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Home » Culture and Criticism

Oscars Death Race: Last day

Submitted by on February 26, 2012 – 10:12 AM18 Comments

Sarah 61, Oscars 0
Thanks for all the support and comments, and a hat tip to everyone else who raced along with me. I am THRILLED that the third time was the charm; consider this one crossed off the list permanently.

Current score as of 10 AM on Oscars day: Sarah 60, Oscars 1

I’ll provide a more complete list of links a little later today; in the meantime, the best way to find all the stuff you haven’t read yet — including A Separation, various shorts, my picks for Best Director and Picture, et al. — is to click this link, which will bring you to all Oscars-Death-Race-tagged material on Press Play.

Thanks for your support and patience, and watch this space.




  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    I hope you can stay awake and sane for the actual awards, Sars!

  • gabster says:

    Congrats! That is quite an accomplishment. My final tally was 47 out of 61. I’m pretty happy with that, since I knew I wouldn’t have the opportunity to see most of the foreign language films, and a few of the others haven’t hit theaters around here. I’m annoyed that La Luna isn’t on iTunes with the rest of the animated short nominees and God is the Bigger Elvis wasn’t included in the documentary shorts program shown in theaters. I would have liked to complete those categories.

  • Shannon says:


  • Mary says:

    Congrats! Hope you had some fun doing it!

  • Cat_slave says:


  • Rachel says:

    I managed 42 out of 60, which I think is pretty good for a first attempt. Really, it was Tinker Tailor that did me in (I’m stuck halfway through it). But I plan to finish the race, although at a more reasonable pace.

    It was very different to see the awards after having seen most of the films. I’m glad that Extremely Loud didn’t win best picture, thrilled that Rango won, and disappointed in all of the shorts winners (my vote would have gone for A Morning Stroll, Tuba Atlantic, and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom).

    I’m definitely going to try again next year.

  • Sandman says:

    So were the Oscars more disappointing for you, or less, after your Death Race victory? Not that I watched the broadcast, but it sounds like the Academy didn’t really do right by you.

  • ct says:

    Congratulation! And thank you! It was really fun to read.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I don’t know if “disappointing” is the right metric, but it’s a good question, in the larger sense of whether the Oscars are disappointing — and I think that if you take them seriously as a barometer of what we “should” think is a quality film or story, they will always always disappoint you. I mean, for every time a Hilary Swank wins for a “Boys Don’t Cry,” there’s a “Brokeback” getting boned in favor of “Crash.” This is how the Academy does it.

    I was glad to be finished, glad/proud that I had seen every single movie and could have an opinion about every single category. I am a know-it-all, and I got to know it all, finally, this once. Disappointed in what won, or where I picked incorrectly, though? Not really. Some of the oversights at the nomination stage disappointed me (The Interrupters, Meek’s Cutoff, Rampart, etc.), and I remain disappointed that I endured J. Edgar for no reason (well, except to make fun of it to Couch Baron, so it wasn’t a total loss, heh).

    But the saving grace of the Death Race and the many ass pains it causes is that it’s instructive, not just in making me see movies I’d otherwise avoid and being pleasantly surprised or even entranced at times, but in reminding me that we don’t all see movies the same way or have the same experience of them. Or, as Gen put it when Undefeated kind of came out of left field to win Best Doc, “People love football.” It’s my job to think about stories and assess how they’re told; not everyone comes to it like that.

    So. No, not disappointed. My opinions have their place and I put them there, and now it’s done and I can move on to the next thing. (Probably a Revolting Snack.)

  • WendyD says:

    I ended up at 49 of 61 with 20 categories completed. An improvement over last year. Maybe next year will be my year.

    This is the second time I’ve attempted the Death Race after 10+ years of just seeing all the Best Picture nominees. I love the Oscars pretty much like they are, all traditional and stuffy (though they need to figure out the Best Song issues), but watching so many of the nominated films has changed my expectations somewhat. It used to be “root for the films I’ve seen” since I would usually have only seen one or two in most categories, but now seeing the majority of the nominees, I find I’m rooting for any one film less and more sitting back and seeing how it shakes out. Though if I really hate a film (SHUT UP, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY PANDERING) I will still wish a pox on its house. I’ve also come to be able to appreciate a film I didn’t really like or get where recognition is due. That said, I thought it was a crime that TREE OF LIFE didn’t take Cinematography.

    I’ll keep the torch going next year ;)

  • Sandman says:

    … I think that if you take them seriously as a barometer of what we “should” think is a quality film or story, they will always always disappoint you. I mean, for every time a Hilary Swank wins for a “Boys Don’t Cry,” there’s a “Brokeback” getting boned in favor of “Crash.” This is how the Academy does it.

    Sadly true, I’m sure. Actually, I was thinking in more general terms that there appears to be something of a consensus that the Oscars as a show were duller than usual this year. Not that I was expecting Crystal to give you a thumbs-up and toss a “Not for nothing, but Buntsy saw every last damn one of these things her own self this year; call her, Georgie!” your way. But in some part of me I wished that there could have been an especially fun Oscar broadcast to cap off your Death Racing.

    It occurs to me only now that I really have no idea whether the members of the Academy actually watch all the nominees; I think I’ve been presuming that there’s some sort of breakdown by category, but what do I know, after all?

    I still have never seen Crash, by the way. I am clearly not Death Race material. Congratulations to you.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Broadcast-wise, I thought it was fine. Crystal isn’t the edgiest guy, but he is a consummate pro and he kept the shit moving. At least you know what you’re getting with him. The last hour dragged somewhat but it wasn’t that long (no Thalberg this year probably helped).

    Again, I was just so glad that I saw that last doc short and could finally enjoy a glass of champers and not give a shit that the ceremony itself was almost beside the point.

  • Erin W says:

    Very awesome that you finished, Sarah. I always flag in my Oscar racing in the last couple weeks before the show–also I live in a city that just doesn’t get everything (foreigns and docs, notably)–so I will never finish. But you’re right about the unexpected pleasures. I would probably have never gone to see A Separation just for a Saturday night’s entertainment, but WOW.

  • Brandi says:

    Congrats on finishing Sars!!!

  • Ben says:

    I read part of Sars comment as “It’s my job to think about stories and asses…” and for a minute I was too confused as to what your current job was to finish the sentence. Long day. That is all.

  • Sandman says:

    “I read part of Sars comment as ‘It’s my job to think about stories and asses…'”

    Well, if we count the Crushed Film Festival…

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Depends on your definition of “ass,” too. See: Leery, Dawson; Hanson, Tom; Cusack, John; et al.

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