Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Love and Hate

I am so having the above relationship with the Oscars.

I always think "What would I do if I were an Academy voter?" when the season comes around. And it is for this reason that I constantly really hate the Academy Awards. Every year they get so much wrong, even when they are getting some things right.

I was in shock in 2007 when they managed to award what I thought were the best (or close to) in each category.
Tilda Swinton, Javier Bardem, Marion Cotillard, Daniel Day Lewis, The Coen brothers x 2 and Diablo Cody all went home with an award and I could not deny any of them, based on the performances given. But that is indeed extremely rare - I can barely remember when it has happened before.

Now of course it could just be my opinion that casts this fog over ever Oscar year.
Just because what I think is the best hasn't won should not mean me going into a little sulk.
Yet that is exactly what I am doing right now.
I have hardly posted on the blog. I have not even gotten close to doing the MAFFE awards, and I really do not care.
What fuels this Oscar depression is reading the constant bloggers going on and on about the 'Avatar' vs 'The Hurt Locker' scandal. Apparently emails have been sent and everyone is up in a tizzy.
Who cares?
Well I care.
The Academy Awards want to be the gold medal of the movie year, and in fact they are.
However they constantly embarrass themselves by nominating films and performances that are many times less than great.
Did they not see Tilda Swinton in 'Julia' this year? *
Or more disturbingly, did they honestly think Sandra Bullock gave a more impressive performance than Swinton?
When the presenters come out, do they not say "The nominees for best performance by an Actress in a leading role are.."? Perhaps they should change it to "The people you have decided to include in the Best Actress category are...". At least it would be honest and not make a mockery of the craft of acting.
Did Bullock really give the best performance by an Actress in a leading role for 'The Blind Side'?
Not by a long shot.
Did she give the best performance of the nominated five? I would have to say no, yet she will still likely win the award.
Why?
Mainly because people think she is due, they want to reward her for her career. Funny, as one of the highest paid actresses working today I would think the gazillions of dollars are reward enough for her career.
It is not like she has been an awards bait actress before. Her nomination is mainly due to the fact her film was a hit, and the fact her performance was a good (not great) one, adds to this need to give her an Oscar.
This is a constant with the actress categories - which is rather depressing.
You are rewarded for being due, popular, sexy, making yourself physically unattractive for the performance and sometimes, very rarely, for giving the best performance of the year.
When that happens, it is usually because no one can deny the performance - this is something that only comes along once or twice in a decade.

This year it is Mo'Nique for 'Precious'.
She is winning an Oscar because no one can possibly deny the performance.

But what about 'Best performance by an Actress in a leading role'?
Well there are only really two nominees who are there solely because of the strength of their performance - Carey Mulligan for 'An Education' and Gabourey Sidibe for 'Precious'.
Meryl Streep is here because she is the greatest living actress and is still turning out wonderful work. The performance is great, but on a Meryl scale it is merely a good one.
Helen Mirren is here because she is another actress who has managed to stay on top of her game for many years, plus she is great in the film, even if she can do that in her sleep.
And we know why Bullock is here.
Yet when these members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences come to vote, most of them will not do so based on the performance. And they wonder why, as an institution, they are losing respect with the public. And they wonder why their ratings are so low.
Treat the voting power you have with the respect you feel your craft deserves! How else will the younger generation know what to strive for if they think Bullock gave the greatest female performance by a lead actress in 2009?
They will strive for mediocrity.

Of course I will be watching the awards. I want to see Mo'Nique come out victorious more than anything.
It will break my heart to see Gabby again ignored, but here is hoping she gets the Spirit Award the night before.

And in case anyone was wondering, my own personal ballot would look like this:
Best Picture - “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Actor in a Leading Role - Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Actor in a Supporting Role - Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”
Actress in a Leading Role - Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Actress in a Supporting Role - Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Animated Feature Film - “Up”
Art Direction - “Avatar”
Cinematography - “The White Ribbon”
Costume Design - “Bright Star”
Directing - “Inglourious Basterds” - Quentin Tarantino
Documentary (Feature) - “The Cove” Nominees to be determined
Film Editing - “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
Foreign Language Film - “The White Ribbon”
Makeup - “The Young Victoria”
Music (Original Score) - “Up” Michael Giacchino
Music (Original Song) - “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart”
Short Film (Animated) - “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park
Sound Editing - “Avatar”
Sound Mixing - “The Hurt Locker”
Visual Effects - “District 9”
Writing (Adapted Screenplay) - “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Writing (Original Screenplay) - “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino


* To be a member of the Academy you really should have seen every film and performance of note for the year.

1 comment:

Alex in Movieland said...

what I'd vote for and my favorites are two different things :) I prefer Precious, but I'd strategically put The Hurt Locker at no. 1.

I prefer Carey, but I'd give my vote to Meryl, because it's a 2 horse race... and so on :)