It’s been nearly eight years since I started The Best Picture Project. Eight years since I decided to watch and review every film nominated for Best Picture. A lot has happened over those eight years. I’ve lived in three different states. Had jobs, quit jobs. Made friends, lost loved ones. My husband and I have become parents and now kid two is on the way. Through it all, this blog, this maddening labor of love, has survived and continues to grow.
Sometimes my family and friends ask about how “my blog thing” is going. They ask what movies I’ve seen lately. They ask if I make money off my work. Once, after a few drinks, someone asked if I could get them into a movie premiere sometime. I could only laugh.
I’ve never made a penny off this blog. Between Netflix, countless movie tickets and the beer or tea that often lubricates my writing, this blog has not been cheap. And while I admit that it would be pretty sweet to get paid to write about movies, I don’t mind doing what I love for free. I’m damn lucky that I can and that I find the time and energy to do so.
Honestly, the real reason this blog still chugs along is because I have a wonderfully supportive husband. Over the last decade, he has noticed what keeps my mental health in check and he lovingly gives me the space I need to write and watch whatever I need. Keeping up with Oscar season since our son was born is only possible because my husband knows how important it is to me. I love how he lovingly pushes me out of the house so I can write somewhere in peace or catch the next showing of a movie.
Would I recommend anyone attempt to watch and write about every film nominated for Best Picture in one year? Sure, but you have to be a little crazy. However, it would be harder to fit them all in these days, what with the seven to ten nominations these past few years.
But in all honesty, I’m glad I fell down this rabbit hole and tried watching all those films in one year. Sure it took me about a year and a half to get through the list and there are a few films I still haven’t found. But it taught me some of the best lessons of my adult life that school or other activities could not. I learned a different kind of perseverance, to keep going even when no one is cheering you on. To keep writing and try to do better even though no one is reading. To never settle for shit just because there is a deadline, make that shit better and still do your best to meet that deadline. Best of all, I learned that I still had a whole lot to learn.
Watching all these Oscar nominated movies, and beyond, has expanded my world of knowledge more than I would have ever thought. I was once a kid who could discuss little outside the influences of Disney, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas or Alfred Hitchcock. There are films that cover subjects and perspectives I knew little or nothing about before. Now I can discuss classic Hollywood stars other millennials have hardly heard of with people twice my age. If you watch enough well made and intelligent films, you will learn a little bit about nearly everything. My husband and I often kill at trivia night.
And these days, one of my greatest honors is to pass my love of film onto my son. Granted, I can’t exactly pull out the Tarantino collection yet, but I love introducing him to new, fun films that he is ready for. I love introducing him to some of my childhood favorites and that I have a new buddy to take to the newest Pixar movies. I honestly beamed with pride as he decided to start a conversation with people he just met by describing the entire opening scene from Toy Story 2. And with such passion!
I guess, as we prepare to dive into another Oscar season, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to continue this crazy blog. To have people in my life that understand and support my love for movies. And to share that love with so many people. Thanks for reading.
As a lover of the Oscars and its illustrious history (and owner of every Best Picture winner on DVD and/or Blu-Ray) I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I look forward to this time of year and have attended the AMC Best Picture Showcase since 2007 in preparation of that year’s show. I appreciate all the work you have done in watching and reviewing all of these movies, especially the hard to find ones. I always enjoy getting a well-thought out and educated opinion from a regular person like myself.
It’s a testament to your dedication and love of film that you have made it 8 years, and I take my proverbial hat off to you. If you keep writing them, I promise to keep reading. Thank you and congratulation on bringing another new future movie lover into the world!
Wow Chuck, your words are so kind! Thank you and thank you for reading. I’ve always wanted to go to the AMC Best Picture Showcase, maybe one of these years. And you really own every BP winner on DVD? I’m jealous, that’s an awesome collection! Have a great Oscar season!
You’re very welcome! Yes, I really own all 89 Best Picture winners on DVD/Blu-Ray. It was a challenge to be sure, but it was also a lot of fun. The day that Wings and Cavalcade were released on Blu-Ray was a huge one for me as they were my last two hold outs. I’ve tried to watch a lot of the older nominated films, but time (I’m married with a 7 and 2 year old) has not been on my side as much as it once was, and some are really hard to track down as you know. That’s another reason I really enjoy your blog. I loved going back and reading your reviews on the older films and getting an idea of what they were about. When I read one that I had seen as well, it was an even better read as I could compare my thoughts with yours. I’m excited to take the Oscar journey with you (at least in spirit) for another year!
Way back when, on BBSs before the Web existed and then on the early days of the Web, this was the idea. Do what you love (writing, software, art, whatever), share it with people, and enjoy what other people are sharing (and argue about it, when necessary, of course 🙂 ).
The idea that things needed to be (or even could be) “monetized” came much later.
I think one thing you really nail here is how much it helps to have supportive people around us, but that we’re crazy enough to keep doing it anyway. My mother was a big fan of my writing (she once said that my characters were more real to her that a lot of her “so-called friends”), but she’s been gone for two and a half years now, and I’m still writing.
And, yes, you almost certainly aren’t going to get to go to premieres, but back in the early 1990s I knew a guy named Ben Hoffman. A retired accountant, he’d started writing movie reviews on BBSs, just as a hobby, and his reviews appeared in so many places that he became the first ever accredited online movie critic. He didn’t get to go to premieres, but he was on the lists for critics’ screenings of all the new movies before release.
I’m looking forward to a lot more reviews here. As my mother used to say, there’s nothing like the movies. Thanks for all the wonderful reviews!
Anthony, you’re lucky to have such a supportive mother, she sounds wonderful! BBS seems like a fun way for artists to share their work, so cool that your friend Ben is accredited to be the first ever online critic. I’m proud to follow in his steps. Thank you for your support and for reading over these years, I’ll keep writing!
Happy 8th Blogoversary!