Forrest and Laura Watch All 9 Best Picture Nominees in 24 Hours

All about the Academy Awards.
Feb. 24 2013 10:15 AM

Nine Movies. 24 Hours. 11,000 Calories of Popcorn.

Can two Slate writers survive AMC’s Best Picture megamarathon?

(Continued from Page 1)

Saturday, 4:07 p.m.

Wickman: Argo is about how Hollywood can save us from Iranian hostage-takers, but who can save us from Hollywood?

Saturday, 5:33 p.m.

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Wickman: Argo fuck everything. I thought I could like this movie watching it again—I really did. But its bullshit Hollywoodization of the facts, its dehumanizing nigh unto cartoonish depiction of the people of Iran, and Ben Affleck's inert brooding were just too much for me to enjoy this movie again. In fact, the way that they play the "Thank You, Canada" stuff as a joke doesn't just ring hollow when you know the real story, it's despicable.

The emperor has no clothes, just a bushy vintage beard.

Combined caffeinated beverages consumed: eight
On-screen tears shed: seven (all solitary)
On-screen deaths: 203 (approximately 200 Confederate and Union soldiers, one U.S. president, one old French lady, and one anonymous Iranian hung from a crane.)
On-screen musical numbers: five (two piano sonatas, one rendition of "Sur le Pont d'Avignon," one opera aria, and one Ben Affleck strut to Led Zeppelin)
Biggest laugh so far: Lincoln's Ethan Allen anecdote, followed by Emmanuelle Riva's motorized wheelchair hijinx, and Forrest's laugh when the Iranian police car almost ran into the jet turbine
Massages received: one (by the traitor Laura Anderson)
Blood clots currently traveling up Forrest's legs: several suspected
This break was only 15 minutes, so coming on now is Django Unchained, a movie just as historically inaccurate as Argo but that doesn't pretend to be anything else.

Saturday, 5:50 p.m.

Anderson: I'm back, Forrest! Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy seeing Argo again. Not to rub salt in your blood clots, but my massage was great (though it was also weird, the way massages always are). (Allow me to encourage anyone who isn't about to watch Django Unchained to go read John Jeremiah Sullivan's musings on the practice if you haven't already.) If the first 10 minutes of Argo (which I caught before sneaking out to make my appointment) were any indication of its general level of energy of the film, I feel confident saying that my massage was the exact opposite experience of watching Argo.

Though I'm overall way more relaxed than I was before, the massage did not rid me of one particular anxiety: that I am going to hate the next movie. I really dislike gory violence, and I try to be as politically correct as possible, so I have a feeling Tarantino's liberal use of the N-word is going to make me uncomfortable. Still, many people I respect enjoyed this movie, so I'll try to keep an open mind.

I already missed the opening credits of Django Unchained while typing this, and I'm hearing shrieks of pain through the theater door, so I'd better scurry back to my seat before I miss any important plot points. By the way, I grabbed a latte on my way back from my massage, so let's bump that caffeine count up to nine!

Saturday, 9:02 p.m.

Wickman: Am I beginning to notice a theme in this year's nominees? Argo is about freeing captive Iranian hostages, Django and Lincoln are about freeing captive American slaves, and Amour is about freeing a trapped French lady from her paralyzed 85-year-old body. Now, clear this up for me: Does this say more about this year's nominees or about how I'm feeling around 10 ½ hours in?

Also, prior to the movie, you expressed some concern about Django Unchained’s political incorrectness and violent imagery. I trust you found the film perfectly civil.

Anderson: You warned me beforehand that it would be difficult to count the on-screen deaths in Django Unchained. You weren't kidding. I counted 76—but that's a really imprecise count, because it can be hard to tell whether that guy writhing in pain as Django shoots repeatedly at him is a new guy or the same guy Django shot before. I also made a rough estimate of 20 Klansmen killed during the explosion. (I did not count the snowmen, may they rest in peace.)

