THE OSCARS 2023 HITS: Pairing Strains To This Year’s Best Picture Nominees

Daniel Williston
THE OSCARS 2023 HITS: Pairing Strains To This Year’s Best Picture Nominees

This year has been a wild year for movies and cannabis alike.

As a certified fan of both (and someone whose podcast’s pitch was pairing movies with strains and reviewing them), I’m in a unique position to be able to help you out with your Oscar cram sesh before they air on March 12, 2023. The Academy Awards have ten Best Picture nominees. All Quiet On The Western Front is an incredible anti-war movie, while Women Talking is a strong, powerful Canadian offering from director Sarah Polley about a group of Mennonite women in Bolivia who agonize over how to respond to a string of sexual assaults. Both films feel a bit inappropriate to pair with a strain, but you should definitely see them. So without further ado, here are the eight other Best Picture nominees and the best strains to pair with them.

TOP GUN MAVERICK

The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: Top Gun Maverick

Steven Spielberg was caught on film telling Tom Cruise that Maverick may have saved theatrical distribution as a medium. Saving this flick to be seen in theatres was a calculated risk on Cruise's part, but it was how this flick was meant to be seen. The groundbreaking filmmaking is a wonder to behold. Strapping IMAX cameras to jet fighters and training Cruise and his fellow actors to actually fly them, this movie gets you closer to the dogfight action than ever before, beating the original movie at every turn. Dramatic weight is given to Maverick’s relationship with his old rival-turned-wingman Iceman (a rare acting turn for Val Kilmer who has suffered the debilitating loss of his voice) and the memory of his old partner Goose (Anthony Edwards) and in the training of Goose’s son (Miles Teller). The jingoism and military worship of the original remains, but as far as these films can go, this one gives enough thrills and fun to be worth munching some popcorn. There are shots in this flick that’ll make your jaw drop. Watch it on as big a screen as you can and make sure it is LOUD.

PAIR WITH: EDISON JOLTS - ELECTRIC LEMON LOZENGES

These Lozenges give you the onset speed and the steady dosage to give you that white knuckle, need-for-speed energy you’ll want to accompany you on your ride along with Tom Cruise and his cohorts. These Sativa lozenges will get you amped up for the blockbuster proceedings, and with a crackdown incoming from Health Canada on lozenges and other non-food edibles, this might be one of your final chances to buy a product with more than 10 mg total THC for a while.

BANSHEES OF INISHERIN

The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: The Banshees of Inisherin

Banshees is the kind of movie that isn’t often made anymore but is warmly welcomed (as evidenced by its five Oscar nominations, a feat tying it for most nominations for a single film). It is stylized and heavy in dialogue, betraying writer/director Martin McDonagh’s theatre roots. It is both a small film (all taking place on a small island in Ireland) and humongous in its human scope. It follows a pair of friends (Colin Farrell and Brenden Gleeson, both nominated) as one decides seemingly out of the blue that he no longer wants to be friends. Ego, love, mortality, loneliness, and legacy are all on the table to be fought about, meditated on and frustrated by. The melancholy and humour of the Irish are on full display in this beautiful entry from much of the team that brought us the strange and wonderful “In Bruge” (2008).

PAIR WITH: MSIKU - GELATO 33 x TROPICANA COOKIES

The dark green and vibrant hues of purple on this flower harken to the beauty in the beautiful countryside shot in Banshees. Relaxation is the name of the game with this heavy indica. An aroma and taste like candy, with a vanilla aftertaste permeating through, it’s smell and taste will bring the sweet to this bittersweet offering from writer/director Martin McDonagh.

AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER

The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: Avatar: The Way of Water

Alright, listen. I did not dig this movie. I have no dedication to the original, and the high frame rate gimmick isn’t what the 3D technology was when James Cameron introduced it to us way back in 2009. The feeling I get is that I SHOULD be enamoured with the Na’vi. If you are, I am not attacking you either. I’m so glad you have another of these flicks to go see. There are some exceptionally beautiful shots, and Cameron means well. All the actors are doing what they can. My sense is that if you loved the original, you’ll love this one too. There is plenty of action and lots of communing with nature. It has a spectacle that is best experienced on the big screen.

