Hello, and welcome to the Oscars Death Race. I'm Sarah D. Bunting, the head rodeo clown at Tomato Nation; the Oscars Death Race is pretty much what it sounds like, a quixotic attempt to watch every single nominee in the Academy-Awards categories that appear on the broadcast.
Why do I do this to myself? Well, the intellectual-glamour answer is that it's important for me as a writer, a storyteller, a citizen of filmmaking culture to testify to all of the work presented, good or bad. And I do believe that it's critical for someone, anyone to give a damn, or try to, about the lesser-lauded categories like Sound Editing and Live-Action Short.
The real, no-bullshit answer? I started the ODR in 2010 as a distracting lark, because it seemed like less masochistic drudgery than the house renovation I was enduring at that time — but I didn't finish the Race that year, so I had to do it again in 2011, and I didn't finish it then either because, among other things, I failed to drive to Bangor, Maine to see goddamn Country Strong. Fucking Gwyneth. Perhaps you're beginning to see the breadth of the folly here, but if not, let me brass-tacks it for you: Buntsy is stubborn and doesn't know when to quit and she will keep Death Racing until she beats this beeyotch.
Third time's the charm, though, or so I've chosen to believe, and I feel good about my chances in 2012 — not least because the Press Play brain trust is providing me with critical support this time around. (There may or may not be an "unlimited rotgut" clause in my contract. I'm told I can't discuss it.)
So! Here's how it's going to work. This is the landing/HQ page for the 2012 Oscars Death Race, where you can find:
– links to the complete list of eligible nominees;
– links to the nominees I've already watched and capsule-reviewed over at the historic birthplace of this mishegas, TomatoNation.com;
– links to more recent reviews, which the PP gang will publish; and
– a little progress widget that lets you know how close I am to the finish line.
As the ceremony gets closer, stay tuned to Press Play (as well as to Press Play's Twitter, @PressPlayIW, and my own, @TomatoNation) for category-prediction overviews, should-win/will-win balloting, and more. (Please note that I have never done worse in my Oscar pools than since starting the ODR. Knowing the films doesn't do squat for you, trust me. More on that in February.)
If anyone wants to join me in an ODR sidecar, I'm torn between "that's awesome" and "ohhh no no no no don't do that," but I hope you'll hit the comments, discuss on Twitter, and cheer me on. With…rotgut.
Sarah D. Bunting co-founded Television Without Pity and has written for, among others, Glamour, Time Out New York, New York Magazine, and Yahoo! Shine. She's also the head lab tech at the North American Field Guide to Revolting Snacks. Please send booze and Cow Tales c/o Press Play.