The Oscar Should Go To…

The Oscar nominations came out today, and for the first time in my life I feel perfectly qualified to pick a winner. Because, through a combination of unemployment, boredom, and cheap movies at the local cineplex every Tuesday, I have actually seen all ten films nominated for Best Picture. I’d never accomplished that feat before, even when the field consisted of only five nominees.

"Could somebody polish my torso, please?" (Courtesy of

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had favorites – I was thrilled when The Hurt Locker beat Avatar last year – but I couldn’t give an honest and true assessment when I’d only seen a few of the nominated films in years past. I looked at last year’s list; on Oscar night I had seen five of the ten movies vying for Best Picture. I have since caught up on three more thanks to Netflix, but to this day have still never seen An Education or A Serious Man. So, as much as I loved The Hurt Locker and rooted for it during the telecast, I had no way of knowing whether it would actually, in my mind, hold up against the competition as the best picture of the year.

This year, however…this year I can compare all ten films and decide for myself which is most deserving.

And the Oscar should go to…

Well, hang on a minute. I should backtrack and talk about my love for movies. I consider myself a cinephile (which, I suppose, means I harbor a deep passion for films that may or may not cross the line into obsession). I watch a lot of movies. In fact, I’ve kept every ticket stub from every movie I’ve seen dating back to 2005. Not only can I track every film I’ve seen, but I can also chart the course of rising ticket prices. Ouch. The list begins with In Good Company on January 18, 2005 ($6.50) and ends with The Fighter one week ago ($5 only because it was Tuesday; matinee prices are $8.50 regularly). Breaking it down by year, here are a few comments on the movies that I saw.

  • 2005: 16 movies. Highlights: Walk The Line, Sideways, The Aviator. Lowlights: Sahara.
  • 2006: 14 movies. Highlights: The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine, King Kong. Lowlights: An American Haunting.
  • 2007: 13 movies. Highlights: Juno, Into The Wild, Ratatouille. Lowlights: Premonition, Transformers.
  • 2008: 6 movies. Highlights: The Dark Knight, Wall-E, Iron Man. Lowlights: Indiana Jones & The Crystal Skull.
  • 2009: 9 movies. Highlights: Gran Torino, Up, Star Trek, Slumdog Millionaire. Lowlights: Revolutionary Road.
  • 2010: 12 movies. Highlights: The Social Network, Inception, 127 Hours. Lowlights: New Moon. (I was forced, kicking and screaming, to see that one. All because of a girl. Oh, the shame).

70 movies over five years. Seems like a lot, but maybe that’s just average? It works out to 14 a year, or one movie every 3.7 weeks. I can say that I’m well on track to breaking my own yearly record in 2011, having already seen three movies in the first four weeks of the year.

I could probably wallpaper my bedroom with ticket stubs. (Courtesy of

If I add up all the movies I’ve rented through Netflix, the numbers are really staggering! I watched 115 Netflix movies in 2008, which is probably a pretty good representation of my viewing history. One every third day? Sure. I won’t bother counting the rest…I’m already beginning to feel like I have no social life whatsoever!

So, without further ado. The Oscar should go to…

Wait. Since I’m such a movie buff, I should probably talk about some of my favorite films of all time, right? I love edgy dramas and independent films, but appreciate well-executed comedies, too. My faves include Goodfellas, American Beauty, Pulp Fiction, Little Miss Sunshine, Contact, Gladiator, Sling Blade, (500) Days Of Summer, The Usual Suspects, Swingers, The Lord Of The Rings, and Lady And The Tramp.

OK. Enough digressing. The envelope, please.

The Oscar should go to…

  1. Black Swan if you love seeing Princess Amidala all grown up and getting it on with another girl.
  2. The Fighter if you love any of the first three or the 6th Rocky movies but rightfully detest # 4 and 5.
  3. Inception if you love repeating “What’s going on NOW?” in your head every three or four minutes.
  4. The Kids Are All Right if you love lesbians and red wine.
  5. The King’s Speech if you love history; the R-R-Royal Family; and English accents.
  6. 127 Hours if you love blood.
  7. The Social Network if you love status updates; “likes”; and Farmville.
  8. Toy Story 3 if you love animated three-quels about inanimate objects coming to life and Randy Newman songs.
  9. True Grit if you love scene-for-scene remade Westerns; guys who wear eye patches but aren’t pirates; and endless comparisons to John Wayne.
  10. Winter’s Bone if you love backwoods Appalachian dramas that don’t feature banjos or squealing like a pig.

