In honor of the Oscars being next weekend, I thought I’d get a head start on my analytical ranting.
5. Avatar’s non-technical nominations (2010)
I’m sorry. Avatar was a pretty film to look at (well, in theaters; even in HD it doesn’t hold up on TV whatsoever) and art direction and cinematography I’ll allow. Personally, I’m more a fan of filming things that exist in real life beautifully than creating a pretty digital forest of random alien crap, but that’s just me. Its directorial and Best Picture nominations, though? Really, Academy? It may have been pretty to look at. It may have been a thinly veiled fable about the environment and how humans are evil and other such things. But I’m sorry. Any picture that includes a character sitting in a giant robot suit and nonironically proclaiming to the aliens that they ought to “GET SOME!” should just not be nominated.
4. Jake Gyllenhaal losing Supporting Actor to George Clooney (2005)
Now, this is not because I have anything against George Clooney in particular. I’ve still not seen Syriana, not that I particularly want to, and I’m sure that he did a fine job in it, but Jake’s Brokeback Mountain performance broke my heart into 1032 pieces the first time and breaks those 1032 pieces into 1032 more pieces each every subsequent time. He’s one of my favorite things about that film, and his character is just so tragic while at the same time not being frustratingly mopey or anything. Rarely have I been so emotionally invested in a nominee and been disappointed.
3. Frances McDormand losing Supporting Actress to Marcia Gay Harden (2000)
This is much the same as the above, and although I wasn’t conscious of it at the time it happened, looking back it makes me sad beyond belief. As I’ve said before and will doubtlessly say again (I’m incapable of going more than 192 hours without mentioning it somewhere, somehow) Almost Famous is my favorite movie of all time, and Frances McDormand’s performance in it is sort of maddeningly brilliant. Though she was on the surface the Nagging Mom, she was so much more than that, complex and layered and intelligent and fascinating, and even when I wanted to hate her character I couldn’t, and I still thought she was performing remarkably into the bargain. And I’m sure Marcia Gay Harden did a nice job in Pollack (which I also haven’t seen) but in retrospect I just want Frances McDormand to have that Oscar, dammit.
2. the decision to have 10 Best Picture nominees instead of only 5
It’s nice that more films can get recognized, but the recent decision to include 10 Best Picture nominees just sort of means that everyone and their dog gets a nomination. I’d like to think, for one, that if there had only been 5, maybe we could have been spared Avatar‘s nomination and that of the equally preposterous (well, almost equally; nobody there exhorted someone else to “GET SOME”) District 9. Of course, it also means that the animated cuteness fest that is Up probably wouldn’t have been nominated, and it’s unlikely Toy Story 3 would have charted this year, either (though they can still win Best Animated, and deserve[d] to). But turning it into a veritable free-for-all just means that it takes something away from those who really are deserving.
1. Titanic winning Best Picture (1997)
Can you tell I don’t like James Cameron films? Because I don’t. I understand that Titanic was a cultural landmark. I love me some Kate Winslet and I’ve grown fond enough of Leo DiCaprio, too. The actual historical story is interesting enough. But really, it’s just a terrible, terrible movie. It’s a sappy melodrama coated in special effects. Sure, the period piece-iness of it is interesting for a little while, but then you realize that they’ve said each other’s names twenty times in the last ten seconds while wearing faces that are easily the most wooden they’ll ever sport in their careers. And it beat out my noir obsession L.A. Confidential, which is well-acted, well-written, well-directed, well-shot, well-themed… as far as I’m concerned, it’s sort of a perfect film, easily in my all-time top 10 both of “I know this is a flawless film” and “I love this movie so damn much.” Titanic is none of the aforementioned things.
–your fangirl heroine.