You’ve probably read 20 Oscar articles this year by now but at least this is my first!
I will say before I start that I am not this site’s awards guru, that would be one Bradley Porter who goes into great depth about the many ceremonies which make up the awards season as part of his “Aisle Say!” columns, but in an effort to offer just a little bit different a voice on the nominations handed out earlier this week, I’ve got just a few things to say about my personal pluses and minuses from this year’s crop.
1. The Artist is going to win Best Picture – This isn’t even a debate.
The Artist has been a bit of a critical darling for getting on for a year after its initial splash at the Cannes Film Festival back in May last year. The film connected with more than enough people there and has remained in the conversation all along with it playing a wide variety of festivals and maintaining favourable reactions from audiences all the way up until its public releases in the UK, US and many other countries at the tail end of last year.
All the talk has been about The Artist and despite some films coming along and making an initial splash, most have faded from the talk of just what will win. The battle seems to come down between The Descendants, Hugo and The Artist when looking at most Oscar predictions but I just can’t see how those other 2 films will manage to overcome the sheer force of goodwill offered to The Artist (though if Uggie the dog in the film was found to be sniffing coke of prostitutes bare arses I suppose this could change…).
2. Unless you’re Terence Malick, or in black and white, your convention-breaking film won’t make it.
I was personally a little surprised to see Malick’s The Tree of Life get in the top two categories but when you consider how the Academy likes to celebrate legends while also managing to appear a higher brow bunch, this becomes less of a shock. Malick sees his film up for Picture and Director and while it won’t have a snowball in hell’s chance of getting a win, it also goes to show that the perceived wisdom that your film has to be released at the tail-end of the year is just not the case, with both this and Midnight In Paris managing to get in both categories despite both having been released on the big screen last Summer.
However, if you’re a hot talent starring in a NC17 prospect or try to combine the arthouse with a mainstream genre thriller, you’re out of luck. We can moan all we want about Drive or Shame not being considered for anything but one category between them but it’s an age old example of a body which despite the addition of Rooney Mara and Russell Brand to their ranks remains a group of older people who want to retain an image of so-called legitimacy and so don’t want to bait by considering Michael Fassbender, Albert Brooks, Steve McQueen or Nicolas Winding Refn, who won Best Director at Cannes for their work. Hell, throw in Kirsten Dunst who did the best work of her career in the also Cannes winning performance in Melancholia. The Academy will also look to the somewhat safe while still trying to look of the now and in that see the noms for The Tree of Life and Moneyball in particular.
3. Hollywood royalty will win out. Most of the time.
Brad Pitt gets 2 nominations (Actor, Film), George Clooney gets 2 too (Actor, Adapted Screenplay). Meryl Streep and Glenn Close get noms for what are apparently less than stellar films, but get in thanks to status and improving middling efforts. I’m not begrudging any of these, but it’s hard for anyone else to get a look in, the only notable ones being Janet McTeer, Berenice Bejo and Jean DuJardin, the last of whom has the best chance of getting some glory on the night. Overall, the Oscars is an industry party to which we are invited to watch and revel in the extravagance and so the big names will crop up and I think sometimes it’s hard for people to remember that this isn’t a ceremony for the critic or the casual observer. This is a process for the industry, by the industry, which happens to have the benefit of adding to a star’s quote and improving Box Office or ancillary numbers.
4.It’s not all bad!
It’s very easy to complain, hey I just did for a few hundred words there really but let’s look at what I think are the positives.
Jonah Hill is an Oscar nominee.
Cars 2 is not an Oscar nominated film.
Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow will be involved old man fisticuffs for an Oscar.
Hugo got ELEVEN nominations.
George Clooney could well make a brilliant speech which will make us all fall for him just that little bit more.
A Muppet will hopefully perform at the Oscars.
At least one Lisbeth got an Oscar nomination.
We’ve got some wild cards in the mix, with Demian Bichir’s performance in A Better Life, a film I am honestly entirely ignorant of and Melissa McCarthy’s Bridesmaids roles both getting mentions and the screenplays for A Separation and the aforementioned Bridesmaids shaking things up just a bit.
Gary Oldman is FINALLY going to get a shot at winning an Oscar.
And those are just factors off the top of my head. The Academy Awards engendered much hate and bile but there are always nuggets of gold, and there’s enough here to keep me sated for another year.
We will hopefully be having Bradley on the forthcoming 35mm Heroes to have more awards talk and look out for his articles in the build up to the Oscars, but that’s it from me for now.