Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar Rant: Don't Nominate 10 For Best Picture If Only Five Can Win

The only film I want to see win Best Picture come Oscar night is District 9 because I genuinely felt that no other film was better (The suspense, the explosions, the latent message! What a spectacle!) If you ask my dad, though, he’ll likely say, “Pfft, District 9? What a joke! The Blind Side was the best film I saw all year. People were actually crying when I went to go see it. CRYING!”

My girlfriend on the other hand would likely say that we’re both wrong and that Up is clearly the best film of the year. Ask some of my Coen Bros. loving friends and they’ll shun all three of those choices and pick A Serious Man. And honestly, I have no idea who even saw An Education, but I’m sure that it has its ardent supporters, as well.

But you know what all five of those films have in common? All five of them have no shot in hell at winning Best Picture because the other five nominated films— The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds and Precious (probably in that order in regards to chances of them winning the big prize)-- have already got that slot locked down. So really, what’s the point of having five extra nominations on the ballot if they honestly have no chance of anything besides technical prizes, if even that? (Avatar seems to have that slot locked, too, I would imagine).

Now, I know what many people will say—having five more nominations means that films like District 9 or Up, which typically would never get nominated for best picture, will finally get a chance to be recognized. But honestly, let’s say that this happened last year and a great film like The Dark Knight got nominated alongside with the tepid The Reader. Do you really think it still had any chance of actually being considered when it came to the behemoth that was Slumdog Millionaire? A lot of people will tell you that being nominated is the real prize, but really, it seems like one big tease to all those who honestly DO believe that a movie like Up, which received the highest reviews from critics of all the Oscar contenders, was the best film of the year. And for what? To boost viewership. What a joke!

Let’s be real, people. When populist films like Titanic are nominated for Best Picture, it lures more viewers to watch just to see if the collective mind of Joe Schmo at home and the Academy finally align to pick a film. And believe you me, if the Academy knew how beloved Avatar would be when they made this announcement to have ten movies instead of five, then they probably would have held off at least another year. A majority of viewers at home have already picked which film they want to win, and it’s Avatar, as what other film has captured the nation (hell, the world!) the way it has? Not District 9, sadly. And not A Serious Man.

So, why are they even nominated? Everybody, even fans of the films, know that they’re not going to win, so really it’s like a giant “sucks to be you!” to all those who actually like some of the other five films, and that’s just WRONG to tease people like that. Here I’m going to be, waving my D-9 banner come March 7th and know in my heart of hearts that the real race is between Avatar and The Hurt Locker, neither of which I would really say was the best picture of the year.

I mean really, why does it even have to be ten films? Why couldn’t it have been seven films, or even better, six films? Then, in case there IS another Dark Knight, it wouldn’t have to mean (insert whichever dick and fart comedy made $100 million that year) would have to also be considered. It could mean that that one extra special film can sneak in and have a shot.

Ten is too much, and that brings me back to my original point: a film shouldn’t be nominated for Best Picture if it really isn’t going to be considered at all. In the end, both fans of the film in question and fans of prestige films in general lose out, since no party is really satisfied when you mix fringe films with the standards. Hopefully, this fails horribly. But we all know it won’t.

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