As you may remember, last year I got too into Oscar season and neglected my son’s requests to see Peter Rabbit. My wife left me, my son developed irreparable trust issues and I entered a spiraling depression. Fortunately, my life has turned around just in time for the Oscars! I have a new girlfriend, my son is a little less leery of me, and I was able to catch all of this year’s Best Picture nominees.
Now that it’s become an annual tradition, I’ve again decided to rank all of the nominees based on their quality and also how much they made my son resent my new girlfriend:
8. Black Panther
I hate to put Black Panther so low on my list—it is a monumental achievement—but this was the first film I’d seen with my son since the now-infamous Peter Rabbit blowup of 2018. This was also the first time my son was meeting my new girlfriend, so the pressure was on. I decided that Black Panther was the best place to start because we could watch it from the comfort of my one bedroom apartment. Plus what seven-year-old wouldn’t want to see a cool action movie?
He kind of liked it, and better yet, he only sneered at my new girlfriend once before giving her the silent treatment. I was off to a good start.
With my girlfriend in tow, the three of us headed to the theater to see Vice. I found Christian Bale’s portrayal of Dick Cheney to be astounding and my girlfriend was amazed as well. Not just that, but she really tried to engage with my son by asking “Can you believe that’s Batman?” throughout the film. After the fifth attempt to get a response out of him, he looked her dead in the eyes and in a very assertive tone said “Who do you think you are?” before turning his attention back to the movie.
A little weird, sure, but I was undeterred.
6. Bohemian Rhapsody
My son has an unexplained debilitating fear of Freddie Mercury, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to take him to see Bohemian Rhapsody without him having night terrors. I figured this would be a good time for my girlfriend and son to bond, so I saw Bohemian Rhapsody alone while they went to The Lego Movie 2. And wow was I right to do that! There’s no way I would’ve been able to enjoy this pitch-perfect biopic of Queen over the sounds of my son’s howling shrieks.
Their movie was a mixed bag: my son demanded that he and my girlfriend sit several rows apart even though the theater was empty. On the bright side, my son really enjoyed The Lego Movie 2.
5. Green Book
From what I heard about Green Book, I thought it would be the perfect film for the three of us to bond over. This feel-good movie is about two people from different backgrounds forming an unlikely friendship, which is just the scenario I was hoping for with my son and girlfriend.
If only life mirrored art because I was moved almost to tears watching Green Book. When my girlfriend tried to talk about the movie with my son, he kept referring to her as “replacement mommy” while jumping up and down pretending to be Peter Rabbit. This went on for several hours and my girlfriend was clearly offended, but put up with it. I guess everything can’t be like Green Book.
It was apparent that my son had a problem with my girlfriend, but I didn’t know how to deal with it other than continuing with my Best Picture binge with BlacKkKlansman. Spike Lee delivers with his newest film which brings up so many important conversations. Unfortunately one of them included why my son kept implying that my girlfriend was a white supremacist and would be right at home with the Klansmen in the movie. When I tried to get him to apologize to her, he promptly whipped out his signature Peter Rabbit impression and made farting noises in my girlfriend’s general direction.
I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could take.
3. A Star is Born
I let my girlfriend choose the next Best Picture nominee to watch, and as a big fan of Lady Gaga, A Star is Born was the easy choice. Naturally, it slipped my mind that we were being visited by a social worker that day who still didn’t believe I was up to the task of parenting my son. So while I adored the film, the social worker was none too pleased at some of the content my son was being exposed to. Not helping matters was the fact that he kept telling the social worker that my girlfriend was “only here for daddy’s money” and “regularly gives me cigarettes.” The social worker fell for this thinly veiled ruse and suggested that my girlfriend spend some time away from my son.
Being a black and white, Spanish-language film, I knew Roma probably wouldn't keep my son engaged. We watched it at my girlfriend’s place in what ended up being a futile attempt to get him more used to her. I really regret not seeing Roma on a big screen because the film was gorgeous and a cultural learning experience. It was so impactful, that inexplicably, my son managed to absorb some of the Spanish. While I was impressed with his ability to correctly conjugate nouns and verbs, he used this to lob an onslaught of insults at my girlfriend in a hauntingly accurate accent. With my girlfriend on the verge of tears, he began rifling through her cabinets and making a mess of the place just like that goddamn Peter Rabbit (or as he was calling himself, Pietro Conejo).
I wasn’t going to let this prevent me from wrapping up my Best Picture viewings.
1. The Favourite
This was it. I had to watch The Favourite to say that I saw all of the Best Picture nominees. In dealing with all of my son’s antics, I didn’t have much time to research what this film was about, but I made my son sit down and watch it as punishment for being so disrespectful.
I loved the film. All three lead actresses really got me interested in a period of British history that I was unaware of, and the costuming was magnificent. The story of two women vying for the attention of the queen felt eerily similar to what was going on between my son and my girlfriend, but that didn’t take the cake. The most resonant scene was the one where Emma Stone crushes a rabbit under her foot which, to my rabbit-crazed son, was absolutely traumatizing.
When the hours of endless screaming and blaming my girlfriend finally ended, my son demanded to never see my girlfriend again. Shortly after this, I got a call from the social worker: my visitation privileges had again been revoked.
Once again I underestimated the power of Peter Rabbit, but nonetheless, I was able to see all of the Best Picture nominees! My life may be beyond repair but I will be winning my Oscar pool and couldn’t be happier.
I just hope that Peter Rabbit 2 doesn’t interfere with my Oscar plans next year.