Some of these deaths were a lot more memorable than others. You may have noticed me squeezing my eyes shut during the Mandingo fight and during the dismemberment-by-German-shepherd scene. I will never, ever, ever understand the appeal of Tarantino's love of overwrought, cartoonish gore. However, I enjoyed some other cartoonish aspects of the production. The Technicolor dream quality of the first half—the bounty-hunting section—was delightful. Also, I think I'm in love with Christoph Waltz. But Django Unchained was so fucking long—and gratuitously violent—that I was praying it would end, oh, half an hour before it actually did.

Wickman: I'm ready to head off to dinner (by the way, whatever happened to lunch?) but before we leave, we should maybe note that it's starting to get rowdy in here. As we were starting to chat, two men had a conversation across the theater about whether they slept together last year during Tree of Life. I have a feeling right about now is when it starts to get weird.

Combined caffeinated beverages consumed: 10
On-screen tears shed: eight
On-screen deaths: 279 (approximately 200 Confederate and Union soldiers, one U.S. president, one old French lady, one anonymous Iranian hung from a crane, 74 evil slaveowners/slave-traders/Klansmen, two Mandingo fighters, one Stephen)
On-screen musical numbers: six (two piano sonatas, one rendition of "Sur le Pont d'Avignon," one opera aria, one Ben Affleck strut to Led Zeppelin, one jovial shanty in the Cleopatra Club about peanut butter)
Biggest laugh so far: the Klansmen's argument about their masks' eyeholes
On-screen hallucinated women: two

Saturday, 9:18 p.m.

Anderson: Joe is now offering the audience an Alfred Hitchcock martini set, containing a shaker and a bottle of olives. To compete, you have to name the year a given film was in the running for an Oscar. If you get a year wrong, you're eliminated. "This is truly a game for Oscar geeks," he says, self-evidently. Nineteen brave souls are competing, but everyone's brain is so addled that most people are out already. Many got It Happened One Night and The Hurt Locker wrong. This is truly a sadistic way of testing people who have been sitting in a dark theater for more than 11 hours.

Saturday, 9:25 p.m.

Anderson: A woman named Katie won on Forrest Gump. Congratulations, Katie, and Godspeed. On that note, I personally hope Les Mis is not as much of a head-scratcher of a critical darling as Forrest Gump was.

Joe is now just throwing out Oscar trivia questions to the audience, since he has so many prizes to give away. Play along at home! What are the two winners with the word "American" in their title? The year of the first Oscar telecast? First movie to win Best Picture? Only silent films to win Best Picture?  How many answers before you'll be satisfied, Joe?

(Among the nonmartini swag being given away are Argo baseball caps.)

Saturday, 11:41 p.m.

Wickman: Hugh Jackman is now literally singing a solo while covered in shit. EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES.

Saturday, 11:44 p.m.

Wickman: Now seems like a good time to officially air my theory that covering yourself in shit = instant Oscars. Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables, swims through a river of shit = Best Actor and Best Picture nominee, 2012. Slumdog Millionaire, the kid jumps into a pool of shit = Best Picture, 2008. Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting, dives into "the filthiest toilet in Scotland" = the indie manages a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, 1996. Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption, crawls through a river of shit to come out clean on the other side = seven nominations including Best Picture, 1994. (It was beaten by this movie.)

Sunday, zero dark thirty

Wickman: Laura, I'm beginning to think this is the cinematic equivalent of the #RihannaPlane. Will this torture be justified if it leads to the death of Osama Bin Laden?

Anderson: So, yeah, Les Mis was pretty painful. I had heard a lot about Tom Hooper's up-close-and-personal approach to bringing this stage classic to the screen, and while the snot shots didn't bother me (the proximity of the camera to the actor made it easier for me to count people's tears for our running tally!), the monotony and repetitiveness of the libretto did. I know Les Mis is beloved by many, but couldn't the exact same story have been condensed into a much snappier movie if the characters didn't insist on making explicit every single fucking feeling they feel?

