Catch up on the Oscar-nominated films before the big show


If you still need to catch

up on your Oscar-nominated movies before the awards show Sunday and you live

near an AMC Theatres chain, you’re in luck. Though, given the bleak

subject matter in most of this year’s nominated films, I’m not

sure if “luck” is the right word. On Saturday, AMC will screen

all five films

up for best picture in a row. The marathon will start at 11 a.m. and

end at 11 p.m.

Now, I’ve seen all five

films, and I watched three of them within a 24-hour span recently. Just

that alone was rough. So I really can’t imagine seeing all of them

in one day, particularly given most of their unrelentingly nihilistic

takes on humanity. There Will Be Blood

and No Country for Old Men are definitely not what I would call

feel-good films. While Atonement and Michael Clayton

are slightly more hopeful, little ray of sunshine Juno is the

only one with the audacity of fun. It’s also the only nominated film

centered on a female lead.

Both There Will Be Blood

and No Country for Old Men are practically devoid of female characters.

It’s a man’s world, and those men are bad, really bad. Seriously,

Daniel Day-Lewis
’ oilman Daniel Plainview and Javier Bardem’s

hitman Anton Chigurh are two of the scariest psychopaths ever committed

to film.

The other nominated films feature

more prominent female characters, but they don’t come off too rosy

either. Atonement is ultimately about the fallout from one little

girl’s lie. And Michael Clayton

features Tilda Swinton as a ruthless corporate attorney (wait,

is that redundant?). Her performance

is a fascinating study in how the primal Darwinian survival drive plays

out in the sophisticated world of high-stakes litigation. Let’s just

say that when faced with the fight-or-flight moment, she turns into

a no-holds-barred brawler.

So, how many of the Oscar hopefuls

have you caught? And which do you still want to see? The best picture

marathon costs $30 and you can come and go, in case you don’t want

to sit through the whole thing. And for heaven’s sake, if you haven’t

seen Juno yet, put it at the top of your list. The psycho killers,

liars and lawyers can wait.

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