Dear readers, it has been a rough week for me. Not one, but two of my favorite characters died in the respective midseason finales of “The Walking Dead” and “Supernatural.” Not only must I mourn their losses, I also must wait until January and February to see what happens next.
December is a bad time for TV, because all of your favorite shows go on a month and a half long hiatus, leaving you with horrendous cliffhangers and emotional pain. Really, there’s no reason to turn on the television at all except to watch ABC Family’s delightful “25 Days of Christmas” movie marathons. Or football, if you’re into that sort of thing.
But there is no need to despair! All the quality TV may be gone, but late November/early December is a beautiful time. It’s Christmas season, but more importantly…it’s Oscar season!
Guys, you have no idea how much I love Oscar season. Snow is theoretically falling, and the smell of competition is in the air! This is the time when many of the movies vying for recognition are going to be released. In this month, we have a plethora of heavy-hitters. Next weekend, we have The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which will be mediocre but earn a ton of money and probably be nominated for a few Academy Awards in special effects. But what I’m really looking forward to seeing on December 13 is American Hustle, from David O. Russell. Russell most recently directed Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter, and his newest film features some of the best actors of our time. Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence star in what looks to be an over-the-top, excellent portrayal of con-men and corruption in 1970s New Jersey.
American Hustle. Photo courtesy of Francois Duhamel/EW.
And on December 25, the most wonderful presents that anyone can receive are this year’s big Oscar contenders opening in theaters! There’s August: Osage County, which is about a terrible, dysfunctional family. They have a reunion, shenanigans ensue. It stars Meryl Streep, so you know that it’s going to be a big deal this season.
If you’re in the mood for a family movie, but without all the drug addiction and fighting, I suggest you check out Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. Starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, who hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar in thirteen years, this feel-good movie is about how the movie Mary Poppins was made. Literally everyone loves Mary Poppins, so I’m hopeful. Even though it’s the origin story we never wanted, it will still be better than Superman’s origin story in Man of Steel.
And Leo is back in the game! Leonardo DiCaprio, longtime sufferer of the always-the-nominee syndrome when it comes to awards shows, may finally have his shot at the big one with The Wolf of Wall Street. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this refreshing tale of corporate greed features Leo as a generally charming bad boy businessman in the 1990s. This will be a real change from when he played a generally charming bad boy in Romeo + Juliet, or a generally charming bad boy poor person in Titanic, or a generally charming bad boy slave owner in Django Unchained, or a generally charming bad boy rich person in The Great Gatsby…I jest, of course. He wasn’t that charming in The Departed.
Leo. Photo courtesy of EW.
You see, lots of great movies are coming out in the upcoming month, but lots of great movies have already come out this year. 12 Years a Slave, anyone? Furthermore, this year’s race for Best Actor is looking extremely competitive already. Chiwetel Ejiofer is basically a lock for his phenomenal performance in 12 Years a Slave, but he’s facing some pretty big names. Matthew McConaughey has been earning rave reviews as a Texan man with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, and old school movie star Robert Redford is being lauded by the media for his portrayal of a fisher lost at sea. Tom Hanks might even have a double billing in the Best Actor race, both as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks and as the titular character in Captain Phillips. Everyone agrees: this is the race to watch.
So guys, don’t despair the lack of substantive television too much, because you have been given the gift of really good movies. Go forth, and spend all of your money buying ridiculously overpriced tickets and refreshments. It’ll be worth it, to see these movies and get in the Oscar-prediction loop. The songs really have it right about December: it’s the most wonderful time of the year.