(I know, it’s Thursday, and your tolerance for Oscar discussion was likely exhausted by Tuesday morning. But I’m still detoxing, so just let me get this out of my system.)
It used to be like Christmas, except it lasted even longer. From Thanksgiving or so all the way into late February, or even March, it was Oscar, Oscar, Oscar. Before there was internet, there were splashy articles in Entertainment Weekly. Interviews with the nominees, predictions of who would win… I was removed from it all. Just a spectator.
But every year I learn a little more about how it all really happens.
Well, I finally saw Django Unchained, and where to begin? I avoided it for quite some time because it seemed most everyone had already seen it, and a Tarantino film is not a thing I like to embark on alone. For one, I’d heard about the over-the-top violence, which seemed like a thing best taken in with a friend or loved one; also, Tarantino films tend to prompt a good debate — I fondly remember a two-hour post-Kill Bill Vol. 2 discussion at a Brazilian restaurant with two compadres.
Django Unchained is no different. In fact, it’s hardly a departure for Tarantino, but rather nestled right at home between the nods toward blaxploitation of early works like Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, the genre mish-mash of the Kill Bill movies, and the revisionist history of Ingloruious Basterds. It’s maybe the most Tarantino movie of them all.
In what world is Argo a better movie than Zero Dark Thirty?
This isn’t a response to Ben Affleck’s Golden Globes win for Best Director and Argo’s triumph as Best Drama. The Globes are the Globes, and they can only be taken so seriously. Avatar, The Descendants, Babel, and plenty of other films have proven that the Golden Globes’ pick is rarely the best movie of the year, either in actuality or in the eyes of Oscar.
This also isn’t really about Ben Affleck’s suspense drama not being a good movie, because it is. Let me emphasize that. A good movie. Good… fine, entertaining. It’ll do.
And it’s not even about Kathryn Bigelow’s shocking snub as a Best Director nominee, because Ben Affleck received an almost-as-shocking snub for the same award.
As a film school graduate, I’m afraid I have an obligation to take entertainment way too seriously. That’s why, when awards season rolls around, I can’t help but partake in the senseless, arbitrary, and totally nerdy critic’s pastime of ranking all the films I saw and compiling a Top Ten List.
And since 2011′s award season has already come and gone (catch “Best Of Film 2011″ for more on that), why not retroactively look back at movies from other years that were just as good?
Since my live blog of the Golden Globes this year was surprisingly popular (really, I didn’t think anyone would care what I have to say), I am again live-blogging and tweeting up a storm for the Academy Awards this evening.
Though so many of us take the Oscars very seriously (guilty as charged), really, it’s just a game. It’s no different than the Super Bowl, except there are about five teams playing in every “quarter” and it’s actually quite embarrassing to be wearing the same outfit as anyone else. No jerseys on the red carpet.
Naturally, I was on Team Shame until it was not-too-shockingly nominated for nothing. That happens a lot in sports — your team doesn’t make it to the playoffs. Whatever. You pick another horse and bet on that one instead. (I’m almost done mixing sports metaphors, I swear.)
(Yes, yes. The “if” in that title should almost certainly be “when.”)
From the moment the Oscar nominations were announced last month, it was already a foregone conclusion: The Artist is the year’s Best Picture winner. It has been since mid-December, before it was even released in most major American cities.
Some seasons, the Academy Awards have a bit of suspense leading up to the Best Picture winner. These days, though, there’s so much up-to-the-minute coverage that it’s hard to pack much of a surprise when it comes down to it. It can lead us to a feeling that the telecast itself is underwhelming — as it sometimes is. Last year’s biggest Oscar “surprise” was just how wretched Anne Hathaway and James Franco were as hosts.