10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

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Jazznews
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10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby Jazznews » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:54 pm

Next year there will be 10 best picture nominations at the Oscars instead of 5. I guess this is to give popular films a chance along with other films.
The reasons behind this are clear -- the Oscar honchos are worried that there's an increasing disconnect between the movies that get nominated ("Slumdog Millionaire," "Frost/Nixon," "The Reader," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Milk" last time) and the movies people actually go to see. "The Dark Knight" and "WALL-E" were two films that many folks (including me) thought were unfairly shut out of the Oscars last year, and academy president Sidney Ganis basically admitted at this morning's press conference that, during discussions about the idea, "I would not be telling the truth if I said the words 'Dark Knight' did not come up."

My snap judgment about this is that it's a good idea if done right. The risk is that allowing in five more nominees devalues the entire idea of an Oscar nomination, especially if the academy starts nominating films because they're popular, not because they're good enough. At that point, the Oscars don't become much better than the Golden Globes.

But a point I made in the blog earlier this year is that, for some reason, the academy has clearly been dissing films because they are popular, even if they also happen to be among the best films of the year. I'd be hard-pressed to find someone who could plausibly argue that "The Reader" is a better movie than "The Dark Knight" and "WALL-E." But because the latter two films were also crowd-pleasing blockbusters, they got penalized...

...Actually, for that matter, I want to see the door opened to even smaller films than the ones that get nominated as well as the bigger ones. Let's get a documentary in there, like "Man on Wire." Let's get a foreign film in there. Let's get a real independent movie in there, not a Fox Searchlight film but a real "Wendy and Lucy" shoestring-budget indie that just happens to be amazing.

And let's finally, finally get a comedy in there. Oscar's history of dissing humorous films in favor of serious ones has really gotten out of hand...
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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby AaronTheSnob » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:56 am

Well, I enjoyed "The Reader" much more than either "The Dark Knight" or "Wall-E", but that's not saying it is a better film necessarily...just my personal preference.

For some reason, U.S. audiences mostly avoid "serious" films. I could go on and on about my own theory as to why this is true (i.e., the quite obvious "dumbing down" of the entire population...i.e., how else to explain the popularity of people like Adam Sandler?), but for whatever reason, it seems to be so.

In my opinion, there are never 10 films made in this country in any year that are good enough to qualify for "Best Picture". Sometimes (again, my opinion) it's difficult to come up with even five.

However, if they included foreign films, they might have to expand it to 20 or 30.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby Shipley » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:52 am

10 pictures devalues the nomination, bad idea. Dark Knight and Wall E won't get a second shot this year, will they?

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby TAsunder » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:45 pm

Did Man on Wire even make the 50 movie short list last year?

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby O.J. » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:17 pm

TAsunder wrote:Did Man on Wire even make the 50 movie short list last year?


Is that the sequel to Bird on a Wire, the delightful romp starring Goldie Hawn, Mel Gibson and the late, great David Carradine? How was that movie never nominated???

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:57 pm

...

People still like Adam Sandler?

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:40 pm

The risk is that allowing in five more nominees devalues the entire idea of an Oscar nomination, especially if the academy starts nominating films because they're popular, not because they're good enough. At that point, the Oscars don't become much better than the Golden Globes.


Um... in what sense are the Oscars "better" than the Golden Globes now? They're equally meaningless awards given to people who've already received plenty of accolades.

Enjoy the pageantry, root for your favorite film, but for goodness sake, don't try to convince me that the Oscars are genuinely important or represent anything resembling actual artistic achievement! (Although they do translate to increased video sales...)

Oh, and for the record, from 1932-1943, there were 10 nominees, so this isn't exactly a new idea.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby TAsunder » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:29 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
The risk is that allowing in five more nominees devalues the entire idea of an Oscar nomination, especially if the academy starts nominating films because they're popular, not because they're good enough. At that point, the Oscars don't become much better than the Golden Globes.


Um... in what sense are the Oscars "better" than the Golden Globes now? They're equally meaningless awards given to people who've already received plenty of accolades.

Enjoy the pageantry, root for your favorite film, but for goodness sake, don't try to convince me that the Oscars are genuinely important or represent anything resembling actual artistic achievement!


I think they're better. Actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors, etc. So the nomination process is certainly more meaningful since it's from colleagues in the industry. Even once nominated, it's only movie industry folks deciding the actual winners. Maybe that is a questionable thing, but it certainly has more meaning than ~80 random foreign journalists deciding it.

