Sunday, December 8, 2013

12 (plus 5) Days of Christmas Catch Up, a preview

Every year around this time I start to contemplate whether or not I'm as behind with my Oscar watching as I was the year before.  Sure, there was a time when I could never conceivably make a top 10 list by the end of the year.  (I used to post them the day of the Oscars).  But thanks to my writing at Awards Daily and (to an extent) my musings here, I am able to post a sensible top 10, even if it is on New Year's Eve.

A couple of years ago I created the 12 Days of Christmas Catch Up, partially as a way to deal with the fact that I wasn't spending Christmas with my family in Mississippi for the first time ever, and also as a means to get that top 10 list out!  I needed it again last year because I had been on the road with "A Christmas Carol."  And this year? Well, now I'm in Los Angeles...Hollywood...where all the magic happens.  And yet, I have somehow gotten behind again.  I blame the move.  And also an intense come down from a fabulous previous Oscar year.  But enough excuses.  It is time for the catch up.  And since I am so far behind, I have added 5 extra days!

So, how does it work for you Awards Wiz newbies.  Well, every day I will post my progress, discuss the list at hand, whether or not I am having success getting into screenings, etc.  I will talk about the films I saw the day before (or that day...sometimes I might not post until very late.)  I will also discuss the Oscar race, in case there are some big announcements or awards.  Then at the end of the Catch Up comes the Awards Wiz awards.  For the 5 days leading up to the end of the year I will announce what I consider to be the best (and perhaps the worst) of the year.  I'm still toying with the awards this year, but of course there will be the top 10 films of the year, top performances and top television.

It is always a bit of a gamble trying to determine what might make my top 10 list.  For one thing, I love being surprised by a movie.  The film that is currently sitting at the top of my list was on my radar, but I never thought it would have moved me in the way that it has.   Unfortunately by the time the Oscars come along I almost always see one, sometimes two movies that not only should have made my top 10, but also might have had a shot at the top spot.

So, how do I go about picking my list.  Well there are the obvious ones...movies that are winning early critics prizes such as "American Hustle" and "Dallas Buyers Club."  Movies with performances who critics loved such as "Philomena" and "Short Term 12."  And then there are films that I, for some reason or another just didn't really care that much to see, but I might be swayed to love them  ("Captain Phillips" "Blue is the Warmest Color.")

I have always been a fan of animated films, some of which have made my top 10 I like to squeeze in a few of those as well.  This year there is "Frozen" as well as a few GKids films ("Ernest and Celestine" and "A Letter to Momo.")

And I can't forget the documentaries.  I will always see a Marshall Curry film as his first three documentaries all made my top 10.  Sadly, although he has 2 films in production, none out this year.  But of course Alex Gibney, there hardest working documentarian alive, is in the conversation with "The Armstrong Lie"  And "20 Feet From Stardom," a look at background singers should be right up my alley.

I often like to look at the Independent Spirit Awards as well to see things I might not have thought of before.  "Upstream Color"  and "Crystal Fairy" both look like films I might really enjoy. is the list.  It is a bit longer than I was hoping it would be, and the reality is, there is no way I will see them all.  Time is definitely a factor.  I'm working full time still, going to Mississippi for 5 days and then there is the fact that some movies might be in that limbo period between theatrical and dvd release.  That is when I must rely on PR films to (hopefully) send me screeners.  I'm sure the list will dwindle, and I might even add more.  When I get home tonight I plan on watching "Short Term 12" and tomorrow I will be seeing "American Hustle."  A great way to start this series as it was the first film to win a Best Picture prize.  Happy Christmas Catch Up!

American Hustle
Saving Mr Banks
Dallas Buyers Club
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
Short Term 12
Captain Phillips
Blue is the Warmest Color
Pacific Rim
The Wind Rises
20 Feet From Stardom
The Wolf of Wall Street
The Armstrong Lie
Ernest and Celestine
A Letter to Momo
Crystal Fairy
Upstream Color
Go For Sisters
Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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