PAIR WITH: QWEST BLUEBERRY SYRUP

This strain is a real treat for those who like their cannabis to taste like sweet fruit and spice. Qwest has had some of my favourite desserty strains and this one is a winner. A cross between Cherry Pie Kush and Blueberry, you get some tremendous relaxing qualities coming from the Caryophyllene content from Blueberry and the delicious couch lock of a classic Kush. This deep indica will have you holding your breath along with the Na’vi on their underwater adventure (and maybe even managing to beat them)!

TRIANGLE OF SADNESS

The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: Avatar: Triangle of Sadness

This movie is absolutely batshit in the best possible way. Ruben Ostlünd’s anarchic exploration of the haves and have-nots will keep you guessing from its first frame til its last. It is best enjoyed with little context and as few spoilers as possible, so I will try to avoid them. Carl and Yaya are two models who join a cruise for the crème de la crème of the billionaire elite. An ensemble cast of rich weirdos and the crew that must serve them under all circumstances become victims to their own circumstances as their world is turned upside down. What happens is best left to your experience, but trust that it meditates on reversals of fortune, examines political ideologies and what humanity is left in us when we have all the money, none of the money, all of the power, or none of it. I’m not sure the ending nailed it for me, but maybe I just disagree with Ostlünd’s diagnosis of humanity. If you have a weak stomach, be warned: there is a middle section of this movie that features many fluids.

PAIR WITH: CAKE x CAVIAR by HABITAT

The ‘Cake’ product line rotates between their “sweet cultivars”: Lemon Loaf, Blueberry Yum Yum, and Waffle Bites.

All boasting high THC, and each with its own desserty aromas, this package is a rare gift that allows for spontaneity in your purchase! The movie is full of wild surprises and three distinct chapters, making this pairing a spiritual hat trick. It’s a pressure-sealed glass container and a humidity pack is sure to keep this product dank and smooth on its smoke.

Lemon Loaf is Sativa dominant, with a citrus and sweet taste profile.

Blueberry Yum Yum is a hybrid with a creamy smoke with the soothing characteristics of its Blueberry lineage.

Waffle Bites is a hybrid that has a unique maple syrup on waffles, with a funky cream cheese finish.

Have these desserts on call and delight in the high class while watching the high class disintegrate before your eyes in this Best Picture nominee.

TAR

The Oscar's 2023 Best Picture Nominee: Tár The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: Tár

Todd Field’s Little Children is one of my favourite movies. It is complex, beautiful, and extremely dark. It has taken 16 years, but he is finally back with another movie written and directed by him and starring arguably the best actor of her generation, Cat Blanchett. If you are a classical music snob, you’ll get a lot out of the well-researched and deeply engrossing conversations surrounding composers and conductors. But the centre of this picture is pitch black and also complex. Like many of the movies up for Best Picture, it deals with the idea of power and corruption. Blanchett’s characterization of Lydia Tar is singular, towering, and blatant in her villainy. But her inability to see her actions as anything but the inspired whims of a True Artist allows her to wield her power to harmful, disastrous ends. Gorgeously shot and never straying too far from the mesmerizing central performance, this flick is complicated and will raise a lot of conversation between you and whomever you watch with. Have some time and space to process.

PAIR WITH: 3SAINTS - SUNDAE STRUDEL

For a tale this bitter, you’re gonna want something sweet to watch it with. Combining genetics from Cherry Strudel gives an even sweeter bump to the already sweet and fuel-forward Sundae Driver, and you get 3Saint’s Sundae Strudel. Terpene rich with Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene and Germacrene leading the charge, this relaxing hybrid will keep you dialled into this character study with darkness burbling under the surface of every scene.

THE FABLEMANS

The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg has been at the front lines of sparking our imaginations and tugging our heartstrings for decades, taking us to space, on adventures with archaeologists, terrifying us with sharks and walking among the Dinosaurs. But this movie is different. It’s still spellbinding, still wonderfully crafted, still emotionally resonant, but the story is the closest to who the writer/director is. This story is about his childhood.

