I know what you're thinking, it's Oscar season and you're going to an Oscar party but you don't know one single thing about the Oscars.
Listen, that's fine, and here's why. Oscar nominees are not watchable. They're often in languages other than English and typically employ long, incoherent passages of lens flares and "Keira Knightly face". No reasonable person under the age of 65 should be interested in anything Oscar related. You're good.
But who doesn't love a fun night out? (Especially these days, lolz.)
And that's where I come in.
I have thoroughly reviewed each of the 9 Best Picture contenders and assembled your plan of attack for each of them. So when one of your friends announces "What's all this mess about Beasts of the Southern Wild, y'all?" You'll be locked and ready with "oh, it's only an explosion of joy in the midst of startling squalor and one of those most visceral, original films to come along in a while." --rottentomatoes.com
So read on, bone up, and prepare to take home the award for "hit of the party". But most of all enjoy yourself. After all, that's what Oscar season is about, regular people syphoning joy and self-worth from the masturbatory adulation of the Hollywood elite.
And so, without further ado:
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
I did not watch this film. I saw the trailer and there is an impossibly adorable little girl in it. Unfortunately, Hollywood has a tendency to put undue stress/pressure on precocious/loveable kids to dredge up sympathy in audiences. A cheap trick, but very effective. Anyway, I didn't want another Little Man Tate situation on my hands, so I did not watch Beasts of the Southern Wild.
MY ADVICE: At the party, collect a large mass of food (will work with pizza, chips, cocoa products, etc.) Then, repeat the rottentomates quote from above before depositing the foodstuffs as close to your epiglottis as possible. If any party goers corner you with further questions about the quote, lapse into a choking fit. Once you have recovered, nobody will even remember what was being discussed due to the sheer joy over your survival, assuming you are beloved. (If you find the quote to be satisfactory, however, simply chew and swallow the food as you normally would.)
I did not watch this film. This is the type of "non-English" film I mentioned above. The entire picture is in a language called French. The title is also a word in the French language which means "love".
MY ADVICE: Mention that the film's title means "love" in the French language and score attraction points with female party goers. If you're already in a relationship, even better for you. Congrats.
I watched this film. It's pretty good. It's also highly offensive.
MY ADVICE: "Hold your horses". It's likely that other party goers have seen this film, so take the temperature of the room before declaring your opinion. If everyone thinks it was good, say it was good. If others think it was offensive, agree with them. You are exempt from discussing Django in any great detail, as it is likely the conversation will devolve into which Tarantino movies it was not better than (Inglorious Basterds or Pulp Fiction, depending on the party's mean age/nostalgia susceptibilities). Don't stress, throw in your two cents, ride the wave.
I did not watch this film. This is a strange type of "in-between" film whose title is in the French language (it translates to: "The Miserables") but whose actual content is in the English language (stay with me here). Furthermore, the film is based on a play with much singing. Consequently, the film has much singing. It's what's known as a "Song-Film" which are notoriously difficult to sit in the same room as. On the plus side, the film's title gives you an opportunity to show off even more of your French to whichever girl(s) responded favorably earlier. Again, if you are already in a romantic relationship, do not attempt this. Your girlfriend will already know that you do not speak French if honesty is a prevailing principle in your relationship, which it hopefully is.
MY ADVICE: Steer discussion away from The Miserables by proposing this little known fact: One of the main actresses in the film is Anne Hathaway, who was part of a recently declassified government initiative in the late 90's/early 2000's to hoist mediocre talents of varying charisma indices into the public consciousness. This factoid will surprise and confound your friends at first, but upon further reflection begin to make absolute and irrefutable sense to them. You could even propose a game where you list other celebs who were part of this project. Here are some fun examples to get you started:
-"Your Body Is A Wonderland" authoring, quizzical Obama inauguration attending, highly slappable face possessor John Mayer.
-80% of One Direction, the first "assets" created completely in house (tidbit: before focus groups vehemently nixed it, the band's original name was "Petri Nectar".)
