Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gold Crush

I haven't seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, though I hear it's excellent, nor have I seen Amour, though I hear it's excellent as well and I admire Michael Haneke as a director. What I will say following the Oscar nominations announcement made just a little while ago, though, is that while I'm not against making sure that smaller movies get a shot at the gold -- you've gotta be fucking kidding me, right?

This year's Best Director category manages to pull off a pretty impressive feat, glaringly snubbing not one, not two, but three extraordinarily talented directors who all saw their films nominated for Best Picture. It's heresy that Kathryn Bigelow didn't get a nod, likewise for Quentin Tarantino and, from what I hear, Ben Affleck.

I got yelled at a little last year because I criticized the Academy's fawning over The Artist, a movie that I considered to be more a foreign film than anything else, but I admit now that I was kind of an ass about that. Amour, however, really is a foreign film -- entirely in French and directed by an Austrian, which, while certainly not precluding it from putting Haneke in the running for Best Director, should at least be taken into consideration when people like Bigelow and Tarantino are other possible contenders.

Beasts of the Southern Wild, meanwhile, I'm sure is every bit as good as they say. It's still directed by a 30-year-old and considering the subject matter, its elevation over so many others by the Academy -- and here's where the knives will come out -- smacks of the usual white liberal condescension Hollywood is too lacking in self-awareness to actually pride itself on. I'm absolutely all about seeing the little film that could do, but when it's always a sure thing that Harvey Weinstein's promotional machine and backroom politicking will win the day for at least one film -- this year it's Silver Linings Playbook -- and it's all but a guarantee that Spielberg will pick up a nom for a beloved historical epic what you're left with is a lot of deserving people having to fight it out.

It's true that not everyone will get a seat, but Jesus -- leaving Bigelow and Tarantino without one makes me wonder if I should start taking the Oscars about as seriously as I take the Grammys.

(Incidentally, I couldn't care less about Les Miz, but if you count the snubbing of Tom Hooper, then it's four talented directors who got screwed.)

1 comment:

Matt Schenk said...

I partially agree with you, but have to disagree on Django. I think that it falls well behind nearly all of QT's flicks as a whole. In fact, the only nomination they got right for the flick is for Waltz who was a standout.

But the first (and much more entertaining) half of Django feels like Quentin Tarantino's Blazing Saddles, which I don't mind. But the second half falls apart and goes into a blaxploitation western, and it really didn't do a whole lot for me. QT didn't deserve a nod for direction, and I really don't even think he deserved the nod for screenplay either.

That said, Bigelow and ESPECIALLY Affleck were robbed in the director categories. Argo remains my top film of the year, and I'm only about 4 films away from seeing 95% of the nominees in the big categories.

Argo is a film that works only with a director behind, and in FRONT of, the camera knowing how to balance three totally different tones in a movie at once and never feeling the shift. Not to mention someone with a strong knowledge of politics and history making sure to provide enough info to the audience without pandering.

I'm curious to see what I think of Silver Linings (one of the last big ones I need to check out for the year). Russel, despite his highly publicized douche-baggery, continues to make movies I find immensely watchable. But I have a hard time believing after finishing all of this year's movies that I'll agree with the director's nods. What can I say, I'm an Affleck apologist and I love a good comeback story.