23 January 2009

Thoughts On: The Oscar Noms

Loads of bitching going on around the Web. The Dark Knight was snubbed, except for the perfunctory Heath Ledger nomination. (Note: if Ceasar Romero is still alive--though I doubt he is somehow, and who has the strength to Wiki it?--he and Jack Nicholson should accept the statuette.)

Myself, I could care less for the Oscars. There was once a time that I cared a little, but even as a teenager the deformities in the system and the flaws in the broadcast were too severe to render the event worthwhile. 

My love of movies has reasserted itself over the past half decade to a fraction of what it once was, thanks mostly to the influence of my still open-minded wife. Any interest I may have once had in the awards or the show, even as spectacle, died a long time ago. When I was young and first started watching the Oscars, it was mostly a matter of guessing which Bertolucci or Merchant/Ivory film would win.

Sometimes, to change pace, a sloppily sentimental TV movies writ large, like Terms Of Endearment and Driving Miss Daisy, would remind us that schlock was still loved. In the nineties, even after Spike Lee, the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino and the rest of them had softened up the playing field and prepared the way for even better independent work to come, and with foreign cinema also ramping up in vitality, the Oscars decided we had all entered another grand age of glamour. They decided to echo the days of Ben Hur and The Greatest Show On Earth, which were bad enough in their day, and reward the so-called "epics" again. Modern, limp, obvious "epics": Braveheart, Shakespeare In Love, Titanic... Gladiator, my god.

At the same time, the Oscars continued their baffling streak of being the lamest, most unaware broadcast possible in an age or irony and ten year olds that have seen more movies than their grandparents.