My Oscars Quest 2023 Quick-Start Scorecard

Michelle Yeoh looking peaceful, eyes closed, with an explosion behind her.

Michelle Yeoh descends from the heavens to accept her honors.

It’s that time again! Longtime MCC readers know this time of year is my annual Oscar Quest, during which I venture out to see all Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, regardless of whether I think I’ll like them or not, whether their politics and beliefs agree with mine or not, whether they’re good or bad for me, and whether or not my friends and family have ever heard of them. I’ve seen every Best Picture winner from Wings to CODA, and every Best Picture nominee from 1987 to the present, many of which were worth the hunt. You take the good, you take the bad, and so on.

In addition, this will be my third annual Oscars Quest Expanded Challenge, which was inspired by that darn pandemic — to see not just all the Best Picture nominees, but as many nominees as possible in all the other categories as well. When new releases were going quickly or directly to home video while theaters were shuttered, the Expanded Challenge was easier for me. I saw all but two of last year’s nominees, and am still missing eight nominees from the year before that. Someday maybe I’ll complete those sets. In the meantime, I have concerns about this year’s logistics now that theaters are back in business. I’m probably looking at far more trips away from home to reach my pointless personal goal, mood and local cinema schedules permitting.

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2022 at the Movies at My House

Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson as astronauts just standing there looking pained.

Live footage of Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson exiled off-planet as punishment for costarring in Moonfall.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in 2022 I made 18 trips to the theater to see films made that same year. Though I’ve tried to get back out there with my vaccines and my restlessness and whatnot, more often than not the motivation level still wasn’t quite where it used to be. As a sort of compromise, in the year’s back half I tried to overcompensate and catch up with 2022 through our various streaming subscriptions and a smattering of Redbox rentals. We don’t have HBO Max or Amazon Prime, but I nevertheless watched plenty by estimation, enough to present the third annual installment of the MCC tradition borne of the pandemic: a ranking of all the brand new films I saw on comfy, convenient home video in their year of release.

Whittling away any and every film with a pre-2022 release date, our living room hosted 28 films in 2022 that fit the specific parameters for this list. We’re not far away from the Oscars’ nominations announcement on January 24th, which for weeks I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind as the deadline for this listicle, so…on with the countdown!

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Our Star Trek Renaissance Year

John de Lancie on a stage accompanied by hundreds of Star Trek fans.

John de Lancie and his Friday panel audience at GalaxyCon Columbus 2022, in a photo the showrunners posted on their Flickr account two weeks later. If you know us, we aren’t hard to spot.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in 2022 our usage of the words “Star Trek” in sentences increased 10,000% over the previous nine years combined. We were happy to find excuses for that.

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“The Crown” Season 5: All Ten Episodes Ranked According to a Guy Who Was Never All That Attached to Princess Diana

Elizabeth Debicki and Salim Daw at a horsing exhibition in episode 3 of The Crown season 5, "Mou-Mou".

Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw) enjoy themselves a little too much in the Royal Penalty Box.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: at the start of the pandemic my wife Anne and I binged the first three seasons of Netflix’s The Crown and soon caught up with the rest of fandom. One slight hitch: while Anne is a major history aficionado, that was never my forte, especially not the story of Queen Elizabeth II and her subjects, some of whom were her own trod-upon relatives:

Compared to my blissfully ignorant self, Anne is far more knowledgeable of history in general and British royalty in particular. My interest in their reigning family went dormant for decades beginning on the morning of July 29, 1981, when my family woke up at 5 a.m. — over summer vacation, mind you — to watch Prince Charles marry Princess Diana, two strangers I knew only as frequent costars of my mom’s favorite tabloids. Their wedding lasted approximately six days and was performed entirely in slow motion with British golf commentators prattling through the lengthy silences in between the happenstances of nothingness. For the next 15-20 years I retained nothing of British history apart from their role as the Big Bad in the American Revolution. Frankly, I’ve learned more about their country’s storied past from my wife and from Oscar-nominated movies than I ever did from school. Sad, unadorned truth.

So far I’ve enjoyed The Crown anyway, and understood most of what’s gone on…

I found myself so entertained by Peter Morgan’s principally fictional creation that I was compelled to compile my ten favorite episodes of those first three seasons based on my own finicky and sometimes underschooled impressions. That listicle unexpectedly became this site’s most popular entry of 2020 for lack of competition during an unprecedentedly sedentary year. Naturally I was compelled to post follow-ups as they happened — a sequel listicle for season 4 and a recount of that time on Labor Day weekend 2021 when we attended a Dragon Con fan panel about the show but suppressed our responses and ripostes behind our sweaty pop-culture COVID masks in a rather Royal Family manner.

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Our 2022 Road Trip #11: A Trek Tech Trove

Anne in captain's chair!

Captain Anne has the bridge.

Sure, Vermont was our target destination, but the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour might’ve been the stop on our itinerary that we were most excited to see. The town of Ticonderoga seemed an odd location choice, as opposed to a large city or squarely in California, land of ten thousand entertainment tourist attractions. But inside those doors and on those resurrected sets, all questions about the outside become irrelevant while you’re exploring this full-scale, familiar TV world.

Of course we couldn’t contain all that space goodness to a single chapter.

