A Richland man's love of movies has taken him around the state, across snow-covered passes and even out of the country in his quest to see all of this year's Oscar-nominated films.
Doug Mowry didn't set out to watch all 46 movies and 15 short films nominated for a 2012 Academy Award -- he just thought it would be cool to see the nine films up for Best Picture.
But, by the time the 50-year-old husband and father of three sits down tonight with his family at his laid-back Oscar party to watch the star-studded show (it starts at 5:30 p.m. on ABC), Mowry will have seen all but one foreign film.
"We've been doing this for years, ... I've just never been so prepared. I've never been so educated," Mowry told the Herald. "It's exciting going in with all this. ... This really has become a bucket-list thing for me, and even if I don't catch that one (before the show) I will still see it.
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"This will be the year I see all the movies."
Two days before the 84th Academy Awards, Mowry was missing three of the foreign films nominated this year. He saw Bullhead from Belgium and A Separation from Iran, and picked the Iranian film as the probable Oscar winner.
"A Separation is amazing. It's very good," the former pastor said. "Bullhead was kind of disturbing."
Early Saturday morning, however, Mowry decided that he needed to get closer to meeting his goal -- even if it meant a more than 12-hour trip covering almost 700 miles to Vancouver, British Columbia, and back.
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, he walked out of the Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas after watching Monsieur Lazhar from Canada and In Darkness from Poland.
"Monsieur Lazhar was wonderful and life-affirming, and In Darkness couldn't have been named better," he said, adding that he even saw the trailer for Footnote, the foreign film from Israel that is the sole movie he is missing.
A Separation still is his pick to win Best Foreign Film, but his hands-down favorite of all the movies is The Artist.
"It's going to win Best Picture. I'd bet a million dollars -- it is so good," he said. He also is rooting for The Artist to pick up wins for Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Supporting Actress (Berenice Bejo) and Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius).
"That's my love affair with movies," Mowry said. "I have a really good imagination. I love the meaning of movies and it just captured my heart."
Mowry said Dujardin carried the silent black-and-white film, but he also was moved by George Clooney's performance in The Descendants and thinks that Clooney will get the nod in the end.
"He leaves nothing on the stage and really gives us everything," Mowry said. "He's sort of beloved Hollywood royalty and for him to play that so deeply. ... I would be happy if he won, even if it wouldn't be my choice."
Viola Davis of The Help likely will win Best Actress -- and Mowry said he would be happy if she does -- but after watching The Iron Lady, he can't vote for anyone other than Meryl Streep.
"I didn't want to vote for Meryl Streep, she's won so many times -- but then I saw it," he said. "She portrays Margaret Thatcher ... in the close of her life ... and it's just brilliant. It's just unbelievable. To be fair to the performance, you couldn't vote for anyone else."
Mowry says Christopher Plummer is sure bet for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Beginners.
To watch all the movies, Mowry turned to Netflix and RedBox to see what was available on DVD and instant streaming, and also made many trips to theaters to watch flicks on the big screen. He went to theaters in the Tri-Cities and drove to Yakima to watch The Iron Lady.
In one afternoon at The Magic Lantern in Spokane, he got to see the 10 nominees for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Short Film, along with My Week With Marilyn, which features Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor nominees Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh.
Mowry also had to go to Seattle to see all the documentary short films and caught the Madonna-directed film W.E. that was the last he needed to complete the Best Costume Design category.
After all the miles and hours spent watching all the Oscar-nominated movies, Mowry's concluded that "this is a great year for movies," and it's made him a renewed believer of going to the theater.
"I've been reminded again how great it is to see movies in theaters," he said. "You can save a lot of money watching them all these other ways, but seeing them on the big screen -- almost any movie is better on the big screen ... even with the cost of popcorn."
w Paula Horton: 582-1556; email@example.com