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How to talk about the Oscars without watching any film

| Film Editor

If you make the calculations, you would need to dedicate approximately 4,952 minutes to watch almost all films nominated for an Academy Award this year. Luckily, you do not need to waste your time watching these films because I have created a thorough guide on how to successfully navigate conversations about the Oscars. Simply select which type of opinionated person you want to be and I will give you some pointers on what you should know about this year’s nominees.

Be Part of the Majority:

These, for the most parts, are opinions and remarks that virtually everyone agrees with. You won’t get in trouble if you say these things. In other words, you want to agree with the following statements. Otherwise, you’ll be in trouble.

“Moonlight” deserves all its Oscars

All you must know about “Moonlight” is that it was objectively the best film of the year. The independent film, directed by Barry Jenkins, follows the coming-of-age story of a young black man as he explores issues of race, masculinity and sexuality. No one will disagree with you about the greatness of this film. Here are some phrases to use when discussing the film:
-“The cinematography was just absolutely breathtaking.”
-“Mahershala Ali (nominated for Best Supporting Actor) is the hottest human alive.”
– “The diner scene!”

Dev Patel: Sexiest Man Alive

You might remember Dev Patel from his roles in “Skins” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Well, now he’s nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in “Lion,” a very emotional film about a true story of a five-year old boy who accidentally gets on a train that separates him from his family for years. But, the biggest takeaway from the film is how ridiculously hot Patel is. In addition, his Oscar nod is a historic one, as he is now the third actor of Indian descent to ever be nominated for an Academy Award. No doubt that his incredible talent (and luscious mane) will be the center of conversations for months to come.

Casey Affleck and Mel Gibson should not be nominated

The Academy seems to be really into controversies, and this year is no exception. Two sexual harassers, Casey Affleck and Mel Gibson, are nominated, for Best Actor and Best Director, respectively. Promptly, people aren’t pleased about the decision of including them on a list alongside deserving, prestigious and talented individuals who are not sexual harassers. Of course, the issue is bigger than the Oscars, but it is important to neither normalize nor reward this behavior.

Where is Amy Adams? Where is Taraji P. Henson?

Amy “Queen of Acting” Adams was snubbed from a Best Female Actor nomination for her stellar performance in “Arrival,” a mind-blowing, science-fiction film about communicating with aliens. Similarly, Taraji P. Henson gave an out-of-this-world performance as a mathematician in “Hidden Figures” but apparently that wasn’t enough for the Academy. People are mad, and you should be too, even if you haven’t seen “Arrival” or “Hidden Figures.” No one will fight you about this, so do feel free to throw that in conversations in the case of an emergency. Possible scenario:
-Film Person: What did you think about the use of linguistics in “Arrival” and its political connotations?
-You: To be frank, I’m still outraged that Amy Adams didn’t get nominated. She was amazing! It just really upsets me. I’m sorry, I need a minute.
-Film Person: Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry to even bring that up.

Be the crowd-pleaser:

Listen, it’s always fun to agree with everyone or have very different opinions from the rest of the majority but it can be hard to keep that up after a while. Henceforth, I provide you with some very (very) neutral statements to throw around if you don’t have any particular interests in any of these films.

“La La Land” vs. “Moonlight”

If you want to avoid detailed arguments about nominees, then take a neutral stance. This means not favoring any particular film over the other. For instance, this year’s nominations seem to have delineated a well-contested fight between “La La Land” and “Moonlight.” If you don’t want to be antagonistic, the best path is to root for both films. Here are some smart remarks to help you along the way:
– “They’re both very different films, so it’s just arbitrary to choose the ‘best’ one.”
– “I’m truly torn between ‘Moonlight’s’ significance and ‘La La Land’s’ fresh take on musicals.”
– “I mean, yeah. I totally agree with you,” to whoever is defending either film.

Most nominations were well-deserved

It is fair to make the argument that most nominations were very fair. This year, there were no significant surprises, except for a few snubs here and there. Therefore, you can take this route and drop blanket statements such as:
– “I wish the Oscars would make risky nominations and not what’s usually expected from them. You know what I mean?”
– “How crazy would it have been if *insert any film you saw in theaters this past year* would have been nominated for Best Picture?”
– “I thought it was a solid list for what they usually put out.”

At last, diversity!

Headlines about the Oscar nominations immediately addressed the fact that several acting nominations went to black actors. Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Naomie Harris are all up for Best Supporting Actress. Davis herself became the first black actress to be nominated three times for an Academy Award. Meanwhile, Bradford Young is the first African-American cinematographer to be nominated. It is admittedly a triumph but not the end of the fight for inclusion in the media. Hardly anyone will question you about this because, for the most part, it is correct. People who think Hollywood is “already diverse” will take your celebratory statement at face value. People who think Hollywood is far from diverse will appreciate you acknowledging that Oscar nominations are just a small factor on issues of diversity in media. Everybody wins!

Be the radical one:

We all want to have the winning opinion in conversations. Yet, once in a while, it’s fun to have the unpopular opinion. What can I say? It makes you sound smart, and people will think you’re edgy. These are some things you can go for:

Actually, “La La Land” wasn’t great

Okay, you might need to prepare to debate this one. In truth, “La La Land” is a very OK, average film about a white couple living in Los Angeles trying to decide their future. They sing and dance sometimes, and there’s appropriate jazz culture for vague thematic purpose. Yes, it is an enjoyable watch, but it isn’t groundbreaking. Refer to cite your own favorite musical as a surely better film than watching Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling cry about jazz dying.

Meryl Streep doesn’t deserve that nomination

Queen of it all, Meryl Streep, is nominated yet again for a movie you don’t need to know about because no one watched it. Listen, we love Streep. We’ve established that she’s beyond talented, but enough of that. It’s time to give the opportunity for new actresses to shine and join the prestigious ranks that Streep is probably tired of being a part of by now.

“Can’t Stop The Feeling” is the worst Justin Timberlake song and doesn’t deserve the nomination.

Ex-*NSYNC member, Justin Timberlake, received his first ever Academy Award nomination for what was arguably the worst song of last year (Kidding. It was actually “Closer.”). Somehow, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from the animated film “Trolls,” made it to the Best Original Song category. No matter how great Timberlake might be, we cannot condone this.