbon’ which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar last year? What you think about it? And what do you think about ‘Up in the Air’?

    • Rachel February 16, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      I was so disturbed by The White Ribbon – but in terms of story, I wasn’t that impressed. I didn’t really see the point of all of it by the end. Extreme film but just for extremities sake. I did like Up in the Air, but it wasn’t my favorite of the Best Picture nominees.

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