Thursday, January 22, 2009
Oscar Circle Jerk: Preliminary Notes on this Year's Nominees
My reactions to this year's Oscar nominations cannot help but be pedestrian, expected, and uninspired, because the nominations I am reacting to are so pedestrian, expected, and uninspired.
I guess I should know better, but it still seems deeply lame to me when the Academy creams itself about a prefab, by-the-numbers Oscar Nomination Product like Benjamin Button (or Frost/Nixon, for that matter). It’s too bad that Gran Torino, Rachel Getting Married, and even The Dark Knight (which I actually wasn’t a huge fan of) were shut out of the Best Picture category. Those films apparently didn’t follow the proper Oscar Nomination Product protocols(i.e., magical negroes, symbolic hummingbirds, etc.) (Hat tip to my friend over at Colonel Mortimer.)
Also, can we just accept that Brad Pitt was not that great in Benjamin Button? Keeping a laconic, expressionless face throughout a movie – half of which is spent as a Gollum-like CGI figment – is not great acting. Eastwood was robbed! And it may just be me, but I can’t help but feel that the nominations for both Pitt and Jolie are part of the industry-wide worship of these two pretty mediocre actors – the polysemous word in that sentence, of course, being “pretty”.
I am happy about Slumdog’s Best Picture nomination (though I wasn’t blown away by it). And I really should qualify my griping by noting that I haven’t yet seen Milk, or The Reader, which I hear are excellent. (For an excellent – and exhaustive – analysis of The Reader, check out the review posted by my good friend the Tonic Blotter.) So maybe I should keep my complaints to myself until I bother to see those last two films.
Finally, Man on Wire better not win for best documentary.