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The 2018 Oscar Challenge

To be abundantly clear, I do not think that everyone should attempt this challenge. Nor do I even really think it is reasonable. But every year I set out with the same goal in mind: to watch all of the films nominated for the Oscars. Generally, this is for no other reason than that the Oscars pull together a list of films that often have some degree of merit to them, and it's fun to have a challenge. However, as I've learned from the past, just going into it full speed is not a good way to complete this list. Watching all the Oscar-nominated films in a little over a month is a marathon, not a sprint. To this end, I've outlined the way that I like to break up the challenge in my head, giving myself tiers to hit and groups to try and clear rather than the whole list of sixty films. Enjoy! 

Tier 1: Best Picture

For this tier of the challenge, you need to have seen all nine films that are nominated for best picture. By completing this tier, you will also have seen all of the films for the Director category. That is:

Total Films Watched for Challenge: 9

Percentage of Oscar Nominations Watched in this Tier: 44.62%

Tier 2: Actors, Actresses, Screenplays

For this tier, in addition to the above nine films, you will also have to watch the remaining nine films for the categories of Best Lead and Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Original and Adapted Screenplay. The added film’s will be:

Total Films Watched for Challenge: 18

Percentage of Oscar Nominations Watched in this Tier: 11.57%

Tier 2.5: Screenplays (Hardcore Mode)

In addition to watching the films, read the ten nominated screenplays. For Original Screenplay, those will be:

For Adapted Screenplay, those will be:

Tier 3: Choose Your Own Adventure #1

You must watch all of the films in either the Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, or Foreign Feature. That will be either:

OR

OR

Total Films Watched for Challenge: 23

Percentage of Oscar Nominations Watched in this Tier: 3.30% (4.95% if you watched the Animated Films)

Tier 4: Choose Your Own Adventure #2

For this tier, in addition to the above two tiers, you will need to watch ALL of the remaining films in Production Design, Costume, and Hair and Makeup and all of the remaining films in EITHER Cinematography, Editing, and Visual Effects, OR Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score, and Original Song. Namely you MUST watch:

And EITHER:

OR:

Total Films Watched for Challenge: 30 or 31 (But seriously just go watch Coco.)

Percentage of Oscar Nominations Watched in this Tier: 16.52%

Tier 4.5: The Scores (Super Hardcore Mode)

After having seen the films, independently listen to the scores and original songs. Namely:

Tier 5: The Shorts

For this, the penultimate tier, you must complete all of the above tiers and then watch ALL of the shorts: Animated, Live Action, and Documentary. Thanks to Shorts.TV, the shorts are often presented on the big screen at an art house or larger theater near you. You can check the list here. (Also good to note: Because of the length of the Documentary shorts this year, a number of theaters have split them up into two different showings. With the animated films you also may even catch a few that were not nominated to pad out the run time.) The short films nominated are:

Total Films Watched for Challenge: 46

Percentage of Oscar Nominations Watched in this Tier: 12.39%

Bonus Tier: The Final Test (Super Duper Hardcore Mode)

After having watched the above 46 films, you have 13 films left to round it out to the full 59 films that were nominated for an Oscar this year. (The remaining two categories of Tier 3 and the other three films in Tier 4) At this point you will have achieved total Oscar 2018 mastery, and on March 4th, when you watch the show with all your friends, you will have every right to talk after every award has been given, act indignant when your favorite underdog film gets snuffed, and recommend all the movies from this list to your friends who haven’t seen any of them. You’ve earned it. I mean, at this point, you’ve spent over $400 to watch these films legally. (Unless you use Movie Pass) So yeah. Do what you want. I’m not going to stop you.

Total Films Watched for Challenge: 60

Percentage of Oscar Nominations Watched in this Tier: 11.6%

Percentage of Oscar Nominations Watched Across All Tiers: 100%

Artist's Hands (Written in Gallery 250 at the MFA Boston)

Theater Thoughts: Thor: Ragnarok