by Toby Woollaston
It’s Oscar time! Normally this gets my cinematic juices flowing but this years awards seem to highlight an increasing trend. A bad trend, that gnaws at the rotting flesh of Hollywood’s carcass. I think the older I get, the more cynical I am toward the Academy. Is it me or is the Academy’s vote in recent times become increasingly pulled in different directions? Quality, sentiment, popularity, and the industry dollar all seem to vie for the voters attention. Did Christopher Plummer really win the best supporting actor for his role in Beginners, or was it a sentimental nod towards his life’s achievement as an actor? The boundaries aren’t clear, and as such mimics the art it is trying to award. You also have to bear in mind that most of the voting Academy are conservative. Very conservative, male, white, and over 50 (like I will be in ten years … yikes!) That said, I think the problem really lies at the nomination stage. Jessica Chastain nominated for her role in The Help rather than The Tree of Life. Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling ignored. Hmmm … I’m not too sure how the nominees are selected but the system seems to be flawed. When films such as Melancholia are snubbed because of political reasons, it tells me that the Academy has lost sight of what art is. I look at the best picture nominations and see Warhorse, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, among other questionable nominees and I despair. Where are the likes of Melancholia, Shame, Drive, and We Need to Talk About Kevin? These are glaring omissions … ask any film critic worth their weight and I’m sure they’d agree. At least there are other awards and critics that level the field somewhat and give a semblance of correct balance.
By the way, congratulations must go to The Artist and Mechel Hazanavicius for the Oscar nod. It could’ve been so much worse.