Sunday, February 26, 2012


How ironic that the GOP so intensely hates Hollywood.

I mean, the two entities are essentially the same.

True, the GOP may be conservative and Hollywood is largely liberal, but both are almost entirely driven by wealthy, aging white men who believe that money can buy anything - political elections or movie awards.

Both have been "corrupted by money," to quote "Curb Your Enthisiasm's" Gavin Polone in his astute "Oscar Farce" essay written for New York magazine (January 30). The whole process has become so cynical that the Oscarcast isn't even "kitschy fun" (Polone's words again) anymore.

Fact is, the show is now upstaged by the Red Carpet foolishness that precedes it. Don't get me started!

This handily explains why something as middle-brow as "The King's Speech" won over the bracing and exhilarating "The Social Network" last year - and why, in the throes of misguided love, the Academy members always fawn over the latest "It" person, predictably ignoring an industry vet who has paid his/her dues. Roberto Benigni, anyone?

Yeah, predictable is the word. Personally, I don't care who or what wins tonight. Except for George Clooney. If his inspiring, heartfelt, no-frills work in "The Descendants" is brushed aside for the novelty of the industry's latest "flash act" - Jean Dujardin, who will probably be part of this year's predictable "The Artist" sweep - well, I'll rest my case.

The current logic is that all those aging white men are smitten with "The Artist" because it's seen as a love letter to Hollywood. But the same argument could be made on behalf of the far superior "Hugo."

Full disclosure: I came to this piece with an attitude. I was already primed to pontificate after the performance of the year - Michael Fassbender's as a damaged sex addict in Steve McQueen's "Shame" - was (again, predictrably) neglected by the Academy's old white males.

But did I really expect a performance in an NC-17 film, regardless of how major it is, to receive the credit it deserves?

And then there's "Margaret"! Don't get me started!

Well, my planned rant, however, was upended by someone who got there first.

"I would have appreciated seeing Kenneth Lonergan's 'Margaret' get some respect," Sean Axmaker wrote in a terrific piece on Oscar Snubs for "His beautifully messy and admirably unkempt script captures the messiness of human lives and unresolved emotions in the wake of 9/11, which looms in the background through lingering anxieties and anger. This year swings so far in the other direction of Big Films with Important Messages Hammered Home with Insistent Direction that the indie films that spurred the expansion were all but ignored. I suppose the art house take on a grindhouse story left 'Drive' in the dust and Fox effectively sabotaged grass-roots support for Lonergan's 'Margaret' by burying the film after a nominal release, but if the Academy really wants audience-friendly films, you can't do better than 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' Rupert Wyatt's reboot of the kitchy science fiction franchise as a gripping prison break thriller with a wicked high-concept twist." Well put.

That said, given that this site is devoted to the neglected, here's a nod to this year's Oscar outsiders (losers, I suppose, in Hollywood's eye):

Michael Fassbinder & Carey Mulligan ("Shame")

Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer & Clint Eastwood ("J. Edgar")

Charlize Theron ("Young Adult")

Albert Brooks ("Drive")

Ryan Gosling ("Drive," "The Ides of March" & "Crazy, Stupid, Love" - take your pick)

Michael Shannon ("Take Shelter")

Brendan Gleeson ("The Guard")

Anna Paquin & Jeannie Berlin ("Margaret")

Andy Serkis ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes")

Christoph Waltz ("Carnage")

David Fincher ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo")

And "the kids"...

Asa Butterfield & Chloë Grace Moretz ("Hugo")

Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants")

Elle Fanning ("Super 8")

They didn't stand a chance in a solipsistic, middle-brow organization ingrained with ageism. Don't get me started!


Jon said...

The wrong films/performances not only win but also tend to hog all the nominations. I don't know how any legitimate cinematic group can overlook Fassbender's performance (even if it is in an NC-17 film) or "Margaret" (even though its studio dumped it and, consequently, it made no money).

Janet D. said...

Michael Fassbender was robbed! Lets hope that George Clooney isn't.

Carrie said...

Hear, hear Joe & JAnet!