There are nine movies that got Oscar nods for Best Picture this year — and for the average movie goer, that's a big number. Watching all of these movies can be an arduous task — especially with some of the movies having a three hour run time. In order participate in critical conversation with your friends, you have two choices: sacrifice your time and watch all the movies or the easier option: B.S. your way through the conversation and sound like the smartest person in the room. All you need is a couple of buzzwords and strategic details about the movies in question and your friends will be either impressed or too intimidated by your film knowledge to argue your talking points. Here is some talking points about the Best Picture nominees that you can study before they air the Academy Awards on February 24.
Amour: The big talking point with this movie is the female lead: Emmanuelle Riva. She recently snagged a BAFTA (like the Oscars, but British) for this role. She's also nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. In fact, at 85 years old, she is the oldest actress to ever be nominated in the history of the Academy Awards. If you need another talking point,
you can simply refer to this movie as "that French film that is really depressing."
Beasts of the Southern Wild: There are a BUNCH of talking points for this one. For instance, Quvenzhané Wallis, the nine-year-old female lead, was also nominated for Best Actress. She, like her fellow Amour nominee, broke a record in terms of age. She is the youngest Best Actress nominee in Academy history. You can talk about that and then start talking about how to pronounce her name. That should take a while. After hearing everyone's mispronunciation, you can chime in and say, "It's pronounced kwah-ven-zsa-nay, but her nickname is 'Nazie'." People will REALLY be impressed with that. Another cool thing you can mention about Beasts is that nearly all of the cast, including the leads, were untrained first-time actors and local to Louisiana, where the film was shot. If all else fails, just say that you were so emotionally moved by the film that you were crying the whole time. Then say, "Just thinking about it makes me cry." Then start crying. That will just make everyone uncomfortable and the conversation will come to an end.
Django Unchained: Again, it's all about the details when it comes to acting like you have watched all of these movies. With Django Unchained, immediately reference how director Quentin Tarantino has a foot fetish, and in nearly all his films there is a scene where we see the foot (or feet) of a female. Then ask your friends if they remember such a scene in Django. That should kill some time. You can also start the argument about the scene when Django (Jamie Foxx) is hanging naked and upside down: was his penis prosthetic or not?
Les Misérable: Act like you were so amazed about how all the actors sang live. They made a big deal about this, so that's an easy go-to talking point. If you want to get even more in-depth, mention how Samantha Barks (who plays street urchin Eponine) was in a concert production of Les Miserables with a Jonas brother! Lastly, feel free to talk about how the original song written for the movie, "Suddenly" was really lame.
Life of Pi: Just repeat the following phrases over and over again: "Ang Lee is a visual poet!" and "It made me want to read the book!" and "The special effects were epically gorgeous!" and "I was in awe!" and "It it the only movie that is worthy of being seen in 3D!" You can vary the wording, but just focus on how pretty it was.
Zero Dark Thirty: All you need to know is one line from the movie: "I'm the motherf**** that found this place." Once you say that, people will laugh wholeheartedly. That's all you need.
Lincoln: This one isn't as difficult as it seems. You can complain about the dense dialogue, but praise the writing of screenwriter Tony Kushner. In regards to Daniel Day-Lewis's performance as Lincoln, just say, "He disappeared into that role." People seem to love that kind of stuff. Finally, you should just say, "I'm surprised there wasn't a lot of references to Lincoln's alleged homosexuality in the movie." That should spin-off an interesting conversation.
Silver Linings Playbook: Best actress nominee, Jennifer Lawrence, seems to be getting all the attention for her role in this movie so you can easily derail the conversation and talk about how much you loved her as Katniss in The Hunger Games (I KNOW you have seen that movie). If that fails, praise the ensemble work in this movie. Every cast member of this movie is brilliant in their own right. Memorize these names to support your argument: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, Shea Whigham, John Ortiz, and Julia Stiles. You can also memorize a recipe for Crabby Snacks to share with your friends. You may not understand the meaning of this, but people who have seen the movie will. Believe me, they'll think it's hilarious.
Argo: Sing the praises of how Ben Affleck is a better director than actor -- because it's true. You can also go into a in-depth discussion of his best works as an actor. From Chasing Amy to Good Will Hunting to Gigli to Daredevil, this conversation can go on. Again, this is a way to derail the conversation into a territory that isn't totally off topic. Or you can just go the route of the gratuitous curse word and say, "Argo f*** yourself!", a popular line in the film. People will laugh and the conversation will end happily.