I’m still finishing my Academy Awards homework, getting ready for the Oscars on Sunday, my favorite holiday of the year. It occurred to me today that I have viewed many Oscar nominees in multiple formats: at the Arclight Sherman Oaks with optimal sound and visual technology at work, on a mid-size screen at a multiplex, on my 47″ Samsung HDTV, on my 27″ Sony Flatscreen with multiple dog-barking interruptions and on the back seat of a Virgin America flight monitor with $3 headphones. I believe these multiple viewing experiences have a direct correlation on the impact of the movie. They may even sway my votes and make me lose my Oscar pool!
I saw American Hustle and Gravity at the Arclight. Gravity made me hold my breath as I felt immersed with Sandra Bullock in her completely dark sphere. Hi, George. Bye, George. I didn’t know the international space stations were up there like rest areas on the interstate. Last Space Station in this Galaxy 75,000 miles!
I thoroughly enjoyed American Hustle, from the 70′s soundtrack and hair curlers to the family portraits on Carmine and Dolly Polito’s wall. Christian Bale was unrecognizable underneath all that polyester and hair glue. I thought Amy Adams was mesmerizing as she slid between characters and groovy outfits. I wonder if I had watched that one at home or on a plane if I would have thought I was watching a Baretta marathon though.
Captain Phillips translated well to my HDTV. I was riveted to the screen. Very glad I read the true account of what happened in the final hours by Mark Owen in No Easy Day. Just another day on the job for the extraordinary Navy Seals, pulling off a miracle with jaw-dropping precision.
12 Years a Slave is a history lesson we should all witness. Heart-wrenching performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o made me flinch and feel deep shame for humanity. I was equally fascinated by the performances of Michael Fassbender and Sarah Paulson as those roles could not have been easy to live with. I watched this at home. I think I would have been much more deeply impacted if I saw it in the theatre and it would have been a sure Best Picture pick for me.
The Wolf of Wall Street was so much fun! I watched this one at home too. I had been warned before viewing about how long it was and how often the F word was used. Neither of those bothered me.There were just so many comparisons running through my head during this one— Leo in The Great Gatsby, Michael Douglas in Wall Street, Sharon Stone in Casino, Ray Liotta in Goodfellas. I don’t know which scene I rewound more: Leonado DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey at lunch or Jonah Hill at the pool party. I love a good Men Behaving Badly moment…or ten thousand. I was intrigued by the debauchery and wondered about the parents of all the girls in those scenes. I imagined them at their book clubs exclaiming. “My daughter got a role in the Martin Scorsese film! She’s the BLUE CHIP Hooker, not the Nasdaq or Pink Sheet Hooker.” Disclaimer: I watched this alone. Had I been with my mother or nearly anyone else I would have been MORTIFIED. Had I seen this on a big screen I would have had to pick my jaw off the floor before exiting the theatre.
I saw Frozen at the McMinnville Multiplex with my 13 and 4 year-old nephews. I was babysitting for the first time and desperate to keep them occupied. I didn’t know much about the movie except that there was a funny snowman in it. I started to panic after the first hour when it was all about the princesses. Then I heard Idina Menzel’s voice and Olaf came back. Whew! They didn’t love it as much as I did, but we made it through. Another Disney sleeper I saw in McMinnville was Saving Mr. Banks. I was amazed that they made a movie out of this B story. I loved the 60s details in this period piece and the 13 year-old enjoyed it too.
I watched Nebraska on my 27″ TV and it suited this B/W film just fine. It was like watching a home movie about someone else’s dysfunctional family problems. Sure, it was slow as molasses and I dozed and rewound a lot, but it had so many resonating moments. Driving for miles to visit someone only to just say hello in the driveway or sitting around watching TV with relatives when you really don’t have anything to say. And you KNOW that’s exactly what would happen to you if people learned you won the lottery!
My last screen experience was watching Blue Jasmine on Virgin America. I don’t usually watch films on flights because I tend to fall asleep immediately while taxiing. I think I missed a lot of the nuances of Cate Blanchett’s performance on this small screen. Maybe she just didn’t seem that crazy to me!
How much do you think your viewing experience affects the impact a film has on you? Is it fair to judge the Oscar-worthy films on multiple platforms?
A few days left to cram in some films before the big day Sunday. I’ll be tweeting for The Insider like I did for the Grammys. Follow me on Twitter @pinkypulse #Insider #Oscars