for me, the big question about elias' annual movie marathon was deciding how i'd get there. of course it was raining, but i was hoping for a brief period of calm so i could take the bicycle instead (a short ride to cambridgeport, less than 2 miles). i had all but given up and was ready to take the subway when i stepped outside and decided i'd risk riding. there was a light drizzle that coated my glasses with raindrops but my clothes kept dry for the most part.

i parked close to elias and amanda's place and walked down to central square to get some lunch takeout from wendy's. i'd thought about going with something new but instead went again with my usual, the no.6 spicy chicken. it was still early when i finally showed up to the movie marathon, 11:30.

the theme this time was the oscars, since elias didn't have his annual oscar party this year. it was also the 10th movie marathon (years past: 2006 24-hour marathon, 2006 horror movie marathon (the start of the half-day format), 2007, baleathon, 2008 30th birthday marathon, val kilmer-a-thon, 2009, swayze-a-thon, and one other marathon back at the old apartment in jamaica plain) and the first birthday marathon to fall on elias' actual birth date. (as far as movie marathons go, i've been to a lot, including dan's 24-hour marathon back in december 2006).

12:00 best screenplay: with only amanda and me voting since elias was abstaining, it was a unanimous decision for up in the air over up. up in the air plays like a tragedy, but for some the non-traditional unhappily-ever-after is its appeal. i'd seen the movie already, and it was harder to watch it a second time knowing how things would end for george clooney's character.

2:00 best animated: fantastic mr.fox won over coraline. i wasn't very interested in either of the movies, but mr.fox turned out to be surprisingly witty and funny. it was funny picking out the voices of wes anderson regulars like owen wilson and bill murray, and the soundtrack was pure andersonian as well. i don't remember reading mr.fox as a kid (i must've, just forgot it), so i'd be interested in digging out the old works of roald dahl.

4:00 best actress: 500 days of summer narrowly beat speed. elias thought zooey deschanel was more deserving of oscar gold versus sandra bullock. i myself am pretty meh about ms.deschanel, and think that minka kelly is a way better fit for joseph gordon-levitt. 500 days is a nice little unconventional romantic comedy. i was more impressed with the few scenes featuring chloe moretz, forever now known as the underage swearing hit-girl. i could've easily watched speed as well, if only to see a young sandy bullock (although i prefer her in demolition man a lot more).

6:00 best actor: i voted for wild bill but the hangover won the round. elias' pick for best actor is zach galifianakis versus the eventual 2010 winner jeff bridges. wild bill was the only movie choice that i've never seen before. in the end though, the hangover was probably the far more entertaining choice, and if you were to take a survey, i think it would've been the clear audience favorite of the whole marathon.

8:00 best director: moon versus strange days with strange days winning by a landslide. i voted for strange days as well but only because i thought moon would be a snorefest. the film can be pretty tedious if you're not a sam rockwell fan. i imagine not too many people had seen strange days otherwise they might've picked moon instead. strange days features a brutal rape-murder scene so graphic and disturbing (involving a cerebral device that allows the victim to sense what the rapist feels), it pretty much left the audience speechless. the premise of recording and playing back memories and experiences is one that's treated in other scifi films (brainstorm comes to mind). i think the gist of the film is interesting, but the story is rather weak, and there's some questionable casting, including juliette lewis, who single-handedly ruined the movie with her ham-fisted acting. angela bassett is pretty kick-ass though, and proudly showcases her right to bare arms throughout the film.

10:00 best picture: district 9 was the mandatory selection. watching it in blue-ray HD was a whole new experience. the end of the movie left the door open for a sequel. i could go either way, but i think the film is fine on its own, leaving the fate of the main protagonist in limbo.

there was also a trivia contest and i ended up tying with amanda, but ended up taking the grand prize anyway: a faux oscar statue. i think i managed to get some of the questions right because i've managed to attend most of these marathons (10 total so far), including at least one 24-hour marathon (that was a painful experience, and i think i went home for the final 4-6 hours). there were also complimentary keychains, featuring related graphics like district 9 logos or photos of zach galifianakis and zooey deschanel. and all guests got to sign their names onto actual size walk-of-fame star stickers.

leaving cambridgeport, i had to take certain liberties like traveling down one way streets. it was almost 1:00 so traffic was light anyway. unfortunately i left all my bike lights at home so i was essentially traveling in the dark. i could see just fine from the street lights but i was worried about cars not seeing me. i still had the passive protection of my various reflectors, which apparently was enough. i also took small side streets whenever possible to further avoid any sort of car traffic. there was but the faintest drizzle as i pedaled home, nothing but darkness and the damp smell of flowering trees, especially the sweet scent of sycamores. it might've been cold (39°) had i not been bundled up in several layers including thermal underwears (the ones my aunt and uncle gave me for my birthday that i never tried on). i was actually disappointed that i got home so fast and briefly thought about extending my ride with a loop around harvard square, but it was getting late and i had already locked my bicycle.

it was 55° inside the house with no heat.