Oscars race: Clock ticks for film buffs to binge on nominees


A film buff from Oklahoma City, Elyssa Mann has scant time to waste, needing to cross just four more movies off her Oscars binge list before Sunday’s Academy Awards broadcast: Two animated films, one for cinematography and another for costume design.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Steve Tornello has just one left – the latest “Avatar” – before he can fairly judge all 10 of the Best Picture nominees.

In the perfect multiverse, time would bend to allow time-strained movie buffs to watch anything anywhere, all at once. But in the real world, not the googly eyed one, time keeps ticking and that makes things difficult for diehard film fans hoping to fill every bracket in their personal Oscars scoresheets.

“I have four Oscars movies left in my quest to watch all the ones nominated for picture/acting/craft etc,” Mann wrote in a tweet, “and this somehow feels insurmountable.”

As it is, Sunday morning’s time change (don’t forget to spring forward) will mean an hour less to binge.

“I am a person who thrives under pressure, like I need the deadline. So it’s good that it’s here,” Mann, a 31-year-old marketer, said during a phone call. “Now I have to watch them.”

She’ll watch two or three Saturday, and save whatever’s left for Sunday before the ceremony. Since the New Year, she’s watched nearly 30 of the nominated films, escalating her project when the nominations were announced in late January. She acknowledged there isn’t enough time to view nominees in a handful of categories, including documentaries.

It would take days without sleep to watch every one of the more than 50 movies receiving at least one nomination in any of the roughly two dozen categories being awarded.

Theoretically, those voting on the nominated movies are supposed to watch every film. But even for the pros, that apparently doesn’t happen. After all, does anyone really have the time?

Tornello, a fledgling screenwriter and creative director for a tech company, is trying to make time this weekend to finally trudge out to the movie theater to watch “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the final movie on his Best Picture list.

“I have a lot on my plate right now,” he said. “That’s a movie I know I need to see in the theater to get the full experience.”

Most of the rest he’s watched at home through a streaming service.

Drawn by all the buzz, he saw “Everything Everywhere All at Once” shortly after it was released last spring. He watched “Women Talking” earlier this month.

“I try to see as many movies as I possibly can, the ones I think are going to be a nominee, before Oscar nominations come out,” Tornello said. “I just want to get them all in so I can really enjoy the show.”

Like Mann, James Bramble has already seen all of the Best Picture nominees and more.

“So I’ve seen every picture nominated for Best International film, Best Documentary, Best Animated and before Sunday night, I will finish,” he said, saying he has a few more in the short film categories which shouldn’t require much time to watch.

Every year, there are bound to be nominated films that he thinks were a waste of his time. Not this year, he said.

“I really liked, so far, everything that I’ve seen. Yeah, it’s a good year,” said Bramble, an attorney from Salt Lake City.

Mann hopes to beat the clock.

On her watch list this weekend: The animated features “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and “Turning Red,” as well as “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” for costume design and “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” for cinematography.

She should have started sooner, she confessed.

“It’s something that I’ve always kind of considered doing, but seemed like too big of a project,” she said. But with the deep winter doldrums, she needed an outlet. “I love movies. And so I thought this would be a fun one.”

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