I don’t think anyone would describe the first year of Trump’s presidency as anything but a surreal nightmare. It has infected and affected so much of what we used to count on. It’s made us feel unsafe, half-crazy, fretful, sick. There is no other way to say it. There is no other way to read it unless you happen to be someone who hates the Left so much with its purity and its mass hysteria that Trump seems preferable by comparison. We always knew we’d go through this Oscar year as we have many other Oscar years: measuring reviews, chasing the zeitgeist, registering the “buzz.” For me, it’s the 19th year of covering the Oscar race. For many of you it is the 19th year you’ve been reading the site. That’s a long relationship we’ve had over the years, coming together for our collective love of cinema first and foremost, and probably a lot of interest in predicting these awards.
I started this site wanting to crack the code of Oscar — to figure out why movies that were praised by critics didn’t win Oscars. I wanted to know what the method was in choosing why some people won and others didn’t. Why we all loved them but loved to hate them. I set out to watch them starting at the beginning of the year, January, and track the race from start to finish. And while I’ve figured out, more or less, how to predict the Oscars, the reasons large groups of people are drawn to the same movie as a consensus pick remains a mystery to me and probably always will.
Whenever I look at this site, rickety though it is, I think about how lucky I’ve been to attract such a passionate and devoted group of readers. It really is one of the reasons I’ve never stopped doing it. Meeting here every year to watch the awards drop, to predict them, to argue over them has been one of the highlights of my life. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for that. If there is anything missing that you would like to see come back, let me know in the comments (we’re working on the FYC gallery).
I would also like to thank those who contribute to this side regularly. I feel really lucky and blessed to have been found by Ryan Adams, who turned up in the comments one day and year by year became a fundamental part of this site. I appreciate Ryan’s advice, his friendship, his teaching me how to be a better writer — both when he helps me to rewrite or rework pieces and when he says it’s good enough to be left alone. By now, it feels like Ryan and I are family — to even thank him here would embarrass him, but I have to.
I also have to single out Jazz Tangcay, another angel who dropped in and just hit the ground running. Jazz has boundless energy, passion for films and the Oscars, and such a positive attitude it is infectious to all of us who participate in the Oscar Watch. She sent me flowers when my car was lit on fire, brought my daughter bottles of wine when she visited New York, offered support, compassion, and kindness to my daughter and me. I’ve loved watching her become a prominent voice in the Oscar race and helping to keep this site up to date with the cool kids. She is one of the greatest, Jazz is, as everyone who has ever met her knows this.
Marshall Flores has been here so long as a reader, but over the past few years he’s become part of the family, working as an editor, doing research and fact-checking, using stats to explain Oscar history and for his prediction models. He’s also become our partner in our Oscar podcast “All This and the Oscars Too.” He’s become a good friend to me and sends me texts when he knows I’m about to drive a long distance. I’ve never given him proper thanks, so now I will.
Clarence Moye, Joey Moser, Megan McLachlan, Jalal Haddad, Robin Write, and Paddy Mullholland have all become part of the site now with ADTV and the Oscar Squad. They bring a fresh perspective in all ways, from their podcasts, to their reviews and Emmy coverage. It’s been a long time coming to expand this site and allow for other voices. I guess it would be harder if they all weren’t so funny and talented. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their contributions.
I don’t know what will become of us, my friends. I don’t know how much longer this site will keep going. I don’t know what the future of the Oscars will be. With so much competition and coverage of the Oscars, so many talented voices and great sites out there, it sometimes all begins to feel futile and repetitive. But regardless of how long it has lasted, I’m thankful to have spent my time with you. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you’re American and a pretty decent Thursday if you aren’t.
Until next time, Oscarwatchers.