Early this morning, Thor and and the President of Oscar released a bunch of names to occupy slots on betting boards like answers on Family Feud. And thus, the horse race for people called the Academy Awards has begun.
As is customary, the list was digested and regurgitated almost instantly, and when the vomitus had slid off the screen, dry spots consisting of this years "snubs" were pointed at with incredulity and amazement. No love for the Coens? Where is Michael B. Jordan's recognition for Fruitvale Station? Monsters University didn't get anything? There isn't a category for "Actors Playing Superman who Managed to Smuggle Two Ottomans into Their Pecs?"
But looking at the Best Picture nominees (which should potentially score you the most points if your party host has correctly weighted the betting pool) it's hard to argue - unless your tastes in film start at Star Trek Into Darkness and end at The Hobbit: The Desolation of SMAUUUUUGGHHH - that this wasn't a damned good year to be a film enthusiast.
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
That's not bad at all. You got two impactful, powerful dramas (12 Years, Captain Phillips), you got a horror movie (Gravity), a sci-fi romance (Her), three life-affirming, personal dramas (Dallas Buyers, Nebraska, Philomena) and two straight-up comedies (American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street). All of which are almost guaranteed good times at the theater.
Or, so I'm guessing. I haven't seen all of them. Then again, that's the beauty of Oscar: I don't have to have seen all of them. Or really, any of them. Because Oscar isn't about the movies. I'm not saying you shouldn't go and see all those nominees. If any of them look even remotely interesting to you, give 'em a shot. But don't watch them thinking it's going to help you get a leg-up on the other rubes and suckers in your betting pool, because it won't. Just like you didn't need to make friends with the entirety of the Prom Court in to figure out which one of those kids was going to win the crown.