Just Call Her Ms. Ebert

By Mona Malacane

If you are looking for Nancy Tyree between now and any weekend before March 2nd, you will most likely find her at AMC. Why? Because she will be studying for awards season by watching all of the Oscar nominated movies for Best Picture.

academy awards logo

Thus began Nancy’s tradition of watching the nominated films: “I started watching the nominees because I loved watching the Oscars and Globes each year, but I hadn’t seen most or any of the movies that were nominated.  I wanted to be able to judge for myself which ones deserved to win … The year I started was 2009, the first year the Academy expanded from 5 to 10 potential nominees for Best Picture.  That was also the year Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director, so it was a really good time to start.” But between the Academy Awards and the Globes, her preferred award show is the Globes explaining, “The globes are always more entertaining because they serve alcohol at the ceremony, so there are lots of drunk speeches!”

How actors feel during the awards show.

How actors feel during the awards show.

This year’s Oscar candidates include 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Her favorites so far? GravityHer, and Philomena. “I’m a sucker for films with interesting female characters. This year is lacking a little in that respect, but Gravity and Philomena had very compelling female leads. And Samantha from Her, while not the lead, was so smart and well developed, which I didn’t expect.  That being said, based on its critical reception, the best film this year for me will probably be 12 Years a Slave, so I’m saving that one to watch for last.”


But Nancy is all….

But of course her tradition isn’t just about watching to see who wins. If it was, it would be like watching the Olympics without watching the opening ceremony. (Who does that?!) Nancy also has to watch the pre-awards dog-and-pony show. “Seeing what everyone is wearing on the red carpet is mandatory, but I don’t know enough about fashion to critique anyone. For the ceremony, I’m usually on Twitter, reading everyone’s live tweets about the awards. I went to an Oscar’s party with friends to watch the ceremony once, but usually I stay in and watch them with my boyfriend and some wine.”

You would think that when you watch almost a dozen rather diverse movies, you would develop a preference towards a particular genre, but apparently Nancy doesn’t play favorites. “Not to sound like a special snowflake, but doing this project and getting to see some of the best films each year has helped me realize that a lot of great films are really tough to nail down into any particular genre.  Like, last year I think Beasts of the Southern Wild was one of my favorite films, and it was a coming of age story, loosely based on the fallout of Hurricane Katrina in a fictionalized bayou community, with a good mix of fantasy elements.  Lots of genres going on there!  This year, I was really impressed by Her, which is a romantic comedy/science fiction movie, which is such a strange mix, but it works well. I tend to like movies that play with genre conventions.” That being said, I’m going to throw it out there that “Movies That Play with Genre Conventions” should be a new category on Netflix.

Based on her five years of experience, Nancy gave me her Academy Award predictions. So if you’re a betting woman (or man) here they are:

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey or Chiwetel Ejiofor

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o

Best Director: hell, I don’t know, hopefully Steve McQueen

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

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