The Best Picture Nominees as Reviewed by the Half-Asleep Mother of a Toddler

And the Oscar goes to . . . the film with the shortest run time!
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Johanna Gohmann
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And the Oscar goes to . . . the film with the shortest run time!

The Oscars are almost here, and your husband wants to see all of the Best Picture noms before the big night. Sounds like fun! 

And, anyway, you’ve had a hankering to kick back with eight three-hour films that feature great men doing something. There really aren’t enough films about this subject, you always say.

So after you’ve read Llama Llama Nighty Night 23 times, combed the rigatoni from your hair, and put your two-year-old to bed, grab those screeners your SAG neighbor loaned you (he was once poisoned on CSI Miami!), throw your wrecked corpse of a body onto the couch, and prepare to take in all the glory of this year’s cinematic best while in a half-comatose/semi-dream-like state. Here are your reviews of this year's blockbusters, all of which were viewed through partially-closed lids. 

Imitation Game

Soaring opening credit music. Clearly this is to be an inspirational tearjerker where someone with a furrowed brow perhaps does complicated equations on a window with a marker. 

Uh-oh, WWII bombers. Reverently pause your consumption of Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra. Grab the remote, as your husband never turns down explosions fast enough. 

Benedict Cumberbatch really is charming, isn’t he? What do they call those women who go apeshit over him? Cumberbags? Cumberbatch appears to be building a time machine. Are they going back in time to kill Hitler? There is talk of “maths.” Eyelids are now anvils. Put your head in your husband’s lap to “rest your eyes.” Please let Cumberbund make it back to the future safely. That is all you ask of life.

American Sniper

You can tell in the first three minutes this film is going to wake the baby. Bradley Cooper looks like he’s had a jaw implant. Or like he’s wearing a mouth guard. Wait, where’s your mouth guard? Probably fell behind the bed again. Goddammit. 

Sienna Miller doesn’t really suit brown hair. She’s still lovely, but that hair doesn’t work. Ask your husband to play with your hair. He says it will make you fall asleep, but you assure him it will actually perk you up. Because head massages are known to be wildly invigorating. Fall asleep to gunfire. Awaken to gunfire. Why is Bradley Cooper playing dolls? 

Now we’re in the desert. Really loud explosions. Many explosions. Husband needs to turn it down! Longest, loudest gun battle you’ve ever seen. Feels like you’re watching Star Wars. Wait, is this Star Wars? It isn’t. Is that the baby crying? It is. 

Trip your way to the bathroom. Smear Oil of Olay onto your face before picking up your son and falling onto your bed. Then question whether you washed your face before the Olay application. Who cares. You’ll never be as pretty as Sienna Miller. Even Brunette Sienna. Let the gods of slumber descend.

Selma

You really really want to stay awake for this one. After all MLK did, the least you could do is pay tribute to the man for 128 minutes, for god’s sake. Except that you’ve been up since 4:45 a.m. because that’s when your toddler thought it would be the perfect time to go sit in a cardboard box in the living room and feed pretend soup to a stuffed seal. 

The film is quite gripping though, so you might make it. Great performances all around. Look, Oprah is trying to vote. Can you imagine telling Oprah she can’t vote? Can you imagine telling Oprah no to anything? Oprah could explode the moon with her mind and mold the shards into custom furniture if she wanted. Try to tell your husband this. “Oprah could make the moon an ottoman if you tried to stop her.” He instructs you to be silent or go to bed, as you are making no sense and are clearly not fully awake. He is wrong. You are so awake. 

 John Legend is so talented. Wait, it’s the credits? When did they march? They did it already?!? Your husband’s eyes look wet. “That was powerful,” he says. You nod solemnly in agreement.

The Theory of Everything

There will definitely be someone doing equations on a window with a marker. This is actually really beautifully shot. Every scene looks like a painting. But if they start talking string theory you may as well wheel your mattress into the room. Jeez, this is all very sad. They’ve all been such sad films! 

Or at least you think so. Unless you missed the comedy slapstick portion of Imitation Game, where Cumberbatch initiates a pie fight with Tywin from Game of Thrones. I wonder what Hawking’s wife looks like in real life? Try to show your husband a photo of her on your phone. He swats your hand away. Hello, string theory! And so long consciousness . . . .

Birdman

Now this is your kind of film. Very excited to see this one. My God, remember the crush you used to have on Michael Keaton? You blush to remember it . . . . But the explosive charisma of Beetlejuice! You’ve never been so attracted to someone with black teeth and gangrenous flesh. And now here he is floating in his underwear! The 12-year-old in you is all aflutter. Or she would be, if she hadn’t been up at 3 a.m. playing clips of Taylor Swift on her iPhone for a 33-inch tall Swiftie. I stay up too late. Got nothin’ in my brain! That’s what people saaay! Mmm hmmm. That’s what people saaay!

Lots of people saying things in this film. There’s lots of fast, smart talkin’ going on. Especially from Edward Norton. Who looks rather hot with all that wavy hair. And to the fella over there with the hella good hair, won't you come on over baby we could shake, shake shake the couch cushions looking for the preposterously small Apple TV remote. 

Truly one of Apple’s most innovative designs: making one of life’s most misplaced items — the remote control — the size of two glued-together quarters. Wait! There is it in your wine glass. Pause the film, and inform your husband that your brain feels like it is collapsing in on itself, not unlike one of Hawking’s black holes. You decree that henceforth, all three-hour films about great men who meet tragic ends must be watched at high noon, or not at all.

Whiplash, Grand Budapest Hotel, and Boyhood, please rest assured you will be enjoyed at another time. A time when you can relax over a nutritious, carefully prepared meal during a quiet lunch hour, when your toddler sits at your feet and studiously puts together puzzles for several hours. A time you like to call: never. 

For tonight, you shall put on Broad City and laugh uproariously for 30 minutes about something that happened to Abby’s vagina. Then you shall rise, wash your face, forage your night guard from the dust bunny biohazard behind the bed, and go to sleep like a normal, reasonable, pathetic person at 9:30 p.m. And you shall rest soundly, as, for once, you haven’t passed out in skinny jeans. 

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