In less than three weeks, movie buffs will be debating, betting, and agonizing over who will win big at the 85th Academy Awards. Dream scenario: you’ve seen the movies, read up on their odds of winning, and glide easily into Oscar conversations with your film nut of a boss. Nightmare scenario? You haven’t seen one movie, and your knowledge of recent pop culture is limited to finally realizing “Downton Abbey” is not a show about a girl named Abby who lives downtown.
Here are the top five things you need to know. No trip to the movies and $25 thrown down the drain needed:
1) Everyone will be kvetching about Ben Affleck being snubbed for Best Director in Argo. In acts of defiance, he was showered with trophies at the Golden Globes, SAG awards and by the Director’s Guild, but you’ll hear a lot more fuss about it. Your takeway: He was good directing and acting in Argo, he probably deserves to be nominated, and he has a lotta loyal friends in Hollywood.
2) Barbara Streisand will be performing. This may not mean much to you—but go ask you mom. She’ll probably sigh and become nostalgic about Babs’ last performance at the Oscars, which was 36 years ago. The baby-boomer darling, who has managed to remain extremely private and scarce at the award show scene over the years, will be sure entertain to our parents and lifelong devotees.
3) Seth McFarland is hosting. He is the mastermind behind the long running adult cartoon Family Guy and Ted, the 2012 movie about a talking teddy bear. Fun facts: He can croon like Sinatra (coincidentally having trained under Babs’ vocal coach), and he is from Connecticut and went to Rhode Island School of Design. Much to my chagrin, his real voice does not echo Stewie’s from Family Guy.
4) Time and date. Sounds simple, but even when I took the time to look it up, the hoopla clouded the facts. The show commences Sunday, February 24 at 7:00pm Eastern and will likely run well past 11:00pm, no matter how much the orchestra tries to drive winners off the stage. Every single year, the fawning speeches are too long, awkward moments of panning to celebrities abound, and stilted laughter pads the clock.
5) If there is one movie you should see – in my totally biased opinion – it’s Silver Linings Playbook. Number one: it’s got the finest piece of man meat going, Mr. Bradley Cooper, in a totally absorbing and powerful role as a bi-polar delusional lunatic. Number two: it’s got girl-crush worthy Jennifer Lawrence also embodying a nut job, but in the most endearing and emotional way possible. And number three…never mind, I won’t give any more away. Just go see it. And if not, I’d at least bet on that being the Best Picture winner.