It's tough to see Oscar nominees when overseas
Stars and Stripes February 24, 2011
And the Oscar for best picture goes to … “The Town!”
It’s not nominated?
Well, that’s a shame. I thought it was great. And it’s one of the few good movies I saw this year.
I’d kind of like to see “The Fighter,” with Marky Mark. I’m a Boston guy, I like Wahlberg, and Amy Adams is SEXY HOT, according to several Internet sources.
But I live in Germany. I can’t.
I haven’t lived overseas all that long, so when the nominations came out, I thought I’d try to see the ones I hadn’t seen. Let’s look at Reel Time AAFES!
“Yogi Bear?” “The Roommate?” “Soul Men?” Seriously? Wasn’t that out when Bush was president?
I thought maybe it was a rough patch. It happens.
But I e-mailed my buddy at AAFES in Dallas, Judd Anstey.
“My theory,” I wrote, “is that there’s a limited number of prints, and you guys can’t get the Oscar ones as U.S. theaters grab them in the run-up to the awards show.”
I was partly right.
“Films scheduled for limited release or rollouts by independent distributors are not considered,” Anstey wrote. “This was the case in six of the ten films nominated for ‘Best Picture’ this year.”
But yeah, part of the reason is that theaters back home scoop them up.
“Once the Academy announced its nominations,” Anstey wrote, “commercial theaters elected to retain their print and, in some cases, the distributor added commercial screens.”
Why do stateside theaters hate freedom?
Lucky for us Ramstein-area people, we have Broadway Kino, a German cinema that shows both German and English-language films. My wife and I see a lot of first-run stuff there.
Alas. As I write this, they have Tangled 3D” and “The Tourist.”
They have “Black Swan” in German, and also “Tron 3D,” which would probably make just as much sense.
Netflix! I’ll just get streaming online. All I have to do is download the Microsoft SilverLight add-on. Simple!
Up comes the message:
You cannot watch Netflix from this location. If you believe you are getting this message in error, please visit Netflix.com/help or call 866-579-7113 for assistance.
Well, they’re just begging me to call.
So I call the number, and after a few minutes — this call may be monitored, this toll-free number is not toll-free (why does the phone company hate freedom, too?) — I get Lindsey, a hyper-pleasant 20-something in Portland, Ore.
“What’s the deal?” I asked.
She said that no, outside the U.S. and Canada, there’s no streaming movies. I asked if there was a plan.
“There totally is,” said Lindsey, sounding positively effervescent. “Our CEO is looking at it, but we’re not there yet?” I put in a question mark, and you know why. You can hear her say it.
It wouldn’t really matter. None of the nominees are available. Huge wait list. Heck, I’m on a wait list for the “True Grit” with John Wayne.
So what’s a movie-lover to do? I guess I’ll watch YouTube clips and wait for the victory lap screenings.
What do you do? Do you know how to access (legal) copies of Oscar nominees, or know how to watch them online? Let us know.