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January 31, 2010

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Lou Lumenick

Glenn, I think you're absolutely correct about the split at the top. "Brokeback Mountain'' won both the PGA and DGA awards, as well as the Best Director Oscar. But Best Picture went to "Crash.''

The Siren

So, describe this tuxedo of yours. Single breasted or double? Shawl or peaked collar? Grosgrain or satin lapels? And the shirt? studs & cufflinks?

Owain Wilson

I find it hard to argue with your predictions, Glenn. A very entertaining and, since you've seen more than I have, informative piece.

Despite all good sense, I do love the Academy Awards but I am getting a bit bored with the way they roll out the same shit every year. It's always tiny movies nobody has ever seen, or prestigious films which belong to the special genre 'Oscar Worthy' and are always perfectly watchable at best. Boring!

I'd love to press a 'reset' button on the Academy Awards. I'd place a total ban on Oscar campaigns of any kind. The slightest whiff of a campaign and your movie gets disqualified. Members would receive a list of films released in the last calendar year and would then be asked to pick their favourites. This would hopefully reduce the production of the Oscar Worthies.

I'd also get the CIA to de-brainwash the Academy from only nominating tiny movies nobody has ever seen and the Oscar Worthies. Why are these people so afraid to vote for something they loved? If they love Anchorman, why won't they nominate it? If they love District 9, why won't they nominate it?

I'm dreaming of course. The Academy Awards is well and truly stuck in the mud and nothing on earth will ever pull it out. Nevertheless, this Welsh boy will be staying up until 6am with his pals watching it through the early hours, heckling the screen and loving every second of it.

Tom Russell

Owain,

I agree with some of your points-- I, too, would love to see the Oscarbrow picture dead and buried; you're exactly right that they're "always perfectly watchable at best". I wish the Oscars would embrace more idiosyncratic entertainments-- my fingers are crossed for Basterds, myself.

But I'm confused by your "tiny movies nobody has ever seen" remark. Is this some kind of joke? I can't even think of one film nominated in a major category that was a tiny little scrapper that somehow wormed their way into the consciousness of the Academy, not a single film in, oh, the last twenty years or so, and that's a conservative estimate at best. Could you supply a few examples?

The other thing, though, is that if tiny movies nobody has ever seen truly were nominated, I would be parting ways with you on the idea that this is a bad thing-- that obscure films are somehow less worthy of being promoted through Oscar wins than films that have already penetrated the public conscious and don't need the Oscar boost. The underlying notion being that films that are box office hits are totes awesome, but that smaller, lesser-seen films deserve to stay small and unwatched. I don't get that line of reasoning, at all-- but maybe I misread or misinterpreted your argument, and if I have, I do apologize. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Owain Wilson

Tom,

You are both right and wrong in your assessment of my 'tiny movies' comment. In other words, I was shooting my mouth off and generalising a little.

By Tiny Movie No One Has Seen I don't mean literally obscure. I mean those 'little engine that could' films which are all over the media but the theatres are deserted. These are usually Oscar Worthies too, only tiny. Tiny Movies which get nominated are usually just as shrug-inducing as the big Oscar Worthies. It seems to me that everyone gets so pleased with themselves for discovering a nice Tiny Movie that they champion it all out of proportion.

To clarify, I'm not saying that all Best Picture nominations of the last 15 years have been bad, far from it, but 80% of them have been either The Reader or The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Does anybody really love these films? I've yet to meet anyone who does.

Zach

Not a bad list of nom-prognostications, Glenn. My initial reaction to this piece was along the line of "For the love of Pete, has it really come to conjecture about not only the winners but the nominations???", but then I calmed down a bit and realized that, as a field, the nominations are usually much more interesting than the actual winners.

As for my own preferences/speculations - I too would like to see some more love for Bright Star, and although I don't think it's the best pic of the year, Abbie Cornish does deserve Best Actress.

Best pic and director should both go to James Gray for Two Lovers. It's a crime that there isn't more praise for this movie - I know, it was released too early in the year, didn't set the world on fire with box office receipts, etc. But still, in a perfect world, there would be more recognition of how marvelously in control of his craft Mr. Gray is.

Mike D

Ten nominees. I have this dreadful nightmare where "The Hangover" gets nominated and I reach for a trash barrel, but it is not there.

I awake in terror.

Brian

Great piece, Glenn, and best of luck scoring a nomination! Riffing on Owain's comment, " Why are these people so afraid to vote for something they loved? If they love Anchorman, why won't they nominate it? If they love District 9, why won't they nominate it?", I have to ask-- why DIDN'T the Academy nominate Downey, Jr., for IRON MAN? It was a sharp, funny performance, as much a star turn as anything Clooney's done (and that's not a knock on Clooney, whose work I often love and usually at least admire); it did a good job of translating a relatively obscure comic book character intact to the screen (for those folks who care about such things, like, um, me) while also making him interesting for folks who'd never read an issue; and it had that built-in sentimentality of being a comeback role for an actor many certainly seem to admire in Hollywood. Is it the comic book thing? And if that still has a stigma, why does it not seem to affect AVATAR and other sci-fi, "pulpy" narratives that draw on similar sources for inspiration?

christian

Sam Rockwell should be nominated for MOON. I man, come on.

James Keepnews

In re: Vera Farmiga, Mr. Kenny asserts: "...there's this feeling, possibly unfounded, sure, that the actress herself puts on airs. Is that fair, especially considering Mo'nique? No. But life isn't fair."

Agreed on the summation, but not on the wind-up. Or does my infatuation with the feriously talented and very much not unfetching Ms. Farmiga cloud my judgement? If anything, any interview I've read with her makes her sound like so very much not a diva. Which possibly unfounded airs do you refer to?

Back in my regular film reviewing days at Metroland in Albany, we were given categores during Oscar season that included "who will win", "who should win," "who should have been nominated" etc., so both the critic's deepest pools of cynicism and wishful thinking could both be honored. Thus, I could indulge in gut moves like wagering that Juliette Binoche would win for The English Patient, because the Dances-with-Bravehearts in the line-ups sweep many a year, AND pointing out that Gary Farmer should have been nominated for Dead Man, because, obviously, his performance was most deserving. Win, win.

Dan

I'm pulling hard for Bigelow (or Campion) to win for two reasons:

1) Because I loved "The Hurt Locker" and feel she's an underappreciated director.

2) Because it will silence, at least this year, all those goddamn opinion columns bemoaning the lack of women in directing, as if this was something that should be the subject of affirmative action and if it were totally out of their control. You want more female directors? Go out and buy tickets to their movies, for God's sake, and stop demanding they be women first and artists second.

Glenn Kenny

@ James, I was thinking of Lynn Hirschfeld's New York TImes Magazine cover story which, Farmiga's own quotes notwithstanding, seemed to WANT to make a diva out of her...

Mayo A.

The Hurt Locker and Bigelow should win the Oscar....

Fuzzy Bastarrd

Part of why I'm rooting for Bigelow is that The Hurt Locker is such a powerful demonstration of what a director brings to a picture. I mean, the script is notable mostly for its minimalism, and the acting follows suit. What makes it a great movie is almost entirely the directing---where the camera's placed, what's emphasized in the scenes, how the shots cut together, y'know, movie directing stuff. Too often the Academy---and most critics---confuse the director with the writer, but this is a movie where it really is the director doing the heavy lifting.

Thomas

"This year, though, I feel particularly confident about predicting both nominations and wins, because I don't think anybody deserves it." My sentiments exactly. Only half kidding. "A Serious Man" and "A Bright Star" won't get the nominations they deserve, and "Moon" will not show up at all.

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