Sunday, February 24, 2008
Are the Oscars a Drag?
As it is Oscar Sunday, and no, I will not be watching (see previous blog, why), I found this Times article most apropos. The best bit per moi,
"The system is not exactly winner-take-all, but it does leave behind a distressingly high number of designated losers, among them some of the most interesting and daring films of the year. It should not make a difference that, say, “Into the Wild,” “Starting Out in the Evening” and “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” are barely represented in the Oscar sweepstakes. Your list of glaring omissions may be different, but if you’re among the passionate admirers of “Lust, Caution” or “We Own the Night” or “3:10 to Yuma,” you are similarly stuck savoring the sour grapes of your own good taste.
In the past it was frequently safe to assume that any relationship between the Oscars and artistic quality was coincidental. The academy was never supposed to be hip, daring or responsive to what was newest and most risky in the world of cinema. It was just what its name implied: the mainstream, the establishment, the old guard. Sometimes, yes, the best picture prize would actually go to the best picture, but more often the academy’s neglect of a film was a reliable index of its merit. The good judgment not only of critics but, more important, of independent-minded, adventurous moviegoers has traditionally been measured by its distance from the consensus of the movie industry.
And that, it should not be forgotten, is what the Academy Awards represent: the self-assessment of a self-interested, self-involved professional clique. It can be argued that, over the past decade or so, this roughly 6,000-member club has become more discerning, more willing to confer its blessings on quasi-independent, medium-budget films instead of the lumbering, middlebrow prestige productions it used to favor. Nowadays the main divisions of the studios — Columbia, Paramount, Universal and the rest — specialize in big-ticket entertainment aimed at a global audience. Their art-house subdivisions — the Miramaxes, Searchlights and Vantages — have taken over the business of supplementing cash with cachet."
Bravo, A. A. Scott! Bravo! This was the most intelligent thing I read today. And the winning sentence would have to be: "...if you’re among the passionate admirers of “Lust, Caution” or “We Own the Night” or “3:10 to Yuma,” you are similarly stuck savoring the sour grapes of your own good taste."
Read full article here.
graph per ny times