I throw my back out all the time. It's not a matter of being old since I've been working that old man "my back!" drama since I was like 15. But can you throw your ass out? Maybe the movies are to blame for my back trouble? I'm always sitting. They shouldn't call a film's duration its "running time" but "sitting time". Yes, yes, it's my own fault for seeing Les Misérables and Zero Dark Thirty two & and a ½ times each in the past month (That's 787 minutes! What's wrong with me?). Take a look at the 12 movies most likely to find themselves with a Best Picture Nomination on January 10th from longest to shortest
Django Unchained - 165 minutes
Zero Dark Thirty - 160 minutes
Les Misérables - 157 minutes
Lincoln - 150 minutes
The Master - 144 minutes
Life of Pi - 127 minutes
Amour - 127 minutes
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - 124 minutes
Silver Linings Playbook - 122 minutes
Argo - 120 minutes
and the only contenders (both longshots) of non-abusive length!
Moonrise Kingdom - 94 minutes
Beasts of the Southern Wild - 93 minutes
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 26 HOURS & 23 MINUTES
That's just ass abuse!
Is it... a) auteur hubris? b) the cynical belief that long movies feel more "important" and are thus more popular with Oscar voters? c) rough draft & sub-plot preciousness or d) the genuine length required to tell these particular stories?
You decide on a case by case in the comments but I'm sticking with "a, b & c" because there are relatively few movies in the modern era that aren't self-indulgent in one way or the other. Wouldn't it be fascinating to see what filmmakers would come up with if they were forced into 90 minute running sitting times across the board one year? Would they tighten their storytelling or tell one hour stories to allow for the extra padding?