For the 10 movies nominated for best picture, being invited to the party was just the first step. Now the focus is on winning the Oscar in what remains a wide-open race. Campaign pitches must be freshened, talking points adjusted and the souls of all involved cleansed with Ophora water and superfood smoothies, making it possible to formulate an answer to the question "so ... how did this project originate?" and not completely die inside because it has been asked, by this point, several thousand times.

So as we head into the final stretch before voting begins, let's look at the messages the nominated movies seem to be sending.


Yes, there have been other adaptations of "All Quiet on the Western Front," but this is the best version. And not just because it was made by a German. OK ... it is precisely because it was made by a German! We have reclaimed this story for Deutschland, annexed it, if you will. No. Strike that. Poor choice of words. Just appreciate that this is an antiwar movie — yes, it gets off on the battle scenes, but don't all war movies do that? — made by Germans who hate war just as much as the next European Union country, except for maybe those Swedes, but WHAT THE HELL DO THEY KNOW ABOUT THE GRIM REALITIES OF LIFE? Sorry. We didn't mean to shout. Again: Vote for us. That's an order.


We can give you 2 billion reasons to reward our movie. What? You turn up your nose at our box office bounty? Fine. We'll be over here, counting our money, knowing you'll have another chance to honor us with "Avatar 3," "Avatar 4," "Avatar 5" ...


Forget the thrown fingers. And the poor donkey ... though wasn't that a beautiful shot of Colin Farrell at her grave? In fact, we bet you remember a number of lovely images from the film. Kerry Condon letting Barry Keoghan down easy by the lake. "There goes that dream." Whew. Was there a more perfectly acted scene in a movie this year? Was there a more perfectly cast movie this year? We've stumped you, haven't we? Pour yourself a pint and raise a toast!


(Sung to the tune of "If I Can Dream")

There must be votes coming our way somewhere

Got to be love for a movie so true

If we can dream of a better land

Where the Oscar goes to a movie that people can stand

Tell me why, oh why, oh why can't our dream come true?

There must be a prize for Austin Butler sometime

For he still talks just like Elvis and it's been years

If we can dream of a warmer sun

Where Oscars go to the deserving one

Tell me why, oh why, oh why won't that sun shine this year?


It's about family, OK? Yes, it takes place in the multiverse, and we know that is confusing and perhaps even threatening and/or alienating for some of you. Take a deep breath. Relax. Maybe invite your children to watch the movie with you. Or your grandchildren, if you're so blessed. Don't have any? Maybe that guy who lives down the street, the one with the funny-looking plants growing in his backyard, could come over and help you out. Just remember, again: It's a story about a family, in this case an immigrant family, struggling to communicate with each other and the beautiful journey they take toward acceptance and understanding. Doesn't that sound nice?


It's about family, OK? In our case, it's Steven Spielberg's family and how his upbringing informed his art and set him on the path to become one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of the medium. "Family, art, life — it will tear you in two!" Who among you cannot relate to that line in some way, even if you've never been screamed at by John Ford?


Have you heard? The London Film Critics Circle just gave us best picture, making us only the fourth movie to win top prizes from the Los Angeles, New York, National Society of Film Critics and London groups. The other three: "Schindler's List," "L.A. Confidential" and "The Social Network." And, yes, of those movies, only "Schindler's List" won best picture. But as time has passed, you probably wish the others had won too. "The King's Speech"? Really? How does that look today? Think of what movie will stand the test of time and vote accordingly.


Sure, sure, we've heard all the talk about how "Top Gun: Maverick" saved movie theaters from extinction — not disputing it, by the way — but, if we may, let's dig a little deeper here and get real. You needed this movie. And by you, we mean all the dads who came of age with the original "Top Gun" and still get a lump in their throats when they hear those opening synths of the "Top Gun" anthem, forcing them to reach for their aviator sunglasses because, OK, something got in their eyes. We are not surprised at your tears. Strong men also cry. Especially when they're given such a potent reminder that you can be of a certain age and still fly right into the danger zone and come out, not just unscathed, but a damn hero.


{Sung to the tune of the "Love Boat Theme")


Was it the galley's stew?


Into the ocean blue!

The haaaate boat

Soon will be making another run

The haaaate boat

Making fun of the rich is fun

Keep ahold of your dentures

And try to barf in the potted plants

And hate won't hurt any more

Even if our satire's a crashing bore

It's haaaaate ...

Welcome aboard! 


We know you may not have taken the time to watch our movie yet. No judgment — unless you're one of those bros who can't get past the title. Then, sure, you may feel a little silent contempt radiating your way. But there's still time to appreciate one of the year's most critically acclaimed films — we made more Top 10 lists than "Elvis" and "The Batman"! — and take note that our esteemed writer-director, Sarah Polley, is nominated for the beautiful way she adapted Miriam Toews' novel, making 100 minutes of women debating, encouraging, understanding and, yes, talking, into a thrilling film. 


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