If your peers nominated you for an award and then everyone in your company combined voted you in as the winner, you wouldn't consider that more meaningful than some random journalists giving you an award? If not, then I would guess you are in the minority.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:36 pm

That's the standard line about the Oscars, but the truth appears to be more along the lines of studios and politics often determining the nominees and secretaries and hangers-on casting many of the actual ballots.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby TAsunder » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:47 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:That's the standard line about the Oscars, but the truth appears to be more along the lines of studios and politics often determining the nominees and secretaries and hangers-on casting many of the actual ballots.


And the obvious corruption in some categories (e.g. documentary). Still, I think even with those issues, they have more merit and meaning than the golden globes (though I often find Golden Globe awards to be given to things I like more than Oscars).

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:54 pm

TAsunder wrote:they have more merit and meaning than the golden globes

They certainly have more meaning to the recipients, which is something. But I'm unclear why, say, Adam Sandler's opinion about Best Actor has more merit than some random foreign journalist's.

The Oscars are the Top Dog of movie awards more because of tradition than anything tangible, near as I can tell. Awards are pretty arbitrary -- they only have meaning if you assign it to them. I mean, we're not talking about awards for bettering humanity or saving the world here, we're talking about opinions about art.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby boston_jeff » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:00 pm

I would much rather have objective critics nominating than fellow actors and directors. The Baseball HoF nominees and winners aren't selected by other players and coaches, its the writers who decide.

I'm sorry, but many of the members of the Academy don't know their asses from their elbows, or vote based on popularity, studio politics, or career achievement vs. artistic achievement. Its a joke.

And yeah, The Reader was a good film, but a BP nominee...no fucking way. Benny Button was not a BP quality film either. Liking serious artistic cinema is fine, but preferring it for the sole reason that its "serious" is taking yourself too seriously. Dark Knight and Wall-E probably shouldn't have been shoe-ins (ever heard of The Wrestler?), but they were better cinema IMO.

And yes, the American people flock to Adam Sandler films in droves. And thats OK, I like a dumb comedy every once in awhile myself, although I prefer the Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore era. Its not "dumb" to enjoy "dumb" stuff. It can be fun (imagine that-movies are fun). Life is not all overwrought Holocaust tales. And claiming that current cinema is "dumber" today than it was at any point is film history is asinine. Again, if you want moviegoing to be serious, fine, but don't assume everyone is as much of a stick in the mud as you are.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:05 pm

boston_jeff wrote:I would much rather have objective critics nominating than fellow actors and directors. The Baseball HoF nominees and winners aren't selected by other players and coaches, its the writers who decide.

And they're some of the most biased and irrational assholes around.

Let's not overlook the fact that I think every semiconscious nematode recognizes that NOTHING has meaning aside from that which we assign to it. Let's not overthink things, Professor.

Keep the baseball analogy, but don't go HoF. Go All-Star Game. Fans vote for the position players. Let's say fans = critics. How often did Sammy or Junior make it to the All-Star game despite injury-plagued first halves? The fans are idiots. All due respect.

Players, coaches, etc. vote for the pitchers. How many stiffs or hacks get voted in as pitchers? Players = actors/directors/whatnot. Peers. Peers can evaluate talent better because they're in the same world. Sure, they might be more prone to bias from time to time, but they're still capable of making meaningful selections, and I'd say even more capable than critics, who often (EDIT: seem to) feel the need to impress people with their selections.
Last edited by TheBookPolice on Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby TAsunder » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:12 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Sure, they might be more prone to bias from time to time, but they're still capable of making meaningful selections, and I'd say even more capable than critics, who often feel the need to impress people with their selections.


There is also the fact that when critics watch movies, they aren't necessarily obsessively focused on how hard it was to make a movie or how big of an achievement something is in a certain area. Their job doesn't necessarily require this. If you watch movies with someone who does a lot of moviemaking you'll know what I mean. They notice and think about a lot of things that I don't even WANT to think about, because it interrupts the flow of the story for me to think about such things.

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Re: 10 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:48 pm

TheBookPolice wrote: critics... often seem to feel the need to impress people with their selections.

And actors/directors/peers don't?
They're all people and they all have biases.
Hence my point that an award given by one isn't really any more of an indication of actual merit than the other.

As for the baseball analogy, I don't think it's really fair. If a player excels at something, that's pretty obvious. But opinions about what makes for great acting cover an awful lot of ground. I mean, I honestly believe that Tom Cruise is one of the absolute worst actors ever to grace the screen, yet I know there are lots of folks who think he's tremendous. And both those opinions are valid, right? But if I say I think Ken Griffey, Jr. can't hit a baseball, I'm just wrong, aren't I?


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