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sfmike

I won the Oscar pool at our party of 30 people this year and what made me proudest was that I hadn't actually seen any of the nominated movies other than "Harry Potter." It actually came down to a three-way tie with only Best Director and Best Movie remaining, with my competitors having chosen Scorcese and "The Aviator." When I read some weeks ago that the wingnuts were attacking "Milion Dollar Baby" on "right-to-die" grounds, it struck me that this was the push needed for victory.

As for who should have actually won, I just think of the entire ceremony as another form of electoral politics. Occasionally, the right person will triumph, but it doesn't happen very often.

LondonLee

I think they were attacking 'Million Dollar Baby' (wonderful movie by the way. It tore me up) partly because the expected snubbing of Passion of The Christ at the expense of Farhenhiet 9/11 didn't happen so they had to find something else to stir up a controversy about. You have to keep the troops ANGRY about something all the time.

I wonder how they felt about Clint "conservative" Eastwood saying nice, chummy things to Warren "liberal" Beatty. The horror!

mark

Nice post. Not sure I'd call F9/11 "a great piece of journalism" under traditional definition. But it was a great piece of persuasive filmmaking, and who's to say what the definition of "journalism" is any more, anyway. You're absolutely right about the Oscars. The Hollywood crowd has raised inflated self-importance to a high art. For me, the show's entertainment value is in it's transformance into pure (and purely unintentional) parody...

Daryl

When I grew up in Singapore, the Oscar movies wouldn't have made their way to our cinemas by the time of the ceremony (that's changed now, fortunately). It was kind of fun then, since you had to guess who'd win based on snippets of news and rumours and reviews in magazines, and the Oscars served as a sort of trailer for upcoming movies.

And the Oscars always favour bombast over subtlety. Quiet acting in "personal" films never gets a chance.

Bryant

The thing that amuses and saddens me is that MDB came under fire from both sides; there's a substantial number of liberals who disliked it because of perceived classism and sexism. I think maybe they've got half a point on classism -- the trailer park family was indeed a parody -- but zero points on sexism. The motivating decision in the conclusion came from one person and one person only.

Great post.

Bryant

Addendum: Eternal Sunshine. Deserved much more than it got; never had a chance to get it. Release date. Yeah.

Mary

Was The Terminal overlooked because it was released in June, or was it released in June because someone didn't think it stood a chance at getting nominated? Here in LA, a pile of movies get released between Christmas and New Years just to qualify for the Oscars. NYC gets them too, but the rest of the country, devoid of Academy voters, doesn't get them until mid January. Try to see a movie here in September that doesn't completely bite. No summer blockbusters, no Oscar contenders, just junk. The studios seem to assume that Academy voters have very short memories. They must be right.

Kit Stolz

A lot of documentarians are offended by Michael Moore, not because he's a lefty, but because he takes dramatic shortcuts that call into question the whole concept of the documentary film. I did a story on a film festival last fall and talked to Robert Hudson (who with his partner won an Oscar this year for their stunning "Mighty Times") and this is what he said about Moore:

“If I was making spit and chewing gum documentaries like Michael Moore, winging it, and patching over questionable parts with obvious seams because it’s part of what makes you money at the box office; well, that’s not what I call a real documentary.”

Film is not all about politics. Wasn't that a central part of your overall point?

Lance

Kit, yup.

Mary, May and June are when the movies expected to be summer hits are released so I don't think people around Hollywood doubt their quality---they may doubt their "seriousness," though. The Oscars like "serious."

Bryant, Thanks. Yours too. And the "liberal" criticisms of MDB make no sense to me either. But then I haven't seen the movie yet. Nor Eternal Sunshine. More to look forward to.

Daryl, that's how the Oscars were for me growing up too, except that I wasn't waiting for them to be released in the theater, I had to look forward to them coming to HBO when my parents decided I was old enough to see them. But there was the same thrill of anticipation involved. I don't think the Oscars show enough clips from the nominated movies. Or long enough clips.

Mark, see Kit's comment. You'll like.

Lee, dead on.

And, finally, SFMike, Congratulations. Now are you going to buy us all a beer with your winnings?


alex

Lance, the Moore/Murrow comparison will doubtless raise some eyebrows, but if Murrow had taken on J. Edgar or even JFK the same way Moore took on Bush he'd surely have been villified for it at the time.

That said, Moore's too heavy-handed to be called a journalist by my standards, but he's certainly playing by the same journalistic standards of his most ardent critics, so I forgive him some of his excesses. And I do love his work.

A close secondhand account of his tactics did tarnish him in my mind for a while. One of my best friends was a manager at a Border's store in Chicago and was charged with expelling Moore from the premises a few years ago. Moore orchestrated a union organization effort in the place and then tried to film the upshot of his efforts; it would have been different if he'd shown up to objectively observe a real worker rebellion there, except that none existed.

Bryant

Eternal Sunshine rocks; MDB is pretty darned good but I think flawed, as all films with Morgan Freeman will be flawed until someone makes him play a different part. I think every director who wants to cast Freeman should be forced to watch Street Smart a couple times until they realize who's playing the pimp. Anyhow.

Moore sometimes reminds me a lot of James Lileks, from the other direction.

Rozalind

WHO IS SACHEEN LITTLEFEATHER?? Good question. I'm her sister and that seems to be a life long theory. The Marlon Brando status lingers on, her position as an indian activist, and the coordinator for Saint Katrina. Her official website is open to interviews, personal appearnces, etc. A pillar of the Indian community who is federally disabled,and practicing elder abuse with our mother. Complete isolation and control from a selected group. Our mother's spirit is rapidly fading as a prisoner. Oh yes, did I mention how spiritual she is?? Check out her Website.

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