The truth is, I enjoyed all ten films, and it’s hard to pick a winner. But if I were a member of the Academy, I’d have to cast a vote, of course. And after a lot of thought and scrutiny, I would say…because of its gripping and contemporary story, amazing acting, and nonstop adrenaline-pulsing excitement…

The Oscar should go to The Social Network.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

19 thoughts on “The Oscar Should Go To…

  1. Great post, Mark! I envy that you saw all ten…makes me miss when I used to have the time…
    not that I’d want the time you have…currently.
    ok…this is all coming out…wrong.
    you know what I mean.
    i hope


    1. “The King’s Speech” I suspect will give “The Social Network” its biggest run for the money. I do think Colin Firth takes the acting prize for that one, barely edging out Christian Bale.


  2. OMG – You saw New Moon?



    Whew… thought we might have lost you for a minute there. πŸ˜› ~


  3. ” I consider myself a cinephile (which, I suppose, means I harbor a deep passion for films that may or may not cross the line into obsession).”

    HAHAHAHAHHAHA! OMG, that’s flawless, Mark! I think I just learned a new word!

    Can you believe for someone who loves films as much as you, I have only seen TWO of the nominated films? Inception and The Kids Are Alright. Inception I have NO IDEA what was going on, it hurt my head, so I just stopped watching the DVD. The Kids Are Alright, I really liked, yet I’m not sure it’s Oscar material.

    I’ve heard from several people that Black Swan was really great, but I haven’t seen it yet.

    Hey, wasn’t American Beauty awesome?

    Oh well, I’ll be curious to see who Mr. Oscar goes to this year.

    Great post!


    1. I can see Annette Bening possibly winning an Oscar for The Kids Are All Right, but otherwise, the movie’s a long shot. Great story, though. It’s always nice to see Mark Ruffalo stretch his acting chops.

      American Beauty is to die for.

      Pun intended…


  4. I’m going to have to boo your 2009 lowlight. I loved Revolutionary Road.

    I’ll try to make up for my criticism though by completely supporting your vote for The Social Network. I haven’t seen all ten nominees, but I’m still eager to show my support for this film. I found it brilliant. I also think I may be one of the only people that didn’t walk away thinking Mark Zuckerburg is a prick. But that’s a different topic.


    1. I wanted so badly to like Revolutionary Road. I loved the acting. Both Kate Winslett and Leonardo DiCaprio are amazing, and they’re two of my favorite actors. But the story was such a downer…so freakin’ depressing…it was hard for me to get past that.

      Then again, I saw it during a very bitter and cynical stage of my life, so that certainly didn’t help matters.


  5. I could live with The Social Network being best film, but I won’t be happy if Jesse Eisenberg wins best actor. I’m rooting for Colin Firth. I just feel like Eisenberg is too similar to Zuckerberg, and it’s not as much about stretching yourself and learning a character, whereas for some of the other nominees it seemed like more of a process. I could be totally wrong though.

    Either way, wine and appetizers and my place come oscar night!


    1. Oh, you’re inviting me over? Awesome! I’ll bring the bean dip!

      I agree with you 100% over the acting. The film was great, but Colin Firth deserves the trophy. Or Christian Bale (who was downright amazing in The Fighter). Jesse can be thankful he was nominated.


  6. *sigh* My life is so sad…I have seen ONE on that list and of course, being as Disney-obsessed as I am (does that make me a Disneyphile? No? Maybe?), that one film was Toy Story 3. I’m surprised it is on the list, frankly, although I did love it. I also love that two other Pixar films are on your highlights and that a Disney classic is on your list of all-time faves. Clearly, I love a lot of things about your opinions today. What I do NOT love is that I have seen so few movies on that list! Eep.


  7. Revolutionary Road as a low light? I LOVED that movie!! I actually own it (and I’m not much of a movie buff and hardly own any movies at all). Not sure if I am going to be able to trust your opinions on movies now… which is truly sad, considering you clearly watch WAAAAY more movies than me. I’ve watched more movies in this past year than I have in the past five!! I’m trying to catch up — ish.


    1. My friend Kandace left a similar comment about Revolutionary Road. I could go into why I disliked the movie so intensely, but that would be most appropriate in another Simply Solo guest post, trust me!


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