Oscar Snobinations 2012: The Academy Really Screws It Upby Tim Lammers on 01/24/12
This year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has stretched my patience to the limit.
To put it bluntly, these aren't nominations, they're snobinations. The whole thing is laughable to begin with, really, if you think about it. Basically, it's the one month of year (again) where Hollywood is pretending to care about its "artistic merits," whereas the other 11 months, they're practically killing each other to make the most bank off of sequels, remakes and "reboots" of the same old tired ideas.
Now, I have nothing against artistry, and I certainly love originality. I think there's a lot of that reflected in this year's noms, in fact. "Midnight in Paris," "The Artist" and "Hugo" are stellar examples of creative storytelling, while "The Help," "The Descendants," "War Horse" and "Moneyball" all tap into deep human emotions. While not all of them made my own Top 10 list, there's no question there are truly are seven of the best films of the year.
But frankly, roughly 25 percent of the Academy's overall choices flat-out sucked.
The worst offense: The Academy, in an elitist move to bring suspense to its Best Picture nominations this year, announced that it was instituting a new voting system that would produce the nominees based on the number of first place votes. In short, it involves some convoluted formula that in the end, produces at least five, but no more than 10, Best Picture nominees.
Suddenly, the Academy, which reintroduced the 10 Best Picture nom slate a few years back in order to keep the public interested in their glamour party (the official explanation was to hearken a grand tradition of the early days of Hollywood, when 10 films were nominated), decided to say this year, that only nine films were good enough to merit a nomination.
So what does this all mean?
With its nine Best Picture nominations, the Academy is basically saying to the likes of the Producers Guild of America and The Broadcast Film Critics Association -- which each nominate 10 films -- only nine films are worthy of THEIR precious award.
That means the funniest movie of the year, "Bridesmaids," which was good enough be a Best Picture nominee for the PGA and BFCA (and a Best Ensemble nominee for the Screen Actors Guild Awards -- the equivalent of a Best Picture nomination), isn't good enough for a Best Picture Oscar nomination. That also means one of the best crime thrillers of the year -- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," a Best Picture nominee for the PGA and a Best Director nominee (David Fincher) for the Directors Guild of America, isn't good enough for Best Picture Oscar nom.
Yep, those great films were passed over in favor of so-called "films" like the non-sensical, non-narrative, pretentious heap of nothingness called "The Tree of Life" (Fincher was snubbed in favor of, by the way, the critically-overrated "Tree of Life's" so-called "auteur" Terrence Malick for a Best Director Oscar nom).
Now that I've finished blowing off steam, I'm going to sit back and laugh. Since the Academy has anointed "The Tree of Life" one of the best films of the year with its all-so-important Best Picture nom, Joe and Jane moviegoer -- the people who line Hollywood's pockets year-round -- will be curious in and either rent it or see it in its inevitable re-release and be dumbfounded by its "artistic" vision; and furthermore, be miffed that they wasted their valuable money and time on it.
In the end, Hollywood is polarizing the American moviegoer once again. Don't worry, though: Joe and Jane moviegoer will exact their revenge by not tuning into a ceremony that hypes up such heaps of dreck as "The Tree of Life."
And speaking of non-sensical ...
++Where was the courage to nominate a motion capture performance as revolutionary as Andy Serkis' was in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"? Guess you could say that voting actors are fearful of being replaced by technology.
++How was the brilliant "The Advenutures of Tintin" snubbed in favor of two obscure animated films? I've long held the belief that most Academy members are jealous of Steven Spielberg's talent, and the lack of a nomination here makes me suspicious.
++Why were there only two Best Original Song nominations this year? So the legendary songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Hello, Hello" (from "Gnomeo & Juliet") doesn't have what it takes to make the final cut? Worse, yet, only one nomination for "The Muppets" (and a well deserved one, for "Man or Muppet")? What about "Life's a Happy Song," which is what the movie is all about?
I guess it basically says that the Academy doesn't want us to be happy about the nominations this year. But that's cool, I'll still make my predictions, and I'll still watch, especially for Billy Crystal, who'll once again do his best polish this turd. But even if he turns the Oscars into gold by the end of the ceremony, they'll still mean a whole hell of a lot less to me.