Talking Movies

March 15, 2010

Oscar Schmoscar

There’s been an odd prevalence of live blogs surrounding this year’s “goddamn meat-parade” – as George C Scott so memorably described the Oscars. This blog did not do a live commentary on the Oscars for three reasons. Firstly, I rather like sleeping at night and think that many other people share this strange attitude. Secondly, I don’t believe that even Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie writing together could possibly write anything funny or insightful enough LIVE! to justify a live blog. Thirdly, the Oscars are (whisper it) (no in fact bellow it!) POINTLESS!

There are 5,777 voting members of the Academy. These individuals do not have a better idea of what makes a great film than any other 5,777 random individuals around the world. There was a reason that JFK told Ben Bradlee what he’d learned from the Bay of Pigs was this – “Don’t assume that because a man is in the army that he necessarily knows best about military strategy”. If you doubt that consider these three facts.

The Academy in its wisdom thought that Alfred Hitchcock, director of The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Strangers On a Train, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho and The Birds, was not truly exceptional enough in his field to win a Best Director Oscar.

The Academy in its wisdom thought that Ron Howard, director of The Da Vinci Code, was.

The Academy nominated both Apocalypse Now and Kramer Vs Kramer for Best Picture of 1979 and thought that the film which would have most impact on popular culture, which pushed the boundaries of film-making, and which would endure and be fondly remembered was…Kramer Vs Kramer. I love the smell of dumbness in the Kodak.

According to the Academy the best 10 films of the Zeros were Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, The Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Hurt Locker.

Not Memento, Moulin Rouge!, The Two Towers, Master & Commander, The Bourne Supremacy, Good Night and Good Luck, Casino Royale, Atonement, The Dark Knight and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.

Or Amores Perros, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Rules of Attraction, X-2, Mean Girls, Brick, The Prestige, Zodiac, Hunger and Up in the Air.

We don’t need the Academy to tell us that Christoph Waltz gave a great performance in Inglourious Basterds. We don’t need the Academy’s nominations to help us tell the difference between a good blockbuster with commercial clichés and a bad Oscar-baiter with its own set of equally rigid (but more idiotic because they’re ‘edgy’) clichés (Little Miss Sunshine, I’m looking at you). Maggie Mayhem tells Bliss in Whip It “Be your own hero”. Follow her advice, trust your own instincts…

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4 Comments »

  1. Is the reference to The Private Lives of Pippa Lee some kind of in-joke? Or was it meant seriously? I’m confused.

    Comment by Flegmeister — March 15, 2010 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

    • Both actually. My list of alternatives is a mix of personal favourites that would never be in contention and films that could actually win Oscars for each of the years in question.

      Comment by fergalcasey — March 15, 2010 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  2. Errr, I think you missed the point Fergal. Live-blogging is fun! And people enjoy reading them. If people wanted to read a live-blog of a dog show, regardless of how pointless dog shows are, they should get what they want, no?

    Also, X2? Barely even deserves a nomination for best special effects, let alone best picture! Well, best make-up perhaps.

    Comment by David Neary — March 22, 2010 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

    • Errr, I think you’re missing the point David in focusing on the lead-in of a piece about the awful track-record of the Oscars. I thoroughly disagree with your point about live-blogging but it would need a whole new piece to properly explain why.

      X-2 was the best summer blockbuster of 2003. I included it as the sort of superior popcorn the Academy rarely considers.

      Comment by Fergal Casey — February 23, 2011 @ 5:39 pm | Reply


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