Sorry about the cursing; this is what happens when I get tired. You and I also had an inappropriate giggling fit when Javert jumped off the bridge. The mental decline has begun.

I would do business with Marius again, though (who was the source of three of those beautiful tears shed). Eddie Redmayne wuz robbed of an Oscar nom! Someone cast James Spader and Eddie Redmayne in a buddy comedy together!

Wickman: Yeah, I should admit that there's some awesome shit in that movie, the dreamboat Eddie Redmayne being the main thing that hasn't been appreciated, and we should also note that Anne Hathaway earned our first mid-movie ovation. Some of it just seems like "Goats Yelling Like Humans," though. (By the way, "Goats Yelling Like Humans" was totally snubbed.)

Combined caffeinated beverages consumed: 10
Alcoholic beverages consumed: one
On-screen tears shed: 17
On-screen deaths: 324 (approximately 200 Confederate and Union soldiers, one U.S. president, one old French lady, one anonymous Iranian hung from a crane, 74 evil slaveowners/slave-traders/Klansmen, two Mandingo fighters, one French prostitute, one French cross-dresser, one adorable French urchin, one French mayor hiding his true identity until the very end, one rules-obsessed French inspector, approximately 20 revolutionaries, approximately 20 French soldiers)
On-screen musical numbers: seven (two piano sonatas, one rendition of "Sur le Pont d'Avignon," one opera aria, one Ben Affleck strut to Led Zeppelin, one jovial chanty about peanut butter in the Cleopatra Club, one 3 ½ hour sung-through musical)
Biggest laugh so far: the Klansmen's argument about their masks' eyeholes
On-screen hallucinated women: four
Oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies consumed: 10, all during the entirety of Les Misérables

Sunday, 1:10 a.m.

Wickman: Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, 9/11 followed by waterboarding and sexual humiliation. Only 8½ more hours to go!

Sunday, 3:10 a.m.

Wickman: “In the end, everybody breaks, bro.” This could more or less be the motto of our last six hours, I think.

Anderson: Indeed. But Zero Dark Thirty wasn't the film that made me break, Forrest! I think I'm hitting my second wind. That was totally engaging—I wasn't bored for a second. And I have to say, after Django Unchained and Les Misérables, the naturalism of the acting and dialogue in this movie was very refreshing.

That said, I know everyone is gaga for Jessica Chastain in this movie, but I thought Jennifer Ehle delivered a superior performance. Maybe I just like my acting to be obvious (or maybe I just can't process subtlety at this point in the marathon), but I related to the way Ehle's character kept her emotions close to the surface. Chastain left me a ittle cold.

Wickman: No way, J.C. for life! I will say that I found some inspiration in Maya. Lotta late nights, staring at screens, never giving up.

Anderson: Everybody breaks, bro.

Combined caffeinated beverages consumed: 13
Alcoholic beverages consumed: one
On-screen tears shed: 21
On-screen deaths: 336 (approximately 200 Confederate and Union soldiers, one U.S. president, one old French lady, one anonymous Iranian hung from a crane, 74 evil slaveowners/slave-traders/Klansmen, two Mandingo fighters, one Stephen, one French prostitute, one French cross-dresser, one adorable French urchin, one French mayor hiding his true identity until the very end, one rules-obsessed French inspector, approximately 20 revolutionaries, approximately 20 French soldiers, seven CIA agents, four terrorists, one terrorists wife)
On-screen musical numbers: seven (two piano sonatas, one rendition of "Sur le Pont d'Avignon," one opera aria, one Ben Affleck strut to Led Zeppelin, one jovial chanty about peanut butter in the Cleopatra Club, one 3 ½ hour sung-through musical)
Biggest laugh so far: the Klansmen's conversation about their masks' eyeholes 
On-screen hallucinated women: four
Oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies consumed: 10, all during the entirety of Les Misérables

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