The Oscars

Yesterday morning I tweeted about the Oscars ceremony. I said:

quite disappointed by what the academy chose for their winners. Seems a little fixed to me. Like it was Kate Winslet’s turn or something.

I would like to elaborate on this for my blog post this week.  Some people agreed with what I said and others would rather me not take a stab at the very highly regarded (if not biggest, annual) ceremony in the world.  I know it has probably been said before, but I am not on my own in thinking that it’s probably true.  This statistic alone it enough to make me wonder: 8 out of the 9 categories that Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for, it won.  Slumdog Millionaire was an awesome film, with a very unique way of telling its story, and with quite a unique story, it deserved to have some sort of recognition.  But, out of the literally hundreds of films that are released each year globally, was Slumdog Millionaire the best at 8 of those categories? I seriously doubt that.  Also, as a quick note here, if the Oscars are fixed, how comes they don’t share the winners out?  For example Frost/Nixon in my opinion is a must see for people of my generation (and hence Oscar worthy).  They weren’t around at the time that the events described in the film, and as far as historical documentaries go, this one is spot on, and almost essential for anyone interested in world politics (e.g. the recent historical American election).  As it turns out Frost/Nixon didn’t win anything.

My personal favourite film of last year was The Dark Knight.  Rarely are we presented with blockbuster films that have not just amazing visual affects but an amazing storyline associated with it.  It was even compared to the Godfather II film, which is a widely critically acclaimed movie – think about that for a second – a super hero movie has been compared to be of a similar standard as Godfather II. That’s some feat by any film’s standard. Yet, the only academy awards that were given were the obligatory Best Supporting Actor award to Heath Ledger (which he deserved anyway) and for Sound Editing.  I think it’s more the fact I was expecting a bit more for the film, and is probably biased, but there is no way that Slumdog is really better than the Dark Knight in all of those categories.  Here is an article that is quite interesting and shares my thoughts.

I’ve also read similar articles online about why animated films like WALL-E are only entered into (or rather are only expected to win) one category.  WALL-E was one of the best films of last year, yet it’s only ever expected to win its Best Animated Film category because it’s animated, rather than for it’s content (which seems like it’s being awarded for technical achievement).  It upsets me because I believe that most PIXAR films (with the exception of Finding Nemo – sorry but that film sucks) have always got a message that is higher than most people actually pick up on.  WALL-E in particular was taking a nod at a) the obesity problem of the western world, b) global warming, c) the fact that we have no real effective waste management set up anywhere on the earth.  Yes, the particular events of WALL-E haven’t been realised yet, but PIXAR have projected what might happen.  I like this.  It’s original, it’s fresh, incredibly creative and deserves credit, but Slumdog took it all.

Moving on to Kate Winslet – well that’s a bit shallow for me to say, because I haven’t seen either Revolutionary Road or The Reader (but my parents tell me that The Reader is hardly her story – it follows a male through a life story rather than her – she seems more of a support actress), but I have seen her other performances – notably her role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where she was completely different to the likes of Titanic, in which she played another (probably Oscar-worthy) role.  It really feels like the Academy have awarded her not necessarily for her outstanding performance in the roles she acted for but rather because it was her turn to win an Oscar.  And that makes the whole ceremony farcical.  (I tried to find a very unconvincing gushing interview from Kate speaking to BBC Breakfast News but I can’t find it).

The only winner that made me think that maybe they weren’t fixed was the fact that Sean Penn won the Oscar for best actor over Mickey Rourke for his amazing performance in The Wrestler.  Unfortunately, and I hate to be pessimistic, but I think that might have been his last shot at Academy Acclamation.

It summary, I think Oscars are losing their worth just by the pure corruptness that seems not only apparent to me, but to other people too.  I guess what you should take away from this is to never judge a film by it’s poster, ignore reviews until you’ve seen the film so you have chance to make up your own mind about it, and then see which news/review coroporations are taking back handers to promote films.  Reviews can have a degrading affect on a films success that might otherwise be a film you might enjoy – and what’s more important? What people think of the things that you’re into, or your own self pleasure? I know what mine is.


~ by shepherdnick on February 24, 2009.

4 Responses to “The Oscars”

  1. I can completely see where your argument is coming from, and I don’t think it really stops (starts) with the Oscars. I think a few award ceremonies (BAFTA) are guilty of the same.

    Slumdog was a fantastic, and I believe I called it, an Incredible film. But your right, worthy of all of those awards, not by a long shot. And, not to mention the fact that it just got in there! I am struggling to remember many films from last year, but like you, Dark Knight was one of my favs, but sound editing!?! Sorry I must have missed that, since I was busy being blown away by the special effects, incredible story, the acting and one of the best adaptations of a comic book character/world I’ve ever seen.

    Kate Winslett is a great actress, and I too haven’t seen her latest films, but yes she was AMAZING in Eternal Sunshine, no award then though?

    I’d like to think it’s not true, I thoroughly enjoy film and tv, and believe actors should be rewarded for their hardwork. Perhaps it’s too political, and too controversial now? Maybe Dark Knight was overlooked due to Christan Bales recent behavior? And other such factors. Who’s to say, but you really do raise a very, very, good point.

    As with any good franchise or business, the key is to keep your employees happy. If actors/directors/writers don’t feel they are getting the credit they deserve, why will they bother to make films? Or to continue to make the type of films they want to? That will lead to a very sad day in the movie industry, when all we will see is Big Budget plotless action “Thrillers”, More Scary/Not Another/This is the funniest/ fart gag, over punned, and over explained dull “comedy”, and the genric lifeless and soulless pieces of film, that make you wish you had paid your mate that £5 you spent on the movie ticket, to electrocute you on the nipples and nether regions with a car battery stolen from his dads front garden, instead of wasting two hours of your life watching tripe.

    Please Oscar, don’t take away our Art.

  2. “I know it has probably been said before, but I am not on my own in thinking that it’s probably true. ”

    You’re not wrong there, I was watching an interview with Kate Winslet the other month, before all these awards ceremonies. They were asking her how she feels about being nominated for all these awards and she basically said she didn’t have her hopes up because she had in the past after winning one before, and basically just said that that time it must have been just her turn, and other times it was someone else’s turn. Unfortunately I can’t find links to this, so my anecdata will have to do 🙂

    I think WALL-E did the whole “look after your planet” moral story way better than the remake of that film Keanu McPlank-O-Wood was in 🙂 It should have won way more awards, I certainly WTF’d at Benjamin Button winning for visual effects, when it was up against the likes of The Dark Knight…

  3. I certainly agree with a lot of your arguments – it does feel like these things are always rigged in some way. How handy that the biggest prize winners are still all at the box office, so lots of people can rush and see them and make the movie industry a lot of money.

    As for Wall-E, it was nominated for 6 awards, but only won one: Best Animated Feature – and you can’t help feeling that’s all it ever *could* feel, simply because it’s animated. But it should be penalised for the medium it uses to tell the story. I think one of the biggest outrages was that Ben Burtt didn’t win the oscar for Sound and Sound Effects Editing – can you think of any other film in which roughly *half of the entire film* was carried not by speech but by sound effects? Or in which the two main characters just communicate with sounds (not really speech), yet manage to convey so much feeling and emotion? As much as we all like The Dark Knight, I would say it has fairly generic blockbuster/superhero sound. Wall-E was something else altogether.

    Maybe we should have our own film awards? 🙂

  4. OUr own film awards sounds like a fantastic idea! Find the catagories, and then all nominate ones we think should be contenders for them, and then, vote 😀

    Could be a lot of fun!

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