By SUSAN DROMEY HEETER
The 2013 Academy Awards saw me the most prepared for the awards season ever. Ever.
I knew the films, had indeed watched them all: Silver Linings Playbook, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Miserables, Flight, Lincoln, Argo. Going into the Academy Awards Show, hosted that year by Seth MacFarlane, I was prepared.
I was like that student who’d studied for the final once it was announced, that kid in the class who’d prepared so amazingly she laughed as the exams were distributed, felt giddy at the thought she’d earn nothing less than 100%. That was me the 2013 Academy Awards Season. I muse joyfully on this glorious preparedness, this glorious memory.
And, how did that happen? Well, thank you Regal Cinemas at Fox Run Mall in Newington for hosting the Academy Awards Preview, for offering an opportunity to watch six of the movies in one sitting. I paid twenty dollars on a cold Thursday afternoon in February of 2013 and went to my seat to truly learn and know about that year’s nominees. I went alone, as I am a huge fan of solitary movie watching – I do not like to chat, abhor sharing popcorn and work much better viewing solo. Distractions are not my friends when I want to appreciate a good flick.
So, Thursday afternoon, I walked into the theater, expecting to see many like minded viewers and, to my astonishment, I was alone. I was the only one in the theater and, honestly, I look back on this Academy Award Season and sigh. A movie theater – by myself – from noon until ten p.m. Bliss. I ate popcorn, pizza, M & Ms. I talked on my cell phone. I moved seats. I did some stretches during Beasts of the Southern Wild. I felt like I’d won the Academy Award for happiest day. I was gloriously content and fulfilled…spending the day with cinema, no distractions from children, arm rest battles, coughs, commentary, inappropriate laughter. Bliss.
I would not be entirely honest if I did not mention that there was one other visitor to “my theater” during the last film, Amour. He sat several rows behind me, a young guy with a baseball hat who I suspect had snuck in from another movie. I did not report him, rather, turned around and said, “Hey, that’s my seat.” He laughed and then we talked over the rows and he told me about the upcoming French film, informing me Emmanuelle Riva was the oldest woman ever nominated for an Academy Award at 85 years old. He knew a lot about cinema, films, so I welcomed his conversation. And then I was glad it stopped and I could go to Paris to ascertain if, indeed, Emmanuelle deserved the nomination. And, yes, she did.
This year, I am not entirely prepared for the Academy Awards though I have seen Bohemian Rhapsody as well as A Star is Born. Getting to these films has not been nearly as effortless and cheap as that Thursday in 2013. Last night, I forced my two daughters to join me for Bohemian Rhapsody, had to answer their questions about Freddie Mercury – “Was he the queen or was the group called queen?” “What was Live Aid all about?” And much as I valued the shared experience of a movie with my daughters, the experience was not entirely as special as that Thursday in 2013.
Official nominations for this year’s Academy Awards will be announced 22 January. I am hoping that Regal Cinemas will once again offer a binge viewing of nominated films. To the best of my knowledge, the viewing of Oscar nominated films in one sitting has not since been offered. I suspect their one ticket did not cover all expenses of the day. Bummer.
I do muse joyfully, however, on that memory of a frigid February afternoon – alone in a theater – in Paris, with Lincoln, in Philadelphia, in Louisiana, in Newington, New Hampshire. I muse joyfully you will enjoy the awards season and one day have a theater for hours and hours – to yourself. I shall attempt to prepare for the awards as best I can, be as prepared as I can possibly be.
But at this moment? Awards 2019 Season Final? I’ll be lucky if I get a “C.”
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.