February 2, 2010


Let us take a moment to consider 2010's Academy Award Nominations. It is the hip thing to do. First off, know that I am a shameless whore for the Oscars. I love the Academy Awards. Many film majors will not admit to this. Why? I do not know. I watch them every year, usually whilst drunk and eating copious amounts of Thai food. By the Best Director announcements, I am shouting obscenities at the television. I was raised watching the whole ceremony, and have very specific memories based on the experience. I could probably recite Julia Robert's Oscar acceptance speech. Some may remember my rabid tirades following Children of Men's cinematography snub at the 79th Academy Awards (2007), or my projectile vomiting following Crash's best picture win at the 78th. I suppose I was raised to believe in the Oscars the same way some kids were raised to believe in God, and every time someone shows me a absolute fucking Oscar flub i tend to react the same way the Christian Right does when you show them a Neanderthal skeleton. The Passion of the Christ nominated for three Oscars? No! NO! It can't be true! How dare you?! It's faked! It's all faked!

Nowadays I consider myself Oscar-agnostic. I am not yet ready to accuse it of complete meaninglessness, because it still obviously means a lot to a lot of people who work in the industry. This might have to do with the box office cash prize and the place on the movie rental shelf of history. Or it may just be, to this day, the most reverently spoken of award given Hollywood nonsense. The Oscars. This being said, given all of the Neanderthal skeletons I've been shown in the last decade, I can't believe that the Academy is all-knowing, all-correct, or all-good. I accept that it is a political and industry-savvy award's show, motivated to award prizes by more than just the pure artistic accomplishment of film-makers and actors. Heaven forbid such a thing exist. There is also the Razzies to be considered, which may be the best thing about the Academy Awards. I don't watch them, but their presence makes me believe that somewhere in the heart of hearts of the Academy members, there lies a little speck of truly bitter, snobbish, film-y criticism and vindictiveness, and that fills me with hope. Maybe they aren't as bought out and skid-greased as we in the film studies arena sometimes accuse them of being. Or they are, and the Razzies are a twisted little consolation prize to all the Paul Thomas Anderson shippers out there.

I guess this is all a roundabout way of saying that I care despite myself. The Oscars is the film community what the Superbowl is to football fans, whether we like it or not. We huddle around our television sets, mocking and fuming, secretly relishing the thought that someday, someday, we could be that awkward Japanese kid saying, "Domo arigato Mr. Roboto" to millions of anonymous voyeurs. So understand me when I say that this year's Academy Awards are the Darwin to our Bible. Is it all over? It might be. I submit, for your consideration, one of the ten (ten) Academy Award nominees for Best Picture of 2009:

What. The. Fuck. Yes, I said this was the Superbowl of the film world. BUT. BUT. It was meant as a analogy. I was being cute and comparison-y. I was not intending it to mean that the Superbowl and the Academy Awards should come together to form some kind of mutilated television abomination meant to please both football fans and Michel Gondry fans. No. That is not what I meant. To be clear, I don't care if Sandra Bullock was nominated for Best Actress. That's fine. Sometimes good actors and actresses get lost on film lots, wander into the wrong sound stages, and accidentally turn out great performances in bad movies. They should be rewarded for managing to keep it together while delivering lines that would turn most performers in Hayden Christensen.

Example: "You love me? I thought we had decided not to fall in love. That we'd be forced to live a lie and it would destroy our lives."
Example 2 (for good measure): "One day I will be the greatest Jedi EVER. I will even learn how to stop people from dying!"

Okay, so that was mostly an excuse to revel in the awesome badness of George Lucas' screenwriting. If Hayden had pulled off those lines, I would have personally handed him an Oscar. And then slapped him. Anyway. The Blind Side. This is a movie about white people who learn how to be better white people by adopting an emotionally traumatized, physically abused black kid. It is not about the black kid, or what he has been through. It is a movie about white people. He is the magical dog/retarded child/dolphin who teaches bored, emotionally stifled white people how to love. Yes, people. The artistic equivalent to Marley and Me is up for a best picture Oscar. It's Simple Jack starring Sandra Bullock. It's frickin' Pumpkin. It's Crash, but with football. Are we surprised? Probably not. It's the missing link, and Christianity is fucked.

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