Just a few minutes ago, the nominations for the 2008 Oscars (films “released” — that’s a whole ‘nother story — in 2007) were announced @ a press conference in California. As has been true for me for the past 6 or so years (I don’t think I got to last year, actually), I’ve woken up early enough to watch the announcements live, preparing me for the coming month-plus until the actual awards show. In this part of my life, I like to be one of those who is “first to know,” as may be the case for you in some other part of your life.
Now, one may ask (and I sure do), why have the Oscars (formally the Academy Awards) become such this big aspect of my entertainment life? I suppose it first and foremost has to do with my love of movies, which began many years ago, and the fact that the Oscars are said to be “the most prestigious prize in motion pictures.” From a young age, I started looking at what made a “good” movie by what was nominated for or won an Oscar. I remember watching The English Patient for a movie report in 10th grade while others were probably watching movies like Jerry Maguire or Independence Day and getting Shakespeare in Loveto watch with my mom and brother and being a little embarrased at the nudity that came with it (though, as my mom said, it was OK and beautiful in that setting — thanks mom).
Since those days 10 or so years ago, I still enjoy watching Oscar nominated movies (I’ve already seen 3 of the 5 nominated for Best Picture), especially those nominated for Best Documentary, but my movie viewing habits have gotten a little more independent than the Oscars, leaning — when I get the opportunity — more toward those movies nominated for Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, which can be seen on IFC the night before the Oscars. (Anyone with cable want to invite me over? Rainn Wilson of “The Office” and Juno will be hosting.) And calling myself a “writer,” too, I’ve always enjoyed watching those films nominated for best screenplay, which is especially fun since the Oscars gives me 10 movies in 2 categories (original and adapted) to choose from.
I’ve also enjoyed watching the ceremonies for many many years, too, and love it when Billy Crystal hosts. The status of the Oscar awards ceremony this year, scheduled for 24 February is, of course, up in the air because of the continued Writers Guild of America writers strike. While I would love to see things settled so that a “normal” ceremony can go forth, I don’t want the writers to settle for less than they’re asking for or have them strike a deal just so the show can go on. If all I get are the movies and no ceremony to go with them, I can live with that. (Speaking of the strike, I was joking with someone that this would have been a good year to be out of the country — a shortened TV season, the prospect of no Oscar ceremony — you wouldn’t be missing too much in the entertainment world, unless, of course, you’re an American Idol and/or reality TV fan, in which case you’re probably in heaven.)
And before I go, I’d like to invite you to “Pick the Winners” of the Oscars with me in an online competition. Go to the Oscars website and sign in or sign up to enter the “Predict the Winners” game. (Your name and password would be for any of the following, if you have them: Disney.com, ABCNEWS.com, ABC.com, ESPN.com, DisneyShopping.com, Go.com, Movies.com, FamilyFun.com). When it asks you to pick a group name, search for “Anyone, Really” and the password is “movies.” I hope to see a lot of you there! (And it’s nice to put your name in the entry name in some way so we all know who is who. :) )