The Life Lessons Kids Will Learn From the Oscars

Andrew Dalton

Black Swan: Never be a ballerina!
While there's not a single film I think she should see up for any awards, not even Toy Story 3 (have you seen it? It's sadder than Titanic), I plan on watching the Oscars with my 7-year-old daughter. I think there are several priceless lessons she can learn.

First, you can never be too young to start making catty comments about red-carpet dresses. There's no reason why that first best-and-worst-dressed list can't be in crayon. 

Next, the kid needs some culture. Frankly, she has terrible taste in movies. If she had her way, Yogi Bear would sweep every damn category from costume design to best original song.

But on a deeper level, each one of the 10 (yes, they're doing 10 again) Best Picture nominees has something essential to teach her. Let me run through them, so you can share them with your own children. You're welcome:

Black Swan: Ballerinas are creepy! Getting too obsessed with tutus instead of, say, soccer shorts leads to a life of eating disorders, paranoia, drugs, degradation, and (SPOILER ALERT!) suicide.

Ruffalo: The handsome homewrecker
The Kids Are All Right
: All kinds of families can be normal, whether there are two daddies, two mommies, or more. Unless that adorable Mark Ruffalo comes around and starts wrecking things. Stay away from him, and for that matter, any other men with an excess of jewelry and shirts with more than two buttons left open. Stick with your wife, if that's the way you choose to roll. The movie title also provides a good chance to teach kids about The Who, and the better early tunes they had before the ones they use for CSI theme songs.

The Fighter: Just because a person starts their career in a wretched Disney musical like Newsies (Christian Bale) or in a douchey combination of shirtless white boy rap and underwear ads (Markity Mark Mark Wahlberg) doesn't mean they can't still turn out to be a damn fine actor.

The King's Speech: Just because a man stammers, whether it's a lifelong problem or a momentary issue brought on because, well, he's afraid of you and it took all the guts he had to walk up to you, doesn't mean he won't turn out to be stellar. He may even turn out to be king (albeit a total figurehead with no real power -- but rich at least).

Beware of nerds too
The Social Network
: Geeks can be real jerks too. Just because a boy writes computer code all day instead of playing beer pong doesn't mean he won't mistreat you. Oh, and Harvard is expensive, overrated, and full of self-absorbed pretty-boy twins. 

Toy Story 3: Please, please play with those damn toys I spent all that money on! So that they'll actually be sad instead of grateful when we give them away. One of them might secretly have the irresistible voice of Tom Hanks at night! Although the thought of them coming alive is incredibly eerie. Maybe we should just toss them.

True Grit: If your father is murdered by a coward, avenge him! No matter if you're an underaged girl. And do your best to get Jeff Bridges involved, even if he's drunk and smelly. Oh, and make sure you get a good deal on your father's ponies.

Inception: Live in reality, not in dreams. But either way, make sure you always look your tailored best. And if god forbid you die before old age, don't haunt your poor husband.

127 Hours: Never go outside
127 Hours
: Take after your father and never, ever go out into nature. You're inevitably going to lose a limb or your life, and have to drink your own pee. Of course, there are plenty of other situations where pee-drinking might have to happen, but we'll save the stories of college parties for when you're older.

Winter's Bone: Hey, it's about a young girl like you! Remember kid, when you think you're so deprived with your two special treats a week and iPod Nano, that you could live in the poorest part of the Ozarks with a cripplingly depressed mama and a jailbird, bail-jumping daddy. Now finish your homework or I won't buy you that Christopher Bailey gown we saw on the pre-show. It was a tad over-the-top anyway.

Will you be be watching the Oscars with your kid? What "lessons" do you think there are to learn?

Images via Fox Searchlight/Focus Features/Sony Pictures

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