Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

February 28, 2014

Kate Milewski: Oscars are about much more than movies

Every year, my mother and I have a tradition. It usually starts somewhere around Thanksgiving and the best part happens about the end of February, sometimes early March — we watch movies.

Specifically, Oscar movies.

My mom and I have always been incredibly — probably weirdly — close. Growing up, her sisters were across the country and I didn’t have one, but we always had each other. She taught me how to read when I was little and we have been trading books since I was 8.

We would hang out on the weekends during what was supposed to be my teenage rebellion. When I turned 21, we went to Las Vegas together. And, since I was about 12 years old, we’ve watched Oscar movies.

It all started when I first saw the awards show. I was 11 and I remember feeling so grown up, watching all these beautiful people who had done amazing things.

“Gladiator” won best picture that year and my otherwise very strict parents let me watch my first R-rated movie so I could see just what was so great about it. That was in 2001 and it hasn’t stopped since.

When the really great movies started hitting theaters again at the end of that year, I got to come. We watched “A Beautiful Mind,” “Lord of the Rings,” “I am Sam” and “Shrek.”

In the early years, my mom was the one who read reviews and listened to reports of what might get nominated. By the time I was a junior in high school, I was reading film festival buzz early in the year, charting out what movies we absolutely had to see and hoping they would get picked up by distributors and come to somewhere near our hometown.

We would drive sometimes an hour or more away, just to see a truly great piece of cinema because the experience of seeing the movie together — on the big screen before Hollywood’s biggest night — was worth it. And every year, we watched the awards show together.

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