Why the Oscars are Boring

The Oscars....

Can anyone think of a more ridiculous drivel-fest than the Oscars? (OK, not counting American Idol)...Seriously though...what is it about this pompous group ass-lick that gets people so bloody excited? I just don't get it. The films are invariably the same – overwrought tragidramedies of Gumpian proportions that would bore any real film fan into a rocking fetal position. And yet... billions watch, hanging on every scripted utterance as though something profound was happening.

Oscar nominations are typically political and rarely relate to film as an art form. This year's Best Picture nominations fall into approximately the same groupings as they always do. We have a vaguely British film (Slumdog by way of U.K. director Danny Boyle), a social conscience movie (Milk), a political/media flick (Frost/Nixon), an epic-length slice o' Americana (Buttons), and a quasi-literate drama relating to war (The Reader). You have to go back a long way to find an Oscar Nominee list that doesn't contain some minor variation on these same 5 kinds of movies. It isn't that this year's films are particularly bad (they're no worse than last year's or the year before) but rather that they remain dull and predictable choices. More importantly, they also don't matter in any real way. The Oscars have and continue to be about the colossal waste of time that is celebrity worship. The industry is only too happy to form a giant yearly circle jerk and blow a big Hollywood sized load all over their worshipers. That what it's all about.

I'm going out on a limb here because I haven't seen a good number of the films that follow but I'd like to see an Oscar nomination list that manages to include some innovative and boundary pushing works for once. How about films like Synecdoche, New York, Tell No One, The Pool, Elegy, My Winnipeg, Gomorrah, Let the Right One In, The Wrestler, Waltz with Bashir, Son of Rambow, Funny Games, A Christmas Tale, Happy-Go-Lucky, Rachel Getting Married, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Wendy and Lucy, Trouble the Water, Ballast, Che, Chop Shop, Doubt, Shotgun Stories, The Fall, Frozen River,
The Flight of the Red Balloon, Alexandra, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Class, Encounters at the End of the World, I Served the King of England, Still Life, Young at Heart, Silent Light, Hunger, etc. If you want to really push the envelope why not Martyrs, Cloverfield or the Orphanage?

When I think back on the best film performances I saw in 2008, the one that sticks out for me is Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. I couldn't shake his nuanced and completely believable take on a shattered soldier. Stallone may not be a great actor in any traditional sense but this was a deeply moving and utterly sad portrayal of a man trapped by his own ruthless prowess as a killer. It wasn't a theatrical turn (a la Ledger's Joker) but a more complete assumption of character. It probably sounds ridiculous, but I bought it. I never once thought I was watching an actor. I was watching a serial killer.

My point in all this nattering is this; film award shows are boring because the choices are canned. The film experience should be a varied and challenging one and the Oscars do not take this into consideration. The Academy Award nominees are beige Toyota Camrys year in and year out. It's dull and boring as a result.


the coelacanth said...

yes, yes, and YES!

Dropkick said...

I was thinking about typing up a post about the bs factor of the oscars but not only did you beat me to it you did it a hundred times better than i would have.

great little rant about Rambo, gotta say you're right on that too. I didn't even feel like it was Sly, it WAS Rambo. which is a feat because we haven't seen Sly in sometime.

My biggest upset(and further proof the oscars are really all about nothing) is Synechdoche, New York. Maybe not for a best picture nom but honestly a story about a massive attempt to put on the most realistic play ever, true in humanity and to art. That is constructed in a warehouse in new york the size of new york that within the production has even more warehouses inside of them with other new yorks and so on.
i don't know how that slipped best screenplay.
The academy has dug Kaufman int he past so i don't know what the problem is.
not only for the script but this was also his directorial debut and imagine how confusing directing actors who are directing actors who driect other actors must be.

also, Springsteen not up for best song? muchos bs.

still, i just like the party. I usually go to the Bloor Cinema where they show it for free and you bring a little wine and bet on the big ones and clap and laugh and boo together in a crowded theater.
something sweet about that.

the coelacanth said...

the bloor party sounds fun - i love the bloor. and nigel. even though i've never really met him except for that staff party where he was mad drunk and tried to give free bloor tickets to a very confused sporgey and wife, but not me.

yes, as much as i like to hate on the oscars, i'll be watching them at home, alone (if i can get the rabbit ears tweaked just so....). it's kind of, like, tradition, or something.