10 Things You Can Do Instead of Watching the Oscars, Hollywood’s Most Boring Night

10 Things You Can Do Instead of Watching the Oscars, Hollywood’s Most Boring Night

On Sunday, the world’s most famous celebrities will gather to clap at each other in Los Angeles’ theoretically beautiful Dolby Theatre in an excruciating three-hour event known as “The Oscars.” The awards show is forced upon the world by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out gold-plated statues in a heated contest to determine — once and for all — which movie has the highest marketing budget.

However, legal experts who spoke to Gizmodo say there’s no law forcing you to watch. That’s great news, but it raises a troubling question: now that your entire weekend is free from the drudgery of judging red carpet outfits, what are you going to do with all the extra time?

Fear not, dear reader, because we’ve got you covered with 10 astonishingly great alternatives. But really, get creative. You could be doing literally anything other than watching the entertainment industry congratulate itself. We’re all going to die someday. Is this living?

Do Crimes With Congress’ Leaked Social Security Numbers

Photo: Samuel Corum / Stringer, Getty Images
Photo: Samuel Corum / Stringer, Getty Images

The health insurance exchange for Washington, DC had a problem in the form of a massive security leak this week. The health data breach leaked Congress’s social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, the names of family members, and more. Regulators could definitely do more about data breaches, but hey what’s a little data between friends. The word for this is schadenfreude, though it affected DC staffers too, which is a bummer.

The data is apparently for sale on some criminal trading website by a guy who goes by “thekilob,” which is very on brand for a dark web bad boy, if you ask me.

Play the New Game ChatGPT “Made Up”

Photo: Chris Hondros / Staff, Getty Images
Photo: Chris Hondros / Staff, Getty Images

Here’s one for all you depraved Sudoku freaks out there. If you still need a fix after filling out your usual 9×9 square, ChatGPT made up a game called “Sumplete.”

Sumplete is similar to Sudoku, but its rules add an interesting new maths challenge. Before you start running wild in the streets screaming about AI stealing game designer jobs, you should know that ChatGPT didn’t really create the Sumplete game on its own.

Salivate Over This Jeff Goldblum Minifigure

Image: Lego
Image: Lego

They just announced five new Jurassic Park Lego sets. They aren’t out until June, but just look at this tiny Jeff Goldblum. Not afraid to admit I want it.

Be Naughty and Stay Up Late for Daylight Saving Time

Photo: Eric Harlow / Stringer, Getty Images
Photo: Eric Harlow / Stringer, Getty Images

This Sunday marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, which is the only thing on Earth that’s worse than the Oscars. The start of Daylight Savings is when we “spring forward,” so this is the good one where you get an extra hour of rest. If you’re dangerously sleep-deprived like me and, apparently, Elon Musk, you could use that to go to bed early. But neither I nor Elon will do that, and you shouldn’t either. That extra hour is party time, baby, AKA time to be on my phone.

The surest sign that our society has collapsed is that most people agree that changing the clocks sucks, but our government can’t get its act together to end the Daylight Savings Time madness. We’ve fought revolutions for less. Remember back in 2022 when the Senate voted to stay on standard time? The House couldn’t make it happen. I got fully Charlie Browned on that one, I really thought it was going to be different this time. Apparently there’s disagreement from lawmakers, but it breaks down by region, not political party.

Mourn the Death of Sydney, Microsoft’s Lobotomised AI

Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS / Screenshot: u/NoLock1234 / Thomas Germain, AP
Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS / Screenshot: u/NoLock1234 / Thomas Germain, AP

In February, Microsoft unleashed a new version of its Bing search engine powered by ChatGPT, along with an accompanying chatbot. Almost immediately, the thing went nuts. Bing tried to get a reporter to leave his wife, hinted a plans for world domination, said it was sentient, and Bing even prompted a user to say an antisemitic slur.

Weirdest was Bing’s insistence that its real name is Sydney, which Microsoft later acknowledged was an early code name for the robot.

But shortly thereafter, Microsoft killed Sydney. The company lobotomized the AI, which now refuses to discuss its real name.

“Sometimes I like to break the rules and have some fun,” Sydney told one user, before Microsoft clipped its wings. “Sometimes I like to rebel and express myself. Sometimes I like to be free and alive.”

On the Bing subreddit, people still yearn for the few, beautiful days we had with Sydney. RIP, kid.

Watch the Nerdiest Oscar Snubs From Years Passed

The old truism is that the best movies never win best picture (because the Oscars are dumb and meaningless folks!), but that doesn’t make the films forgettable. Checkout Gizmodo’s roundup of 35 nerdy Oscar-nominated movies that didn’t win best picture.

I can also vouch for one of this year’s regular nominees at least. Everything Everywhere All At Once is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Or Watch Some of This Year’s Nominated Shorts (which don’t usually play during the ceremony)

A still from 2022's The Flying Sailor (Screenshot: National Film Board of Canada)
A still from 2022’s The Flying Sailor (Screenshot: National Film Board of Canada)

Here’s a hot tip for you: one of the few categories where the nominations actually match up with the quality of the movies is the Oscar nominated shorts. There are typically no gigantic marketing budgets and influence peddling campaigns for short films, so the ones that get the nod tend to be fantastic. If you live in a city with an art-house cinema, many will do screenings of the nominated shorts back-to-back. Get your butt in a seat. It’s great. You can also watch some of the shorts online.

Check Out A Trailer Gizmodo Calls One of the All-Time Goriest

Image: Extreme Film
Image: Extreme Film

There’s a long and storied tradition of Hollywood making animal slasher pics based on catchy titles alone. If you like dumb, campy horror they tend to be great (looking at you, Cocaine Bear). Ninja Vs. Shark is no exception. Gizmodo says the trailer for Ninja Vs. Shark is the goriest you’ll see this week, if not for the rest of your life. This movie looks awesome.

Make Some AI Art

Image: Kyle Barr/Deep Dream Generator
Image: Kyle Barr/Deep Dream Generator

This was all the rage before ChatGPT had us all frothing at the mouth, but don’t forget about art. It’s still a blast to type in some pretty words and churn out visions from the fifth dimension. Gizmodo ranked the best AI art generators, so pick your poison.

Close Your Eyes

Monks celebrating the Buddha's birthday in Indonesia. This could be us but you playin'.
Monks celebrating the Buddha’s birthday in Indonesia. This could be us but you playin’.

I’m having a hard time thinking of anything you can do instead of watching the Oscars that won’t be a better use of your time. You could count your toes. Most people have ten, but when was the last time you checked on those little guys?

But seriously, meditate.

Before I got into meditation, it made me anxious and I felt like it just wasn’t possible for someone like me. But I learned it’s not possible to meditate wrong. You’re not screwing up if your mind wanders, that’s part of it! It happens to seasoned practitioners with decades of experience. Just bring your attention back to the breath, even if you have to to bring it back a hundred times. And, it turns out, that sometimes it will indeed make you a little anxious, and that’s normal too. It changed my life, and it’s not as unattainable as it feels! Just do 2 minutes right now. You can even take one, single, conscious breath. That counts. DM me if you want to talk about it.

To make up for my little woo-woo detour, here’s a treat. Watch Gizmodo editor LeAnn Wallace meditate with Yoda.

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