Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Oscars (rant) and my own awards

The problem with the Oscars is that really, nobody cares. First of all, I wonder what fraction of a percent of Americans have seen Sideways, Kinsey, Million Dollar Baby, and whatever other films are contending for the big awards. And secondly, um, the outcome is COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS. If Sideways wins best picture, well, fine. It won't make anyone like it any better. It won't make people remember it any longer. The only possible effect is that the title may squeeze eight bucks out of those few people who watch the Oscars and think, "Well, if the ACADEMY likes it, I'd better watch it." Again, NOBODY CARES. Nobody cares what color dress Nicole Kidman wears. (Some people might care if part of Nicole Kidman came OUT of her dress a la Tara Reid, but I think that that group is mostly limited to pathetic frat-boys.)

Nobody cares if Hilary Swank would like to thank the Academy, and her mother, and oh god the cast and crew, and all the little people she had to step on to get to where she is today, and her stylist, and her nail clippers, and oh, almost forgot, God.

Plus, they put all the worst awards first (there's an award for best costume design, for example, and the winner is always some movie like Closer in which everyone wears completely normal clothing. Come to think of it, it would be funny if a documentary won best costume design, heh) and then, because the TV station for some reason doesn't learn from past years and factor in time for teary actresses to wax poetic about how much this honor (which has never been given to ANYONE ELSE in the past) means to them, the best picture award (the only award anyone cares about, if you must choose) comes on at midnight, long after everyone's lost interest and changed the channel to old Seinfeld re-runs instead. Besides, you can always find out on the internet in the morning.

And finally, really great movies never win. Alright, I have to amend that: Lord of the Rings and American Beauty were both probably the best movies of their years. But here's a short list of the best movies that didn't (or won't) win best picture.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind--smart and funny; Kate Winslet and her hair were especially outstanding. Though we all could have done without Kirsten Dunst
2. American Splendor--the main character, Harvey Pekar, was played by himself, his R. Crumb-illustrated alter-ego, and Paul Giamatti
3. Spirited Away--a new medium worked brilliantly; Lewis Carroll if he had been Japanese
4. Amelie--magical and mischievous, and even my older brother loved it
5. The Triplets of Belleville--the illustrations, music, characters, and outrageous story all indescribably great. In French but with almost no dialogue because you don't need it
6. The Matrix--innovative and philosophical (at least by Hollywood standards)
7. L.A. Confidential--the best film noir since Chinatown, and above all it came through the Hollywood machine with the Ellroy touches intact
8. Pulp Fiction--way back in 1994...this should win if just for the twist scene and the Ezekial passage. And the best performances of Travolta's, Jackson's, and Thurman's careers. And the crazy chronology. The soundtrack. The pop-culture references. How did this NOT win?

This list was off the top of my head, so I'm sure there are many other worthy contenders. Runners-up include Fight Club, The Big Lebowski (just because it's a slacker comedy that's actually good), and--oh what the hell, even though it'll ruin my credibility--Harry Potter 3, a damn good movie no matter what anybody says.


Blogger Mark said...

Amelie is definitely under-rated; I got a copy for Christmas. Such a kooky movie.

11:24 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Kooky indeed. I think the only reason the academy didn't give it best picture was because it was foreign. Other foreign film that didn't win best picture include Life is Beautiful, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Spirited Away, and The Triplets of Belleville. But Amelie is just incredible.

10:24 AM  

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