Essay, Film Review, Hodge Podge

Oscar Death Race – What It Is and The Why of It All

If you don’t have any limits on genre of music please sign up for my music commentary newsletter here. There will be a new release report and random news and info about music, movies, books and whatever else I’ve deemed interesting. It’s not just an email of links (I hate those).

The Oscar Death Race is the nanowrimo of movie watching. The rules are you must watch every Oscar nominated film before the Oscars air. That’s all of them, not just the Best Picture nominees. This involves some strategy considering not everything is readily available in some of the smaller categories like Best Foreign Film and the short film categories. Torrenting is going to happen, but of course we’ll give it distributors up until the last minute to release the harder to find films.

Someone needs to let the distributors and movie studios know that it’s 2018 and your award nominated film shouldn’t be difficult to watch. I would gladly pay the $4 to rent any of these films instead of having to resort to deep interest searches.

The idea started with this NPR article.

Sarah Bunting is an accomplished internet fansite writer from the late 90s that decided to challenge herself to something silly like this and now the phenomenon has gathered a bit of steam. There is an Oscar Death Race Sub Reddit, that you’ll find me on semi-often and where people will help you watch some of those harder to find films.

Movie Pass will be an important factor in not being poor while watching these movies in the theater. For those that don’t know, movie pass is a service where you pay 9.99 and get to watch one movie per day for free in the vast majority of theaters are the country. Right now there are at least five nominated movies kicking around in most theaters, you can do that math. Movie Pass, the Netflix account I have anyway, the Amazon Prime account I have anyway, will be important tools in the death race to come.

My plan is to write articles, raw reviews and mini-essays about as many of these films as possible. It’s easy to get behind on that but I’ve already ready written three (I thought Downsizing would get nominated for something but I was wrong). My essay on Lady Bird has already been posted. Others are posted on, but I won’t link to those because I will end up just posting them all here.

What’s the point of all this? After all, I haven’t even been able to get in all of the Best Picture films in past years, so why even bother? I don’t really have an explanation for any of this. Part of it is my weird gamification tendencies, which would explain the racing to finish before the Oscars air. The more important part is where I like put myself in a position to watch or do things that I might not do otherwise.

The truth is I am attracted to super hero movies and Star Wars and other stuff studios pay millions of dollars to market to me. I enjoy the kinds of films that get nominated for Oscars and I enjoy foreign films, but they never draw me in. Also just like any random Marvel movie some of these artsy films can be bad on their own and the Oscar nominations act as quality regulator (that being said there are nominated films that suck). I’m not going to watch 25 foreign films but the five or six that get nominated is a reasonable number and they’re movies I’d never think to watch.

So the nominations were announced and a death racer has 59 movies to watch between now and March 4th. The good news is if you’re me you’ve already watched some of the low hanging fruit, Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy for example were both nominated for the visual effects award. They aren’t easy to find, but the short film categories for live action, animated and documentary will cut 15 movies from the list of 59. Alas I am only at 10 so far and was in the middle of the documentary “Last Men in Aleppo” when I decided to finish writing this post. Maybe I’ll be at 11 by the time this goes up.

Since the categories are meaningless in the death race I won’t post nominations by category instead here a simple list, in alphabetical order, of everything one would need to watch in order to complete the death race:

A Fantastic Woman

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

All the Money in the World

Baby Driver

Beauty and the Beast

Big Stick

Blade Runner 2049

Call Me by Your Name


Darkest Hour

Dear Basketball

DeKalb Elementary

Disaster Artist


Edith + Eddie

Faces Places


Florida Project

Garden Party

Get Out

Greatest Showman

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405


I, Tonya


Knife Skills

Kong: Skull Island

Lady Bird

Last Men in Aleppo




Loving Vincent


Molly’s Game


My Nephew Emmett

Negative Space

On Body and Soul

Phantom Thread

Revolting Rhymes

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Strong Island

The Boss Baby

The Breadman

The Eleven O’Clock

The Insult

The Post

The Shape of Water

The Silent Child

The Square

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Traffic Stop

Victoria & Abdul

War for the Planet of the Apes

Watu Wote/All of Us