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Our 2022 Road Trip #10: The Enterprise Docked at Starbase Ticonderoga

transporter jazz hands!

Scotty, two to beam down!

MCC’s amazing colossal Star Trek year continues! So far in 2022 we’ve attended Star Trek: Mission Chicago (where we met cast members from multiple series) as well as two other conventions with Trek stars (another Chicago show, plus one here in Indy); we’ve shared and overshared our impressions of Picard; loved both Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds without writing about them; read a few Trek-related books, some of which I’ve discussed as well as others I’ll eventually cover when I get back to writing about my reading; and checked out the Captain Janeway birthplace statue in Bloomington, IN. After taking several years off from the universe Gene Roddenberry built, we’ve fallen back into it hard.

We even worked a heaping helping of Trek into this year’s vacation. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve detoured for Trek’s sake (cf. that one time in 2014 when a traveling Trek exhibition stopped at the Mall of America), but some extra mileage was necessary to reach this one. One does not merely swerve off-road on an impulse for this particular spectacle.

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A Dream Journal, As It Were: Too Many Thoughts on “The Sandman” Season 1

Tom Sturridge IS the Sandman!

Remember, kids: don’t dream angry!

I was in high school when The Sandman #1 hit comic shop shelves in the fall of 1988. Springing forth from the mind of Neil Gaiman, whom I chiefly knew from Miracleman and Black Orchid, it was unlike anything I’d read before in comics or other media, and was a must-buy over the next seven years — through its transition to DC Comics’ subsequently inaugurated Vertigo line, in its rise to alt-culture superstardom, and even during some of the least favorite parts of my life. The Sandman lasted longer in my life than I lasted in college. I still have all 75 issues, the special with Orpheus’ story, the two Death miniseries, the lovely hardcover edition of my favorite arc (Season of Mists), and some (not all) of the other ensuing spinoffs. (Of most recent vintage, I loved the Gaiman-approved two-issue crossover with Locke and Key, which may have meant more to fans of the latter but contained key prequel scenes to the world of Dream, including front row seats to the fall of Lucifer.)

I rarely allow myself high expectations for anything anymore, but The Sandman left a deep enough mark on my psyche that I insisted the all-new Netflix adaptation — closely supervised by Gaiman — simply had to be The Greatest Netflix Show of All Time. Nothing less would do. The jury’s out on that for now, but after having watched all ten episodes within a 21-hour span (with wasteful intermissions for sleep and life, not necessarily in that order), I can enthusiastically say for now it’ll do. It’ll very much do.

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Nichelle Nichols, 1932-2022

Nichelle Nichols!

The last time we met Nichelle Nichols, at Indiana Comic Con 2017.

Today we were saddened to hear of the passing of Nichelle Nichols, a.k.a. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura from Star Trek, life-changing inspiration and role model of millions. Millions of actors, creators, celebrities, fans, and news sites are online to explain who she is or what she meant to so, so many. For me as a youngster who caught the OG Enterprise crew in reruns, she was an integral part of a stellar interstellar ensemble who showed us, despite innumerable obstacles in their path, that theirs was a potential future for humankind, in which everyone works, lives, and succeeds side-by-side in forging new paths together.

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10 “Picard” Season 2 Follow-Up Thoughts From a Grieving Q Fan

Picard Q Finale!

“See you out there.”

by Anne Golden, MCC Staff.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My wife Anne has contributed to our past ten years’ entries in a variety of ways — photography, ideas, punchlines, caper-partnering, next-day proofreading, encouraging, fact-checking, nitpicking, and so on. She otherwise generally prefers to enjoy the site as a reader rather than as a separately credited blogger. This entry is a special case: she’s MCC’s very first Guest Blogger, though “guest” feels a tad off the mark. Except for light editing and two jokes, these paragraphs are all hers.

Her essay is aimed at fellow Star Trek viewers, whether they love or loathe Patrick Stewart’s further adventures so far, and presumes familiarity with common fan abbreviations for the various shows. And, relevant fun trivia noted previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, Q is one of her Top 3 Favorite Fictional Characters of All Time. Suffice it to say the season finale struck a nerve. This entry is a rumination attempting to make sense of a tale that frequently didn’t make sense and in some ways still doesn’t. It’s a contemplation. It’s a eulogy. It’s a catharsis.

(Courtesy spoiler warning if you haven’t seen season 2 in general or the finale in particular.)

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Five “Picard” Season 2 Halfway-Point Spoiler Theories

Picard vs Q!

If they were a couple we could call them “Q-Card”.

My wife Anne has been a Star Trek fan since at least high school, which is how long I’ve known her. I’ve tagged alongside her for the past few decades and watched a few hundred episodes myself. I’ve never 100% caught up to her but have seen Deep Space Nine in its entirety and can confirm it reigns above all. We attended multiple local Trek conventions and bought the occasional toys, comics, and other merchandise, but up until six months ago we had no investment in the new Trek works on Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) because we weren’t in the mood to collect ALL the streaming services. And to us, CBS All Access at launch sounded like a non-starter. We regretted the Trek universe leaving us behind, but our longtime favorite geek universes have broken our hearts before. We planned to cope and move on.

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