Goddamn the Oscars!

Every year I’m appalled by something or somebody the Oscar board deems worthy of the gold man. Surely the award should go to an actor for a particular role; a director for a specific film etc.

But no, we either see people win for longevity of service to the film industry. (Isn’t there a special award precisely for this purpose anyway?!) OR some average movie scooping the top award which baffles everybody who makes up the cinema-going public.


These are just some examples of where the Oscar board got it very wrong indeed, in my humble opinion.

Denzil Washington winning for Training Day. He was only ok in a very mediocre movie. If anything, he should’ve got it for Malcolm X.

Scorcese not winning numerous times including losing out to Million Dollar Baby, with his The Aviator – by far, a superior movie. That was a kick in the teeth wasn’t it on two counts; 1. not beating a shit movie and 2. not beating a shit boxing movie (on the basis he didn’t win for Raging Bull). And then the board were like, shouldn’t we give Marty an award this year: then he got one for The Departed. Good movie, sure, but his best? Nope.

Goddamn The Hurt Locker and Kathryn Bigelow too. Ok, I get that Avatar wasn’t the most original narrative, but in its entirety, was a better movie. And Inglorious Basterds; a near perfect movie that deserved more than just a nod. What about Moon too; not even given a look in.

There are a lot more, I know, but they’re the ones that spring to mind as I have this mid-afternoon rant, after seeing the Oscar nominations for 2011.

Where the hell is Shutter Island on the list? Or Scorcese? Or DiCaprio? Why is The Social Network getting such praise? Fincher shouldn’t win for this. If he does, are the board actually saying that it’s better than Seven or Fight Club?!

On the plus side; It’s great that this year, Sean ‘Oscar whore’ Penn isn’t up for anything. Saying that, he’ll still probably win for something!

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the Oscars past and forthcoming?

FilmFella Lozz out

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7 Responses to Goddamn the Oscars!

  1. Brian Philpott says:

    In a shocking turn of events, I must disagree with some of your assessments. The Hurt Locker may not have been the Best Picture that year but it definitely deserved to be ahead of Avatar. The Avatar guys deserve a lot of technical plaudits but as a film it was distinctly average, I would hope it only just scraped a nomination in that category.

    Also, no doubting old Marty has been overlooked and won for probably one of his weakest films but Shutter Island in the Oscar race? Really? Don’t think anyone invovled with that deserves an invite to the party. I’m interested to finally see The Social Network as the awards buzz seems crazy but maybe another case of rewarding a director too late?

    Who would you want to see take home the big prizes this year? Some are difficult to call as True Grit and The Fighter are yet to be released here but was surpised to see 127 Hours up for Best Pic and Franco for Best Actor.

    • Brian, hello and thank you for your comment.

      I will have to go ahead and disagree with you. James Cameron took 11 years to come up with a well worn storyline. Got it. However, when you look at everything that went into the film and definitely considering the technological advances that it provided, the film is better than The Hurt Locker. Don’t get me wrong, I liked The Hurt Locker (check out my review), it just really didn’t deserve the Oscar. Personally, I think that Inglorious Basterds should’ve won.

      Shutter Island was masterful movie making. Everything from that fog horn score to the uneasy atmosphere to some great acting, in my opinion makes it one of the best films of the year. It’s a shame that it’s been overlooked. The DiCaprio/Scorcese partnership is flourishing and I honestly can’t wait for their next collaboration.

      The Social Network is an important film in terms of it being about Facebook, and how the damn thing has become what it is. And that was the only reason it was interesting. Esseinberg was good, but not Oscar material. The best I can say about Fincher, is that the movie could’ve been boring and wasn’t.

      In my opinion the awards should go to: Picture: Black Swan or Inception. Actor: Colin Firth. Actress: Natalie Portman. Director: Darren Aronofsky. This, however, is not my predictions, just my opinions.

      What’s your take on the top awards Mr Philpott?

  2. And let’s not forget the 1993 Oscars when Jack Palance bungled the Best Supporting Actress Award, by naming Marisa Tomei in error. Classic.

  3. Looks like we were both pouring our hearts out in response to the Oscars simultaneously mate – we’ve got two blogs out on the Oscars in one day. I agree with you on the overall point of this article. The Academy do make infuriatingly idiotic decisions and they have jeapodized the integrity of the award itself. They are prone to giving awards out to filmmakers who have clearly made better films in the past, so it makes them look like they are giving the award out of guilt to make amends for previous oversights. I have to say though, given your love for David Fincher, I’m surprised you would begrudge him an award this year. I thought what he did with The Social Network displayed just how great a director he is as much as Fight club. Fight club is by far a better film of course, but with the subject matter of The social network, all he really had to work with was a bunch of talking head shot of obnoxious brats – with his whip pan edits and considerable style, he made you forget the limitations of the material and he actually re-spun computer programming web nerds into figures who looked edgy, underground and cool, it’s one thing doing that with Brad Pitt and Ed Norton, it’s another to do it with Jessie Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake. I really like The social Network i don’t think Fincher has ever made a bad film so I think giving awards to filmmakers like Fincher and Scorsese makes more sense than giving it to a director who makes one good film then disappears for ever.

