Well, it's the big weekend here in La-La Land. Nope, not the end of another winning Pac-10 hoops season. Nope, not the 1000th stirring episode of The Hills. Nope, not the moment when we abandon the rain to ski the 170 inches of snow on Mammoth Mountain. It's time for the big dance, the party where only the cool kids get to go, the ultimate in eye candy for pop culture junkies everywhere: It's the 82nd Annual Academy Awards®, known colloquially as the Oscars®.
And, in true Wine Giques fashion, now that we're through shopping for our fancy party shoes, we're offering up 10 wine picks to accompany the 10 Best Picture nominees, in honor of the hoi-polloi like us, who are enjoying the festivities with friends in the comfort of our own private screening, er, living rooms. The movies are listed in alphabetical order, by the way, as we'd hate to betray our favorites: the Wine Giques are friends to everyone in Hollywood. After all, you never know who you're going to run into in a small town like this.
Avatar -- Well, the more obvious among us would say that the proper wine to pair with this dimensional sci-fi extravaganza would be Blue Nun. We're going to take the high road and suggest that you procure a magnum of 1992 Screaming Eagle, and then invite 37,352 friends over to help you enjoy the biggest, most expensive wine you've ever had.
The Blind Side --The touching tale of Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher might deserve a wine that's a bit lyrical with a hardscrabble backstory. We took a simpler route and chose our favorite from a recent blind tasting: 2007 Trenza Tinto. An unusual and delicious blend of Spanish Tempranillo with classic Rhône varietals from California's San Luis Obispo region, it's the kind of wine created by winemakers who are not blinded by tradition.
District 9 -- This one was easy. South Africa is apparently producing both spectacular filmmakers and spectacular wines these days. We recommend 2008 Indaba Shiraz. Indaba apparently means "meeting of the minds" in Zulu, and although that seemed unattainable in District 9, we're sure that you won't mind meeting this lovely bottle laced with fruit and spice. And at $10 a pop, it's an affordable pleasure -- just like this great indie film.
An Education -- As the parents of teenage daughters, this movie frightens us. However, we can't deny the deliciousness of its soundtrack, filled with classic torch songs and sultry French chanteuses. We chose a French classic ourselves, 1999 Chateau Pavie Macquin St. Emilion. Apparently, the grapes in this wine escaped a hailstorm that pummeled the rest of the countryside that year, to reach a transcendence denied others in their peer group. Very appropriate.
The Hurt Locker -- By now, we all know about the media-manufactured rivalry between the director of this film, Kathryn Bigelow, and her ex-husband, James Cameron, who directed a certain blue-themed movie listed above. We'd like to applaud Ms. Bigelow for blazing trails in what is still very much a boys club, and offer up a wine by one of our very favorite woman winemakers: 2005 Martinelli Jackass Hill Zinfandel, made by Helen Turley and Bryan Kvamme. Will set you back $165, but like every fine woman, it's worth every penny.
Inglourious Basterds -- We know Quentin Tarantino is an acquired taste, one we have grown to love over the years, as we've cultivated our knowledge of wine, shoes, movies and Japanese swords. We can only wish that his imaginative retelling of WWII were true, then salute Christophe Waltz' tour de force performance with our favorite Grüner Veltliner, Domäne Wachau Federspiel Terrassen 2008. Only $17, and after a few glasses, you'll no longer fear that umlaut.
Precious -- Yes, we know the movie's actual title is longer, but we're tired of typing and want to get on to more important things, like telling you what to drink. For this harrowing tail, we're tempted to recommend a stiff shot of oblivion-inducing Everclear, but in the interest of consistency, we'll stick to the wine. Our choice: 2005 Brown Estate Chaos Theory. Like the movie's heroine, it's a unique blend -- in this case, Cabernet & Zinfandel -- and it comes from one of the precious-few African-American-owned wineries in the country.
A Serious Man -- Although chaos theory is certainly appropriate for this modern retelling of the parable of Job, we chose to focus on the other physics-related aspects of the latest Coen brothers' opus. Face it, despite its distinctly Jewish flavor, this is really a film about Shrödinger's Cat. So we recommend the very serious 2005 EMH Vineyards Black Cat Cabernet. A few sips, and you'll be grateful to Hashem for creating such pleasures.
Up -- Although this putative children's movie is filled with balloons and airiness, it's ultimately a down-to-earth story about friendship, love, and coming to terms with loss. Pixar's continuing ability to make us laugh while yanking our heartstrings is worth a rousing toast, and our libation of choice is Iron Horse Cuvee Joy!, a vintage sparkling wine from John Lasseter's beloved Sonoma County. It's produced only in magnums, so make sure you pack as many friends as possible into your house before you unpack the bubbles and take off for the Amazon.
Up in the Air -- Ordinarily we'd avoid a film about a professional corporate downsizer, given the current depressing state of employment and its concomitant effect on the wine industry. However, we'd attend the opening of an envelope if George Clooney were involved ... so, here we are. To celebrate this quirky, complicated, and ultimately satisfying film, we offer up a similarly-themed wine: 2005 Shypoke Charbono. Made from an underused varietal grape, like the Clooney, it goes down smooth but finishes with a punch.
So, there you have it. There's still time to go shopping before the cameras start rolling. And have your people call our people after the show, darling. Kiss kiss.