Saturday, February 23, 2008


Maybe I wasn’t paying too much attention but the 80th Academy Awards seemed to sneak up out of nowhere. With the WGA action it looked like the Oscars would go the way of the Golden Globes.

Now that the strike over, the AMPAS crowd have had eleven days to get their act together. Even if the show is a little rough around the edges it still means that... Oh, I really can’t be bothered that much with the awards anymore.

There are films that deserve to be feted and showered with awards and there are films that don’t, but somehow get their names on the list either through politicking or the fact that nothing better came along. Over the past decade or so, with the intense selling of films and people to the category voters by studios who want both the kudos and the additional dollars awards bring along, the bloom has gone off the rose as commerce took art roughly from behind.

Still, it makes for lively debate. It may be the attitude more akin to a dinosaur, looking back to a time when the Best Picture nominations were big pictures in every sense of the word, but the one thing I really don’t get is how films that were little more than TV Movies of the Week, gussied-up with A-list talent, walked off with the main prize.

In 1979 Kramer vs. Kramer beat out All That Jazz and Apocalypse Now to Best Picture. A year later it was Ordinary People winning out over The Elephant Man and Raging Bull. Terms of Endearment bested The Right Stuff in 1983 before everyone completely lost their marbles at the 62nd Award Ceremony, six years on, and gave it up for Driving Miss Daisy. These are the kind of films that would look slight on the Hallmark Channel.

At least this time around the nominations are pretty solid, which means there’s little chance of the Best Picture statuette being dropped into a great big steaming turd like it was with Crash. I mean, come on. “Oh, in LA we drive everywhere which means we don’t connect with anyone which--” just fuck the fucking fuck off!! You self-righteous, blinkered, self-centred cunt rags! (Three years on and apparently it still makes me really angry just thinking about it).

Because in the BBC documentary series The Lost World of Friese-Green a little old lady mentioned how, following the advent of the motorcar, people eventually lost the connection with their neighbours. And this was in some tiny village up north. If you want a decent film about a cultural and racial divide in Los Angeles, Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon beat Crash to the punch and did it in a far more entertaining way, free from supercilious bullshit.

Looking forward to tomorrow, much like America’s fastest-growing political party is apparently ABH – Anyone But Hillary – when the curtain goes up at the Kodak, I’d be happy if the awards went to AFBA: Any Film But Atonement, the one nomination that is far worse than everyone makes out.

It would be great if Juno was seriously recognised, although from the quartet of nominations it’s likely that only Diablo Cody will get to step up onto the stage. Though I have to say, it’s pretty cool that Ratatouille is also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

I hope, having two nominations in Achievement in Cinematography, Roger Deakins doesn’t lose out with the votes split between The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men – even if Deakins himself thinks it will go to Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood.

After that everything can pretty much go the way it goes. After all, any major upsets are likely keep the debates raging along nicely. That said, it would be good if Daniel Barber picked up the Best Live Action Short Film Award for The Tonto Woman.


At 6:45 pm, Blogger Jon Peacey said...

It would be nice if the Peter & The Wolf film won for Animated Short- it's British and, having seen it on C4 at Christmas, I think really rather good...

At 7:11 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

Anything that attracts the attention of the Oscars I avoid like the plague, though having been a gymslip Mum myself I may make time for JUNO. Even though that's a stupid name.

At 11:31 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Mmmmm, gymslip...


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