Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Dark Knight Snubbed (And Other Oscar Thoughts)

Well, there was no need to get our hopes up. Viewers will probably skip the Oscars again this year as the Academy just assured itself more record-low ratings. I was optimistic things would would be different this time and they'd go out on a limb for a change but after looking over the nominations, I've got just one question: How many votes does Ernest Borgnine get anyway? Now I'm by no means implying they should be nominating pictures based solely on commercial appeal or popularity but if you have a film that's a huge financial success AND one of the best reviewed in a weak year, wouldn't it just make sense to nominate it for the big prize?

While I don't think the snub of The Dark Knight ranks among the Academy's all-time worst offenses (at least in terms of the film's actual quality), it's still horrifying for what it says about them and their tastes. I heard a film critic (to use the term loosely in this case) remark earlier today that there's "something for everyone" in today's nominations. If by "something" he means Holocaust dramas about pedophiles and by "everyone" he's talking about 75 year-old Academy voters, then he'd be right.

As for my predictions I struck out badly (as I'm sure most did), showing too much faith that they'd finally adapt a more forward-looking vision. Instead they set us back about 50 years. I scored a little over 72% in guessing the eight major categories with "Adapted Screenplay" being the only category I completely nailed. Had I correctly anticipated their elitist mindset there would spill into all the other categories I would have fared a whole lot better. But that's irrelevant. I would have gladly gotten them all wrong if it meant them making the right choices.

Some random thoughts:

"Mark My words: Angelina Jolie's getting snubbed for Changeling." Oops. My bad.

-"They'll see Brad Pitt's performance in Benjamin Button as an achievement in visual effects more than anything else." Oops again.

-"The only other outside possibility is Revolutionary Road's Michael Shannon but his buzz has completely died out." Oops a third time.

-Not even Nolan for Best Director? Wow. Harsh.

-Milk nominated for Best Picture. Seriously? Milk?

-Bruce Springsteen fails to be nominated for Best Original song. WHAT????!!!!! This is low... even for them.

-Kate Winslet nominated for lead actress for The Reader, the film for which she won a Golden Globe for Best... SUPPORTING ACTRESS. Huh? Make up your minds.

-They do the right thing in nominating The Visitor's Richard Jenkins for Best Actor and In Bruges for Best Original Screenplay. But, honestly, who cares? Why should I "congratulate" them for recognizing obviously brilliant work? Their missteps today were far outweighed those two selections.

-While I'm thrilled one of my favorite filmmakers David Fincher now has "Oscar nominated director" in front of his name isn't it kind of disturbing the Academy chose to reward his worst received film? I haven't seen Button yet but I haven't met many who think it's a superior effort to The Game, Fight Club, Zodiac or even Se7en.

-It's a cake walk for Slumdog Millionaire. Why not just announce it as the winner now?

What an embarrassing day for the Academy. They had a chance to really shake things up and get people excited about movies again. On the bright side, at least we still get to make jokes about how snobbish and out of touch they are.

Relive the horror below.


d$mania said...

Gotta do a predictions show!

d$mania said...

My buddy Rob wants reviews of "The Reader" and
"Revolutionary Road", which he mentions at the end of the titanic podcast we just recorded.

jeremythecritic said...

It's crazy that I've seen so many movies yet there are tons I still need to catch. Those are two of many.

JD said...

It is really lackluster to say the say the least!!

Fred [The Wolf] said...

I stopped watching The Academy Awards a long time ago. I still hope Mickey Rourke wins for Best Actor. Not sure how the whole Wrestlemania deal with him versus Chris Jericho will sway the Academy. I hope that doesn't affect the fine work Rourke put into that role. And yeah, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE seems to be a lock for Best Picture. A pretty bland list this year. And they wonder why the ratings are so low.