-Tattoo spokesman Adam Levine, who underwent a dangerous, but successful genetic modification that spliced his DNA with that of an oboe's (but for some reason now causes him to menstruate from his lymph glands 28 days out of the month.)
-Perennial domestic violence/lack of self-regard victim, Rihanna. (Here's a fun addendum to her entry: We all know Jay Z appeared on her song "Umbrella" but can you name the rapper who did a verse on her single "Galoshes" that was recorded during the same sessions but ultimately shelved in favor of "Umbrella"? It was none other than "Ludacris" Chris Bridges, of course. Another member of the program.)
-Channing Tatum, who received the code name "Miracle Man" after a segment of his parietal lobe was removed. (He'd been working as a stripper at the time, and was reluctant to participate in the infant government program. The operation was meant to eliminate Tatum's freewill. It instead left him with intermittent grand mal seizures, though Mr. Tatum has some control over them, which is why his mouth is perpetually ajar, his gaze a 50/50 mix of externally fixated and halfway through a fart.)
-Ashton Kutcher, (code name: "The Long Shot") who, despite performing 400% beyond expectations early in his career, has more recently fallen out of favour and has somehow been exposed as less talented/tolerable than an ex-stripper with missing brain parts.
ZERO DARK THIRTY
I did not watch this film. Torture is not tight. Not tight by a fair margin. Instead of watching it, I made that .jpeg of Ron Burgundy cannonballing into a space oasis of Jessica Chastain faces, which I would watch the shit out of.
MY ADVICE: Righteous indignation every time the film gets mentioned. You could even shout "Guantanamo". The word's connotations are so familiar at this point that it doesn't require nesting in a sentence.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
I did not watch this film. David O. Russell directed it. It's about two hours long and not as good as these four seconds that he also directed.
MY ADVICE: A person will mention having seen and liked this movie. One of two things will then happen.
a) a second guest will confirm the film's goodness and a conversation between the two will ensue, sotto voce
b) nobody will say anything and all will wait politely until the speaker has rotated their head back toward the television set
Just remain silent and hope for the best.
LIFE OF PI
I did not watch this film. According to its poster, it is about an Indian mariner who takes a bengal tiger sailing.
MY ADVICE: Announce that Life Of Pi was originally a book. Only one demographic does not know this, so look around the room to find guests who are cataloguing the info as though it is news to them. These are cannabis users. Sidle up to one of these users and begin talking about the tiger, but address the tiger by a proper name; an historical tiger. This will get the two of you spitballing other historical tigers. Cannabis users find this type of exercise entertaining to both hear and do. It's unclear why. Here are a few to have in your pocket:
1. Tigger - Winnie the Pooh consort, celebrated methamphetamine user
2. Hobbes - anthropomorphic fever dream
3. Montecore - albino, exonerated Roy Horn mauler
4. Woods - sexually insatiable Nike representative
5. Tony - sexually insatiable Corn Flake representative
6. The Pink Panther - not a tiger
7. The tiger that jumped out of the jungle in Apocalypse Now and scared that guy, Rajah, whatever this is, The Thundercats, etc..
Just have fun here. Real low-pressure sitch.
I reject the premise that Ben Affleck is a real man and not a conceptual metaphor for fame in America conceived to illustrate the inverse relationship between commercial viability and overall quality in film. Accordingly, I did not see this film. Here is a more detailed Affleck lineage to peruse at your leisure.
MY ADVICE: Play this on a nearby computer and use the bathroom. You should be brimming with complimentary drink at this point and holding it in can wreak havoc on the male reproductive system.
I did watch this movie. I also watched Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Both films were equally inferior to one another.
MY ADVICE: Redirect focus from Daniel Day-Lewis by making spurious claims about Abe Lincoln. "He was born without a prostate", "he invented javelin", "he was actually two children in a trenchcoat", et cetera. It's been a long night and this is your time to shine. Just try some things out, see where it takes you. Take a page from "What The Hell I've Been Drinking", the hand-written manifesto Lincoln wrote while in prison and: "live shit the fuck up, punk bitch!"