I’ve always been an awards season crammer, racing to see all the big category films before the Oscars ceremony. I’ll stay up late to stream a best picture contender, squeeze in a matinee between meetings. While the spectacle of awards shows can be embarrassing, a cringe-making combo of self-congratulation and self-effacement, the hype always gets me in the end.
Watching the Golden Globes this past week, weeping in spite of myself at Ke Huy Quan’s acceptance speech for best supporting actor in a motion picture, I was reminded how much more enjoyable it is to watch awards shows when you’ve seen the movies nominated. I saw “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in an empty theater last May, marveling at the fact that one of the Goonies was playing someone’s dad. I’d have been moved by Quan’s speech regardless, but having seen his performance, I felt implicated in his joy.
I still have 11 films I’m dying to see, a list I’ll probably add to before the Oscars on March 12. This weekend, I’ll try to find a theater showing “The Banshees of Inisherin.” I dislike it when people tell me that I have to see this or that film on the big screen — it’s hard enough to find time to watch all these movies, now you’re telling me my home viewing is inadequate? — but having started “Banshees” on an iPad, I suspect they may be right about this one.
My list includes all the films likely to be nominated for best picture, plus some our critics and editors would see honored if they had their way. Fitting in all these viewings requires discipline, which I abandoned briefly last weekend when I watched “Tár” for a second time, unable to proceed with my list until I’d quieted the questions I still had about it. (Why does she go into that building? Will I ever figure it out?)
If you, too, are on a journey to watch all the likely Oscar nominees (the nominations are announced on Jan. 24), this is a good resource for where to stream them. I’ll try to see a lot of them in theaters, as the directors intended, but since that’s not always possible, I’ll be watching a good portion of my list in my living room, where I can turn on subtitles and rewind at my leisure. Join me.
THE WEEK IN CULTURE
President Biden and Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, vowed to work together to transform Japan into a military power to help deter China.
Representative George Santos’s campaign commissioned a study of his background in 2021, and the results were so alarming that his own vendors urged him to drop out.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that her powers to delay a default on the nation’s debt could be exhausted by June.
Iran said it had executed Alireza Akbari, a former official who was a dual British citizen, on charges of spying, a move likely to escalate tensions with the West.
Donald Trump’s family company was ordered to pay a $1.6 million penalty for its conviction on felony tax fraud and other charges.
The suspect in four Idaho stabbing deaths wrote years ago of an inability to feel emotions.
A faked kidnapping, cocaine trafficking and a castle were just some parts of the unraveling of a Montana coal company.
📺 “The Last of Us” (Sunday): It’s proven difficult to adapt a video game into a good movie or TV show. Any individual game’s story might provide a strong hook, but the experience of playing it can almost never be replicated. I gave myself wholly to this zombie survival game in the first year of the pandemic, and if its HBO translation succeeds, it will be because of the feelings it evokes. As The Times’s TV critic James Poniewozik writes in his review, “The Last of Us” is “an extended horror story of single parenting” that presents “a heightened version of the everyday experience of how being responsible for a vulnerable life makes you vulnerable yourself.”
📚 “The Deluge” (out now): Well, why not just stick with the apocalyptic vibes here? Stephen Markley has written an immersive piece of cli-fi, one that clocks in just under 900 pages and tracks, over many decades and characters, what the acceleration of the climate crisis might look like in the United States. The book is sprawling and overstuffed, but as Hamilton Cain writes in his review, it’s “long on ambition.”
Kentucky Butter Cake
There are some days so cold and nasty that all you want to do is cozy up in your warm kitchen and inhale the fragrance of something buttery in the oven. This Kentucky butter cake is just the thing. Adapted from a Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe from 1963, it’s a tender-crumbed Bundt cake with a twist. Before unmolding, it’s soaked in a butter-sugar syrup that makes it especially moist and rich. Flavor the syrup however you like: Vanilla is called for, but readers have used Kentucky Bourbon, rum, even limoncello. (I imagine orange-lemon juice would also work for something tangy and booze-free.) Bake it today, then nibble on slices all weekend long. It keeps well, for as long as it lasts.
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Danish décor: Bold colors are making a comeback.
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Phone photography: Get better results by changing your settings.
Nonbinary work wear: Gender-nonconforming people confront unique pressures in dressing for the office.
Dating: Relationship coaches help singles craft the perfect text.
ADVICE FROM WIRECUTTER
Given the viral clouds swirling around these days — Covid, R.S.V., flu, strep — maybe it’s time to revisit the pleasures of outdoor winter gatherings. For warmth (and ambience), consider a portable smokeless fire pit. The design creates a secondary combustion, essentially burning off some of the smoke before it reaches you, so once the fire gets going, you can sit down and relax: No need to keep repositioning yourself around the fire pit’s perimeter, trying to predict where the next gust of wind (and smoke) will blow. — Christine Ryan
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings, N.F.L. playoffs: A note for Giants fans: Don’t let an early lead get your hopes up. The Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins led eight fourth-quarter comebacks this season, tying the N.F.L. record. Their offense runs through Justin Jefferson, the league’s leading receiver, and when these teams last played, in December, the Giants failed to slow him down. For the Giants, the key to victory might be tackling Cousins before he can toss the ball in Jefferson’s direction; their defense blitzed more than any other team’s this season, The Athletic notes. 4:30 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Fox.
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