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Collecting Oscar

I’ve had something, a bit of an informal undertaking if you will, taking shape slowly somewhere in the back of my mind for some time now. During the past week and a half or so, that shaping has built and accelerated rapidly into a full-blown project to which I expect to devote my resources and a fair portion of the free time that I have. I don’t want to overstate things . . . I’m not going all-out. But it seemed like a fun thing to do, so I’m going to do it for as long as I care to and as much as I feel like.

Of course, I discussed here my plans to watch the Best Picture winner and other nominees for this year and write down my impressions. Then, somewhere between receiving Babel from Netflix and watching The Departed this weekend, my plan to someday mark all of history’s Academy Award for Best Picture films off of my “to see” list went from vague ambition to active pursuit. And naturally I’ll want to blog the experience.

If you pay attention to that sort of thing, you’ll already have noticed that I’ve grabbed an Oscar-winner here and there (as the opportunity arose) over the course of the past semester and a half. I picked up the pace in the last month, and in-between waiting for this year’s nominees to come in from Netflix I had accrued quite a little pile from the library. Plus, I own several myself.

On the day The Departed arrived, I started counting and discovered that I had 20 Best Picture winners sitting in my apartment. Bright and early Monday morning, I started combing shelves and nearly doubled that. I was further inspired by this fun feature from Rotten Tomatoes. Pretty cool. I then used Netflix to easily check off which films I had already seen and which I was still lacking.

Meanwhile, I fiddled with my Netflix queue and had 22 more winners lined up at the top (they were all already on there, but a lot of them had clumped near the bottom). That covers over 75% of the total, right there. A few more should be coming back in over the next few weeks. There are a handful that I have both seen before and would probably be too much trouble to bring back in that I may not bother to re-watch (I’ve seen Gladiator and The Sting several times, and I just saw American Beauty, for instance). On the other hand, depending on the breaks, I will try to re-view as many as possible.

Because this was in part an exercise to see how many I could easily bring together under one roof, I grabbed several that I’ve seen just in the past weeks and months (All Quiet on the Western Front, Bridge on the River Kwai, All About Eve, Ordinary People, etc.). These I probably also will not rewatch unless I feel that I didn’t “soak them up” effectively. Read: okay, maybe I will. On the other hand, Rachel might go for my jugular if I try to watch The English Patient again. Hmmm . . . Tied with the above for “lowest priority.”

As for the rest: There are 36 Best Picture winners that I’ve never seen at all, nearly half from before 1950. They obviously have top priority, and include Patton, Rocky, Tom Jones, Titanic, Dances with Wolves, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, In the Heat of the Night, and Million Dollar Baby. Needless to say, I’m more anxious to see some of these than others.

Then there is the mid-level priority: movies that I’ve seen before, but haven’t seen since I started keeping track. These range from A Man for All Seasons and Chariots of Fire, which I’d want to rewatch anyway, to Ben-Hur, Gone with the Wind, and Lawrence of Arabia, which I’m still kicking myself about. I watched those almost right before I started the movielist, and while I don’t necessarily object to watching all of them again, that kind of time is hard to come by when you want it all in one lump sum.

Nevertheless, it’s been long enough for most of these that they deserve a rewatch before I write anything about them, and I want them on the list anyway. Oh, yeah, there are also a few that I saw some time ago and loathed. In all fairness, they get a rewatch . . . The two that come to mind are On the Waterfront and Gigi.

And, finally, there are the ones I’ve seen within the past few years, possibly more than once, that I’m always willing to see again: My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, both parts of The Godfather, Schindler’s List, Amadeus, even Return of the King. However, since I’ve seen them so many times, and I own most of them, they may have to wait awhile before I get to them.

If you’re around and you’d like to join me for any of the watching, let me know. I’ll try to keep you up-to-date on what and when. And, hey, if you’re not around, join me anyway long-distance. You might be able to get ahold of a fair number of the candidates yourself. It’ll be fun.

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~ by Jared on March 6, 2007.

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