Purple Rock Offseason of No Survivor: John Guesses the Premises of the 2018 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Either last year or the year before it, we started a tradition around this time of year to quiz John on what he thinks the Best Picture nominees are about, using only the titles and whatever info he’s otherwise gleaned about them (which generally ranges somewhere between “virtually nothing” and “absolutely nothing”).

This is the part where I remind y’all that we all met him on a pop culture site.

Now, a generous observer would note that Oscar nominees are frequently little seen movies that aren’t even released wide in the year they represent. And that awards for movies are frivolous. You could say that John knowing nothing about them just puts him on par with most of the population. All of that would be fair.

Except that we could probably do a similar game with the top ten highest grossing films of the year and his success rate might not alter that much. Seriously you guys, I’ll never forget the time he was all, two to three months before its release, “they’re making a Superman vs Batman movie?!?” Frankly, his ability to completely seal himself away from even the most aggressive marketing campaigns might be admirable in some way.

So that’s what we’re dealing with here. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

John:

How many Best Picture nominees are there?

Andy:

9.

Let’s start easy: Dunkirk

Mark:

What I wish it was: Kirk Cameron gets magic sneakers that allow him to become the NBA’s unlikely superstar.

Andy:

Don’t make me ban you from this thread, Mark

Mark:

Hahahaha sorry

John:

Ok, I’ve seen enough on Twitter to know that Dunkirk is a WWII movie.

Andy:

I’m gonna need more than that.

John:

Ok, I want to preface this by laying out my overarching theory on the nominees: I’m guessing that they’re all the sort of movies that mock Trump or skewer the ideology of him and his supporters.

So I know Dunkirk is a WWII movie, and my guess is it’s included because the Academy wants to remind everyone that Nazis are bad. A thing that America apparently needs a refresher on.

Andy:

It’s probably tough for the red pills, since Christopher Nolan is a god of theirs, but Nazis are the bad guys

John:

And plotwise, Dunkirk is laser-focused on a specific battle, and there’s a very heroic soldier.

Andy:

Time to challenge your unifying theory: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

John:

Ok, from Twitter I know that this is somehow about racists.

So my guess is that some racist buys a billboard and puts up some ridiculous message like “End illegal immigration! Deport everyone!” Then there’s a whole big thing where Ebbing, Missouri has all these discussions about the billboard.

Andy:

You know what Get Out is about, right?

John:

Mostly. That one’s been discussed a lot. Makes fun of that specific strain of liberalism that pretends to embrace diversity but does it for show?

But also it’s a horror movie.

Andy:

The Post

John:

This one I know the rough details about because I’ve seen a preview thing on HBO. It’s about WaPo and the Pentagon papers. But it does fit nicely into my unifying theory.

Also it has Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

Andy:

I hope if someone wins from The Post they punctuate their speech with “RELEASE THE PEE TAPE!”

John:

Thus justifying the victory?

Andy:

Darkest Hour

John:

I know absolutely nothing about this one. My guess:

It’s another WWII movie, but from the British perspective. The Brits are getting bombed by Nazis, Churchill gives his famous speech, Dresden is reduced to rubble, and the movie ends with the announcement that they found Hitler’s body.

Andy:

Uh…. nailed it?

John:

Really?!

I’m telling you, the overarching theory thing can’t fail.

Emma:

Although I do like “this time from the British perspective” in contrast to… Dunkirk?

John:

I meant more that you get to see how Britain is suffering, rather than being on the front lines in continental Europe the whole time.

Andy:

The Shape of Water

John:

What the fuck kind of title is that?

Andy:

You tell us

John:

I have a feeling I’m not going to nail this one.

Andy:

It’s not about the Pee Tape.

John:

Andy:

John:

I kinda want to say that it’s set in Africa, and it’s about how Nestle is abusing some water access rights in order to steal fresh water from pristine African sources for pennies in order to make massive profits on it in Europe, but that seems too on the nose. Even though it does fit into my unifying theory.

So because it’s got a weird title, I’ll guess that it’s more artsy, and it’s maybe some kind of transgender coming of age story.

Andy:

To be fair, there was no way you’d get that one.

John:

Yeah, not a lot to go on there.

Emma:

Can we tell him what it’s actually about?

Andy:

Maybe we should? Go ahead, Emma.

Emma:

Deaf lady fucks a fish-man.

John:

Wow. Can’t believe I missed that.

Andy:

So close.

John:

Solid plot, though.

Emma:

Sally Hawkins is the lead actress, and she’s also the mom in Paddington.

So lots of anthropomorphizing going on there.

John:

As long as she didn’t fuck Paddington.

Andy:

She does not fuck Paddington. I’ve actually seen Paddington 2. Can confirm.

John:

That’s a relief.

Andy:

No. No relief.

John:

Well, that specific point was a relief.

Emma:

People seem to really love that movie though

John:

People love Paddington 2?

Andy:

Oddly.

Andy:

I guess people really need a sweet little movie right now.

Emma:

Like it has 100% on RT

John:

Ok, next.

Andy:

Lady Bird

John:

It seems almost too obvious to say it’s a biopic about LBJ’s wife. But Darkest Hour turned out to be exactly what I thought it was based on the title, so maybe Hollywood just went with the easiest titles available this year.

Wait! No!

Lady Bird is the one people on Twitter are freaking out about.

It’s directed by a woman, I know that much.

Although I guess that doesn’t change anything, since a woman could’ve just directed a biopic about Lady Bird Johnson.

So my original guess stands.

Emma:

Women can direct anything, John

John:

Apparently they can’t.

Have you heard of the patriarchy?

Emma:

There’s a difference between can and may.

Andy:

Phantom Thread

John:

Jesus.

(That’s not my guess.)

Andy:

Yeah, carpenter not tailor.

John:

Phantom Thread is about sweatshop workers in Honduras that try to flee the country and escape terrible working conditions (and possibly a very cruel and harassing boss) and end up dying tragically because they are arrested and deported back to Honduras.

Andy:

Last one: Call Me By Your Name

John:

Oh, I’ve seen the title of that one on Twitter. And I think maybe I’ve seen talk that it’s about a gay relationship. But I assume there’s more than that.

So I’ll say that it’s about a 1950s gay relationship between two military guys. And they are struggling to keep their love secret so they can keep their jobs.

And they have some kind of code where they use their own name when talking about the other person to help hide the relationship.

I’ve decided, as I often do, that all these titles are super literal.

Andy:

And that’s all. Using very liberal scoring, I’ll give you three points.

Wait, 4.

4 if we’re really generous.

John:

Out of 9?

Does that include Dunkirk and The Post?

Andy:

Dunkirk, The Post, Darkest Hour, and Get Out.

John:

I probably never would’ve gotten close on Darkest Hour if I hadn’t been primed by Dunkirk.

So the three I definitely know something about and one I randomly nailed.

Andy:

Get Out you’re only kind of close on. But, to be fair, maybe as close as you’d be if you just saw a preview and otherwise heard nothing about.

Mark:

He’s not wrong.

Emma:

Yeah, the structure of Get Out means you can’t truly know what it’s about unless you’ve seen it or been spoiled

Your Turn

Alright, have at it in the comments. Consider this your official Oscars thread to discuss whatever you want about the nominees (or anything), other than official, final predictions. We’ll get to those later.