Catch up on the Oscar-nominated films before the big show

If you still need to catch
up on your Oscar-nominated movies before the awards show Sunday and you live
near an AMC Theatres chain, you’re in luck. Though, given the bleak
subject matter in most of this year’s nominated films, I’m not
sure if “luck” is the right word. On Saturday, AMC will screen
all five films

up for best picture in a row. The marathon will start at 11 a.m. and
end at 11 p.m.

Now, I’ve seen all five
films, and I watched three of them within a 24-hour span recently. Just
that alone was rough. So I really can’t imagine seeing all of them
in one day, particularly given most of their unrelentingly nihilistic
takes on humanity. There Will Be Blood
and No Country for Old Men are definitely not what I would call
feel-good films. While Atonement and Michael Clayton
are slightly more hopeful, little ray of sunshine Juno is the
only one with the audacity of fun. It’s also the only nominated film
centered on a female lead.

Both There Will Be Blood
and No Country for Old Men are practically devoid of female characters.
It’s a man’s world, and those men are bad, really bad. Seriously,
Daniel Day-Lewis
’ oilman Daniel Plainview and Javier Bardem’s
hitman Anton Chigurh are two of the scariest psychopaths ever committed
to film.

The other nominated films feature
more prominent female characters, but they don’t come off too rosy
either. Atonement is ultimately about the fallout from one little
girl’s lie. And Michael Clayton
features Tilda Swinton as a ruthless corporate attorney (wait,
is that redundant?). Her performance
is a fascinating study in how the primal Darwinian survival drive plays
out in the sophisticated world of high-stakes litigation. Let’s just
say that when faced with the fight-or-flight moment, she turns into
a no-holds-barred brawler.

So, how many of the Oscar hopefuls
have you caught? And which do you still want to see? The best picture
marathon costs $30 and you can come and go, in case you don’t want
to sit through the whole thing. And for heaven’s sake, if you haven’t
seen Juno yet, put it at the top of your list. The psycho killers,
liars and lawyers can wait.