Your Guide to the 2015 Academy Awards

February 1st was perhaps one of the saddest days of the year this year, as it marked the official end of the football season. Baseball won’t start for a few more weeks, and honestly, who cares about basketball? With that being said, there is one good thing about this time of year, and that is award season!

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My favorite of the awards shows is the pinnacle — the Academy Awards — or as some of you miscreants prefer to call it, the Oscars. With eight incredible and diverse nominations for Best Picture, and five über-talented stars for both actor and actress, the 2015 Academy Awards are shaping up to be an exciting event. Let’s break down the nominations:

Best Picture

American Sniper — An intense drama about an American Hero with a beautiful family. And, um, hello Bradley Cooper! You can’t go wrong.

Birdman — A washed-up actor struggling with regret and ego problems? How original.

Boyhood — All you need to know about this film is that President Barack Obama named it his favorite film of last year. Do with that information what you will.

The Grand Budapest Hotel — If you saw The Royal Tenenbaums, then you saw this film. Next.

The Imitation Game — Fascinating. Enthralling. Brilliant. I only understood about half of it. Give it an Oscar.

Selma — I had such high hopes for this film, but unfortunately, I believe the filmmakers relied too much on Oprah’s celebrity to boost the film. Not enough artistic value to win an Academy Award in my opinion.

The Theory of Everything — A bit long, but beautifully done. This movie shows the untold romantic version of Stephen Hawking’s life. I would not be sad if this film won.

Whiplash — I’m sorry, which movie?

Best Actor

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher — It’s always a bit off-putting to see comedians switch into serious roles, but Steve Carell does an amazing job in Foxcatcher. A+ for sure.

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper — Very, very good. Better acting than I could ever do. But, dare I ask, Oscar worthy?

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game — Again, another great film, but I’m not sure Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting quite lived up to the brilliant writing and directing of The Imitation Game.

Michael Keaton, Birdman — I mean, yeah. I can see it.

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything — HE PLAYED STEPHEN HAWKING SLOWLY DEVELOPING MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE AND IT WASN’T OFFENSIVE. IT WAS INCREDIBLE AND TEAR-PROVOKING. YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night — Snore.

Felecity Jones, The Theory of Everything — Yeah, it’s impressive the film was nominated for so many Academy Awards, but her performance was nowhere near as phenomenal as her costar’s.

Julianne Moore, Still Alice — I am not going to lie, I did not see this one. I won’t even try to fake a review.

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl — Seriously? This film was way too Hollywood blockbuster to be worthy of any Oscars in my opinion. And her performance was just so…bleh. I think the Academy just threw it in there so both Best Actor and Best Actress would have five nominations.

Reese Witherspoon, Wild — She essentially carries the movie. The movie is just her, and it’s still riveting. This is a no-brainer.

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge — Eh.

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood — No.

Edward Norton, Birdman — Yes.

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher — Double yes.

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash — We. Are. Farmers. Ba ba dum da da da dum.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood — Eh.

Laura Dern, Wild — No.

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game — Eh.

Emma Stone, Birdman — Yes.

Meryl Streep, Into the Wild — What’s new?

Best Animated Feature Film

Frozen did not come out last year, so who cares?

Best Cinematography

Please, not The Grand Budapest Hotel. We get your weird style of filmmaking, Wes Anderson. We get it. Go home.

My vote: Birdman.

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel or Into the Wild. I would say Maleficent, but I don’t want anything associated with Angelina Jolie to win. #TeamAnistonForever

Best Director

Anything but The Grand Budapest Hotel. Okay, I really didn’t hate the movie, the style of it just drove me nuts. Like…why did I never feel settled into its plot or characters? Ugh.

…Beyond this point, who really cares? The only other part of the Academy Awards worth watching isn’t even officially part of the show — it’s the red carpet! Personally, I can’t wait to see what everyone wears.

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If you’re not into the cultural aspect of the Academy Awards like I am, you can still enjoy by playing a fun drinking game, like this one from BuzzFeed. The Academy Awards start this Sunday, February 22 at 7 p.m. EST. Lights, camera, action, cheers!

