Movies

What It’s Like to Watch Every 2019 Oscar-Nominated Film, Volume Three

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Dearest readers, I must admit that I felt some major fatigue during this last leg of watching the final eleven Oscar-nominated films and remaining two shorts categories. As with the last batch, I dreaded having to watch some of these films, for reasons outlined below. But, I finished—and found myself pleasantly surprised by a handful of nominees. Read on for Volume Three.

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Movies

What It’s Like to Watch Every 2019 Oscar-Nominated Film, Volume Two

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In Volume One, I discussed the fourteen films I saw before the Oscar nominations were announced. Those were films I had wanted to see on my own before I decided to challenge myself to watch every single Oscar-nominated film this year. For this round, I’ll be discussing twelve features and one shorts category, which I selected chiefly because I found myself in a now-or-never situation since they were about to leave theaters. Most of them only have one or two nominations, and two are Best Picture contenders.

Overall, I found quite a few surprises with this batch—both good and bad. Because some of these films did let me down, I felt myself losing steam and motivation to watch a film each night. That said, I did do this to myself, and I am committed to this journey. So without further ado, here’s Volume Two…

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Movies

What It’s Like to Watch Every 2019 Oscar-Nominated Film, Volume One

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As a costume designer who moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, it should come as no surprise that I love Oscar season. In grade school, I wore prom dresses while watching the telecast in my living room, and in college, I invited friends over for Oscar-watching parties. Once, I even won a ticket to the Oscar Red Carpet Fan Experience, and I’m staring at an Oscar poster as I write this piece. As someone who practically lives for this particular awards show, I try to make it a point to see as many nominated films as possible. Last year was a personal best—I saw every single Best Picture nominee before the nominations were announced.

This year proved to be a different story. Between the decline of MoviePass, my reluctance to join another movie theatre subscription service, and what I can only describe as a sleepy, lackluster awards season, I had only seen half of the Best Picture nominees by nomination day, alongside a smattering of the other nominated films. While looking over the full nomination list, I realized that if I simply watched the rest of the Best Picture nominees, I would be well on my way to covering a vast majority of the other nomination categories—and that’s when I thought, Why not? If I was going to be critical of this awards season overall and use adjectives such as “sleepy” and “lackluster” to describe it, why not attempt to back these opinions up with substantive evidence by watching all of the nominated films?

For this Dinner Party “miniseries,” I’ll be doing the heavy lifting for you this Oscar season, chronicling my journey through watching all of the nominated films in such a condensed time frame. Read on for some of my thoughts and reactions about the fourteen films I saw before nomination day—and before I formally set out on this wild cinematic journey.

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Art

Afternoon Rainstorm Beneath the White Tent (Again): Dinner Party Does Frieze LA

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Articles on commercial art fairs almost always start with some variation of, “It’s easy to hate on [insert art fair here],” and Frieze is no exception. To a large degree, this statement rings true—and not just because an art critic is attempting to make some lofty, highbrow commentary about the debasement of visual art through commodification.

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Think Piece Roundup

Think Piece Roundup: Marie Kondo and The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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I’m fascinated by America’s current fixation with Marie Kondo. I’ve been familiar with the KonMari method for years now, from an old boss who eagerly anticipated getting their hands on the English translation of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up back in 2014. And though I had an inkling that Kondo’s gentle, thoughtful approach to organization had the potential to reach the upper echelons of spirited office lunch hour conversations, I never would have imaged that this cheery, shiny-haired tidying fairy could actually cause thrift stores across the country to restrict their intake due to an overwhelming increase in donations.

Not only has Kondo caused the creation of a slew of new memes, a dedicated r/konmari subreddit with over 40k followers, and an entirely new verb, but thanks in part to her wildly popular Netflix series, it seems that Kondo and her methods have sent more than a few cultural pundits into a typing frenzy. Read on for a curated list of articles about the internet’s latest obsession, from an assessment of “the privilege of clutter,” to a dissection of the not-so-subtle racist outcry against the organizing guru.

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Longform

Coping Isn’t the Goal: Jameela Jamil and the Violent Narrative Against Women’s Bodies

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On a cold November morning halfway through my sophomore year of high school, I was sitting in a hospital examination room feeling an acute sense of relief when a doctor told me I was not allowed to go out for basketball season. I’d lost too much weight to make physical activity viable. This relief was two-fold; I hated basketball, and I’d been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. My doctor was unimpressed, but something like pride welled up in me. I’d earned something; anorexia nervosa rang in my ears like an accolade. Now others would intervene to take away what I’d fought so hard for, but at least I knew I had the capacity to achieve it.

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