In case you’re curious, I did win my office Oscar pool…sort of. I guessed 17 of 24 categories correctly. (I missed, among other smaller categories, the writing categories (which I never miss) and of course, Best Picture.) And I’m sure you can imagine my delight Monday morning when it was announced at work that the winner had guessed 17 categories correctly, and the runners-up 16 categories. I’m equally sure you can imagine my irritation when, just as I was poised to leap out my seat and accept my award, the name called was not mine .
It turned out that the answer key the graders used was wrong. After a mandatory recount, first place was a tie between me and one other person who also correctly guessed 17 categories. The false Academy prophet dropped to a runner-up with just 16 categories correct. Because this is a good-natured company, all three of us got movie tickets. However, there was evidently a trophy as well (I didn’t know I was competing for a trophy!) and the tie-breaker was the best picture category. And, once again, I think we all know how this story goes.
My remorse over incorrectly predicting the wrong best picture (as a colleague at company #2 put it, I didn’t trust the Academy) is a bit, shall we say, ridiculous. If only I’d trusted the Academy, if only I hadn’t hedged my bets on the sound categories… This is why I don’t gamble. The Academy Awards are not like math, they don’t have right answers, and yet I spent the better part of Monday wishing I’d studied a bit harder… Anyway, I’ve now amassed three pairs of movie passes (the Oscar win, credit card points redeemed, and a gift certificate) so if my husband and I can ever agree on a movie to see, we might actually leave the house.
Speaking of movies we watched together… I did, as I said I would, watch both District 9 and Inglourious Basterds last weekend. The surprising thing was that Shaun watched both with me. Actually, that’s less surprising than the fact that we BOTH liked both of them! District 9 I thought was okay…for a science fiction movie. It wasn’t exactly revolutionary but it was entertaining. The real treat was Inglourious Basterds, which I’m so glad I watched as it is one I could have easily passed by. Since it’s Quentin Tarantino, the violence was overly graphic, but the story was excellent. The way he weaved together the different characters and storylines was brilliant, and every scene kept me engaged and interested. Though it’s described as a “revenge fantasy” because nothing like it happened during the real World War II, this is not a movie that claims to be a historical document, and I never thought of it as anything but fiction. Very, very good fiction. I read an interview with Tarantino in which he said he had a hard time casting Hans Landa (played by Academy Award winner Kristof Waltz) because there’s a poetry to his dialogue that a lot of the other actors were missing. It sounded somewhat conceited when I read it but now I get it. Quentin is a wordy guy and I like wordy films and delivery of those words, as I know full well from trying to do my own voiceovers, is integral.
I’m even more surprised this film didn’t win for screenplay, because The Hurt Locker, while incredibly tense, isn’t much in the dialogue department. The tension in that film was created by editing and directing and cinematography choices. Though I’ve not seen the film twice, I imagine it’s not easy to repeat the tense-ness of it when you already know what’s going to happen. I could (and might!) watch Inglourious Basterds (or A Serious Man, for that matter) several times before I feel I’ve gotten everything out of the dialogue.
I have to say that of the seven nominated films I’ve seen, it wasn’t a bad year for movies. I just hope the free movies, whatever they turn out to be, don’t leave me demanding my money back.