    What I was baffled at though Lozz, was how you could write an article about Oscar mistakes and not mention that Chris Nolan was overlooked as best director for Inception???? This to me is one of the worst mistakes in Oscar history. If Inception is a great film – which it is – it’s because the director matched his ambition and pulled off an impressively audacious plot with amazing direction. Inception could have been a convoluted mess if Nolan mis-stepped, he is the architect of the most original mainstream screenplay in years and he pulled that off with aplomb and did it as a big blockbuster. It’s outrageous that the film is deemed Academy worthy and the direction is not, that is the worst snub of all time.

    I agree with Brian, there is no-way Shutter island is worthy of an Oscar nomination it’s not a bad film, it does have some flaws but the whole thing works as it pretends to be an old fashioned B movie and then Scorsese spins into something psychological – but that has been done, many, many times over. Everything in that movie, from the uneasy tension to the eerie score, only works because of all the movies similar to it that Scorsese was paying homage too. I think Scorsese made a thriller as now the Oscar is in the bag, he doesn’t have to play to Oscar worthy material. Whatever you think of the Oscars though, you have to admit, they do generate talking points and lift the profile of films that big advert campaigns for blockbusters overshadow which for me is the real purpose of the Oscars.

    • Whoa Darren! I was content to stay on the sidelines and let Lozz tussle this one out, but your post has sadly made this impossible.

      First off, I like the fact that all the praise you have heaped on The Social Network is pretty much all to do with the stylistics. Of course it’s going to look nice with David Fincher directing: he could make a Tory political broadcast look exciting. But if you look at characters, which I am sure you will agree are the fundamentals to any story, the film is sadly lacking. Zuckerberg is pretty much without progression throughout the whole film; his opening scene sums him up completely and he never deviates or learns from his social retardation. the same can be said for the other characters: Timberlake is simply an archetype thrown in as a catalyst to break up the two protagonists’ relationship, while Andrew Garfield plays a character who certainly never learns a thing, even when Zuckerberg’s problems are so clear from the outset.

      Don’t get me wrong: The Social Network is a 7, 7.5 or in other words a fairly enjoyable watch. But ultimately, the story was limited just as you mentioned “the limitations of the material”. The film delivered no real message of importance or delivered characters that truly engaged you 100%. And would you really want Fincher to be honoured for this, when he has made so many other films far worthier of the Best Director mantle? Of course not, that’s what Life Time Achievement awards are for.

      And then we have your somewhat troubling comments on Shutter Island… did you really see the same film as me?! You cast off a phenomenal ending as merely a “spin into something psychological – that has been done many, many times over” – so tell me Darren, what (many) films have you seen that shows the same mental journey that Leonardo DiCaprio undergoes? And conveys the same high end concept? I’m dying to know, because I’m coming up blank.

      Let’s just put this into perspective. Shutter Island first shows us a crime thriller, with a character charged with finding a missing patient. Then it turns to horror as he suspects foul play. Then the surface twist is revealed and you realise his delusion. But all that is simply a red herring to the actual narrative thread, which is the mental realisation that the protagonist would rather be lobotomised than live with the unbearable feelings of guilt and loss he now has to endure. I’m sorry, but that is an incredibly original idea, presented extremely well with excellent characters. With the exception of Black Swan, I don’t think any film this year has managed to achieve this quality of character driven film making. So to discount it entirely from the Oscars list as a Scorcese post-award thriller he just tacked together, is as absurd as it is telling.

      Watch the film again mate. Believe me, you are missing out.

      (Though I must say, it’s good to start the debates back up Daz. It’s been too long)

  4. Brian Philpott says:

    Well the whole Avatar thing has been talked to death but I will just say that putting a huge amount into a movie production and opening new technology does not make a ‘film’. The script, performances, cinematography, music and direction are all much more important factors in creating a great film and they were all lakcing in Avatar. JC should go back and watch T2 to try and remember how to combine technological advancements with a great film.

    Darren makes a good point about Nolan not getting a directing nod this year, that somehow went over my head when I was reading the nominations!

    I haven’t seen 4 of the 10 Best Picture nominees but from those I have, I’d go for Black Swan too just edging Inception with Aranofsky picking up Best Director. I can’t call Best Actor as I’ve only seen 127 Hours and didn’t think Franco was particularly outstanding. I’d agree with Portman for Best Actress but the girl in Winter’s Bone was pretty awesome so it’s a decent bet for a dark horse.

    I think it could be quite close for some of the top awards this year, there really is some great films nominated so I’m looking forward to the ceremony.

  5. Nathan says:

    Filmmakers rarely win Oscars for their “best” work. On the one hand, one could argue that at the time of the release of said “best” work, people don’t judge it as such. After all, hindsight is 20/20. Personally, I’m glad Scorsese won for The Departed over The Aviator, if he had to win for just one of them. It was by far the best of the films nominated for Best Picture that year, and I also think it’s one of Scorsese’s best.

    As for Avatar not winning… All this talk of how long the production took, and the creation of new technology… That means nothing for how good the movie actually is, how well-constructed it is, etc. Cameron used very identifiable and classic filmmaking techniques to tell Avatar’s story, even if he used new technology to accomplish the task of creating Pandora. Although I will probably always be a defender of Avatar, it was an event, not a truly great film.

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