From creating war films with his childhood chums with a 16mm camera, to processing his parent's deteriorating relationship through his art, to finding the cleverest of ways to defeat his school bully, we get a glimpse at what shaped the man who would go on to single-handedly create the sensation of the “Summer Blockbuster.” At the top of his game, and surrounding himself with an incredible team and cast, we get to watch the exquisite highs and the desperate lows of a life dedicated to artistic pursuit (all underscored by Spielberg’s magical collaborator, John Williams).

PAIR WITH: MELT - DRAGON COOKIES

A mind consumed with film and the fantastical possibilities the medium presents surely might have dreamed up a strain name like Melt’s Dragon Cookies. This Indica-dominant cultivar gets its earthy and sweet flavours and aromas from its Animal Cookies lineage, with sage and pine undertones from its Purple Dragon lineage. Opening a bag gives off a sweet garlic smell that can be intoxicating all on its own. A deeply euphoric and relaxed experience, it’s perfect for cozying up on the couch and watching a master of cinema weave a tale like only he can tell it.

ELVIS

 

The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: Elvis

Baz Luhrman has an eye for splendour and spectacle that can compete with any summer blockbuster without relying on the well-trod ground of superheroes and giant transforming trucks. I don’t always find his storytelling compelling, and while this provides a lot of beautiful images to look at, it doesn’t exactly change my mind about his work. But he’s doing something in the film that no one else does, and his flair is exquisite. Austin Butler really does knock it out of the park as Presley himself and is a front-runner for Best Actor. Tom Hanks really misses the mark here, but with his body of work, he’s more than earned our forgiveness for a single misstep (however wild). The use of music pastiche by composer Elliot Wheeler in the score gives cultural context to the well-trod story of Elvis and makes sense of both the rock star’s ubiquitousness and his cultural significance in co-opting Black America’s gospel, R&B and rock n’ roll for a white audience woefully unfamiliar.

PAIR WITH: NESS - West Coast Banana Skunk

A lot has been made about one of Elvis’ favourite sandwiches, the peanut butter, grape jelly and bacon. But he also loved the less groundbreaking (though no less delicious) peanut butter and banana sandwich. With Ness’s West Coast Banana Skunk, you get a combo taste of sweet, fruity, tropical, woody and earthy—a nice skunky smell coming from its dominant terpenes of Limonene, Caryophyllene, and Myrcene. A cross between Ghost OG and Skunk Haze, this indica dominant varietal will have you relaxed with a bounce in your step, perfect for this rockin' good time with a daunting runtime of 2 hours and 39 minutes.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE

The Oscars 2023 Best Picture Nominee: Everything Everywhere All at Once

This movie is a wild experience. It takes a sci-fi concept that has grown in prominence in the Super-hero genre (Multiverse is all the rage right now) and instead of centring it’s story on Spider-Man or The Flash, its hero is a Mom, Evelyn (the incredible, nominated Michelle Yeoh), working hard to balance her taxes and keep the family laundromat afloat. The family she knows and has grown resentful of takes a wild turn when her husband (a nominated Ke Huy Quran) suddenly becomes an action hero and tells her she is the only one who can stop the big bad Jobu Tupaki who is set on destroying every universe in the multiverse. With the fate of hers and everyone’s world in her hands, Evelyn must harness the power within her to stop Tupaki and in the process, bring her family back together. The editing, the fighting, the story, the in-camera effects… everything about this movie is incredible. It is a favourite to win many of the awards it was nominated for, and is a perfect answer to the drudgery of comic book movies that have cloned themselves so much that we know beat for beat how they will play out. This is a revolutionary movie for sci-fi action flicks, for Asian representation in Hollywood cinema, and for the studio that released it, A24 (it paid off: Everything Everywhere All At Once became their highest-grossing movie ever).

PAIR WITH: BZAM x DUNN - GRATEFUL BREATH

Because this movie was created with such detail and style in its craft, a Craft cannabis offering is the only thing that’d make sense to pair it with. This small batch, indoor grown, hand trimmed and hang-dried hybrid has a fruity, earthy, sweet and spicy aroma and taste and is grown on Vancouver Island. With its high THC potential, and coveted Breath strain parentage, and crossing it between Cherry Pie Kush x BlackBerry x Goji OG, this complex cultivar has enough worlds packed into it to make it the perfect companion to this multiversal adventure that should leave you, as the strain name suggests, grateful.

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