As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a huge movie buff; Oscar season is like Christmas to me.
But with a six-year-old son to take care of, it’s become so much harder to make time to see all of the Best Picture nominees. Luckily, this year I was able to catch all of the nominees (albeit a little behind the actual awards—no spoilers!) all while juggling my son and a crumbling marriage. Upon completing such a daunting feat, I’ve decided to rank all of the nominees based on their quality and also how disappointed my son was that they weren’t Peter Rabbit:
9. Darkest Hour
Admittedly this one was a tough sell; none of my friends wanted to see a dry historical drama and I really didn’t want to play baseball with my kid that day. My wife was at the spa so I had to occupy my son somehow.
I remembered him whining about how badly he wanted to see Peter Rabbit and so I lied and told him we were going to see it even though it wasn’t going to be out for another 3 weeks. I thought Gary Oldman was excellent, but my son didn’t seem as thrilled. He really wanted to know when “the fat old man” would leave and Peter Rabbit would show up. It was so distracting.
8. The Post
Taking my son to a historical drama about English political affairs may not have been a great idea. To remedy this, I figured I would take him to a historical drama about American political affairs under the guise of it being Peter Rabbit.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.
While I enjoyed Spielberg’s commentary on the freedom of the press, my son couldn’t wait to get out of the theater to complain to his mom about how not one vegetable was stolen from a man’s garden. Despite all of the lessons he could’ve learned about treating women as equals in the workplace, the only thing he could relay to my wife was “dad sucks”.
7. Phantom Thread
By this point, Peter Rabbit was out in theaters so I had absolutely no excuse not take my son to see it while my wife was at her book club. So I did. Or at least I tried to.
We went to the theater only to find it was sold out. Rather than waiting 45 minutes for the next showing of Peter Rabbit, I noticed that Phantom Thread was starting. I really didn’t want to miss my chance to see Daniel Day-Lewis’s final performance. And boy, did he bring it.
What he didn’t bring were troublesome rabbits, and so my son didn't care for anything that was going on. After he slammed his fists on the dinner table and declared that he hated high fashion, my wife got a little ticked off that I kept taking our son to mature movies.
I had to get a little goodwill back from my son and I did what any good father would do: I purchased a bootleg copy of Peter Rabbit from a shady guy on the corner. What I didn’t know was that it was a mistakenly-labeled bootleg copy of Dunkirk.
Look, I tried.
For the cinematography and technical achievements alone it was worth the $39.95. For someone who was expecting the misadventures of a jackass rabbit, my son barely got into the intense dogfights. When he told mommy that he’d been exposed to the horrors of war, my wife decided it was best for me to sleep on the couch that night.
5. Lady Bird
I wanted to own up to my mistakes and really take my son to see his freaking rabbit movie once and for all. I made sure to double-check my Fandango app, but for whatever reason, we ended up at the wrong theater and it wasn’t playing Peter Rabbit.
Having driven all that way, I didn’t want to turn back and we were just in time for Lady Bird. I convinced my son the film was about a cartoon woman bird. He didn’t buy it at all. I, however, had an eye-opening experience about my adolescence and called my mother sobbing to tell her how much I loved her.
My wife, on the other hand, wasn’t as moved by our son asking her about sex and spent the next week at her sister’s.
4. Get Out
I’d seen this one back when it was in theaters and I felt it was important for my son to understand race relations in America. Unfortunately it was the same weekend my wife hired a social worker to observe my parenting behaviors.
Needless to say, I did not get high marks for exposing my son to another explicit movie that wasn’t Peter Rabbit.
3. Call Me By Your Name
Having been reduced to joint custody only on the weekends, I knew I had to show my son a good time to regain his respect and prove my parenting skills. It was finally time to see Peter Rabbit!
Except it was sold out. Again. Guess what wasn’t sold out? Call Me By Your Name.
Against my better judgement but in the best interest of my Oscar pool, I bought two tickets. I was absolutely moved, while my son couldn’t stop asking me if Peter Rabbit would prefer peaches to carrots. Upon bringing him home to my now ex-wife’s house, I’m only allowed to see my son every other weekend and he’s no longer allowed to eat peaches.
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It was finally my weekend with my son!
While you’d think I’d have learned my lesson about taking him to the movies, I tested fate and once again tried to take him to Peter Rabbit. And we were successful!
Until the theater accidentally played Three Billboards.
After 20 minutes of the film not changing, I was far too invested in the story to complain about the mixup. And I'm glad I stayed because Three Billboards was a gripping film that had me hooked from the beginning.
The only thing my son took from the film was the word “fuck”; specifically when he asked me where Peter fucking Rabbit was. I was in too deep at that point to correct his language.
1. The Shape of Water
With just one more best picture nominee to see, I made a last minute call. Seeing as I was about to return my f-bomb dropping son to my ex-wife, I decided my best option was to double down and I snuck him into a double feature of The Shape of Water. I couldn’t have been more enthralled by such a touching love story.
At the same time, I saw the look of profound disappointment in my son’s eyes that he had to watch a mute woman fuck a fishman instead of a rabbit fucking over a man’s garden.
That was the last day I saw my son, but I was successful in seeing every Best Picture nominee! The funny thing is I finally saw Peter Rabbit yesterday and it was the better than all of the Best Picture nominees.
I should call my son and tell him what he missed.