Who do you think will win in each of these categories? What are your Oscar party plans? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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Happy Halloweekend!

Ah, Halloweekend. An occasion observed primarily by undergraduates across our nation, this weekend-long celebration of Halloween (see: getting drunk in costumes) is upon us again. This year, the gods smiled down upon the campus coeds of the western world and placed the main event (actual Halloween night) on a Friday, as it should be. Why is this so important? If you don’t know, then you’ve clearly never tried mustering up the energy a Halloween party requires…on a school night. Thanks a lot, Halloweens 2010-2013.

The concept of Halloweekend is truly an anomaly. Who, in their right minds, would drag out the already-debauched holiday of Halloween into a three-night, alcohol-fueled, polyester-rampant, slopfest? College students, that’s who.

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First of all, we college students have no chill. We celebrate any and all occasions aggressively. Christmas? Let’s get grandpa drunk while wearing excessive amounts of tartan and listening to Mariah Carey on repeat. Aced, or failed, your final exam? Go ahead and grab that beer can out of your backpack and shotgun it while maintaining eye contact with your professor. It’s Tuesday? Kegger.

On top of that, we just do not care. About anything. College students are always willing to push the envelope from barely-socially-acceptable to “You need church, man,” which is exactly why on Halloweekend, a college student might dress like Woody from Toy Story one night, an Amish person the next, and Miley Cyrus a la the 2013 VMAs on the third night. Gender-specific costumes? As if that matters.

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Everyone knows that Halloween is the time when you can transform into literally anything your heart desires. You want to be a Playboy bunny? Sure. An insensitive societal reference? I’ve seen it. Twerking banana? Go for it. The result of all these random drunken costumes coming together in one place at one time is the most marvelous kaleidoscope of madness you’ll ever behold. Anything goes.

When else can you see Forrest Gump lifting up Lieutenant Dan’s wheelchair so that he can do a keg stand, while Gumby shmoneys with five Britney Spears from different music videos, and Bill Clinton shares a cigar with a nun?

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So…why not do it three nights in a row?

…That’s the thought someone actually had when collegiates of a former generation held the inaugural Halloweekend.

And thank goodness they did. Halloweekend is one of the best weekends during any undergraduate’s school year, and this year, we have been #blessed with the gift of Halloween on a Friday. A weekend like this does not come around often. Cherish it while it lasts.

Please remember to be safe this weekend as well! Drink responsibly and remember what your mother taught you about stranger danger.97438_v1

What are you wearing this Halloweekend? Send me pictures on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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Partner Post: You Don’t Have to Drink in College

This weekend, I abstained from drinking to test what a sober weekend in college is like. I was also lucky to be graced with the presence of my wonderful parents, Randy and Janet, this weekend. You would think their presence would make my sobriety vow easier, but then again, you don’t know my parents. #FamiliesThatDrinkTogetherStayTogether

Watch as I share what it was like staying sober for one weekend in college, the pleasant surprises, and what I learned:

It was certainly refreshing to discover that I do not need to rely on alcohol to have a good time with my friends and family. At the same, I believe there is a time and a place for everything, and when it comes to learning about the positives and negatives of alcohol, college is the perfect time and place. In college, you’re old enough to drink legally, yet your responsibilities outside of class are scare. You have a community of people who are going through the same things, so you can easily recover from your mistakes. Once you graduate, these factors change. Often times, those who don’t learn their limits in college will still have a wild phase, but likely at the inconvenient age of 30 or 50.

While I now highly recommend everyone discover the internal bliss that comes with abstaining from alcohol, I also encourage you to let loose every once in a while. Just check in from time to time and ask yourself, “Am I drinking out of desire, or out of habit?” Now go ahead and crack open that box of wine in your kitchen. It’s about to be a long week; you deserve it.

Special thanks to @KehoeFromReno for help with my blog tonight! Update: Brian’s blog, The Sober Semester, is now located on Tumblr.

What would you do during a sober weekend? Tweet Brian or me about it and we might retweet you!

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