Pat Clark

Well, Oscar, at least you gave us Clooney

Here we go again.

Five best-picture nominees. Five films I haven't seen. I know, I know: Get out more, girl.

The Academy Award nominations came out Tuesday and it reminded me, yet again, of my love for cocooning.

To be honest, there isn't a lot on that list that could pry me out of my warm, comfy home, anyway. Of all the nominees for best picture, there's only one I actually want to see.

There are two more I could probably talk myself into. And then there are two I'd have to drag myself whining and stomping to the cineplex to see.

Last year about this time, I decided to see all five of the nominees, despite some serious grumbling about a couple of them. Will I do the same this year? Well. Um. Mmmmm.

Can I get back to you on that one?

Oh, I probably would do it out of some sort of job-related duty if all the films were playing here. Right now, though, only "Atone-

ment" and "Juno" are playing in Modesto.

Sure, I could drive to Oakdale or Sonora to see "No Country" and to Merced to see "Michael Clayton" -- although I'd probably have to do it fast before both drop away completely.

Did I mention I enjoy staying in my home?

"There Will Be Blood" hasn't played here and there's no indication that it will.

"Juno" is the only film I have any real interest in seeing. "Michael Clayton"? The story doesn't draw, but at least it has Clooney. OK, I could talk myself into that one.

"No Country"? Sure. I hear it's excellent, and particularly spellbinding, so I'd give it a try.

But the other two? Oh, eesh.

The thing is, I just don't like the whole sweeping period-epic thing. I generally find movies like this dull as dirt. I don't particularly care for Keira Knightley. And I really hate stories based on someone inherently good having their life ruined because they were wrongly accused of doing something bad.

It's is one of my top five personal nightmare scenarios.

Hence, "Atonement" -- not for me.

Less epically sweeping, but still a period piece, is "There Will Be Blood." It's about an oil baron and a preacher.

Oh, yawn.

Obviously, these are personal opinions based only on what I've read. Also obviously, these are films that scores of critics and Academy types have found riveting, gripping and terribly important.

Whatever. They still sound boring.

The best-picture list sounds like a depressing lot except for "Juno." That's hardly unusual for the Oscars, but it doesn't make it any easier to muster any interest in seeing them.

Especially when my house is so cozy and comfortable.

And admission-free.

Maybe, if all of the nominees suddenly pop up at Modesto theaters between now and Oscar night, I'll claw my way out the front door and force myself to watch them.

If even one of them fails to materialize, though, that's a deal-breaker.

Things really got tighter fast for the striking writers, didn't they? Pressure to settle mounted once the Directors Guild of America and producers reached accord in record time and the music industry started giving the writers union the stink-eye over the impending Grammy Awards ceremony.

So they were back at the negotiation table Wednesday.

Hopefully, by the time you read this, a deal will have been reached and our shows will be back on track. Truly, all that aforementioned cocooning just isn't the same without plenty of in-home TV entertainment.

Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at