"To be too certain of anything is the beginning of bigotry." -- Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah

Saturday, March 11, 2023

The Odd Oscars

     The Academy Awards are bring held on Sunday night, a time when we find out the best actress, best actor and best picture of 2022. I know you're supposed to be breathlessly amazed at how wonderful these movies are. But, at least for the moment, I take a more jaundiced view.

     I read an article the other day reporting that the "Oscar Bump" has not been as big this year as in years past. The Oscar Bump refers to a sudden increase in ticket sales for the nominated movies, since the nominations pique people's interest.

     The article blamed Netflix for the lack of Oscar Bump, because some of the films have already been available for streaming . . . hence, people can watch at home rather than go buy tickets at the theater. There were a few other reasons cited for the lack of interest. Conspicuously absent was the fact that Oscar movies these days are obscure, often confusing, and geared toward the critics not the popular audience.

     It wasn't always so. Titanic was best picture in 1997. The English Patient in 1996. Braveheart in 1995. Forrest Gump in 1994. Schindler's List in 1993.

     But more recently the Oscar people have ignored the popular will, and gone for more artistic Indy films. Last year's winner, Coda, was not a box office winner (although I saw it and liked it). But other nominees like The Power of the Dog, starring the overrated Benedict Cumberbatch, was way, er,  overrated. And Licorice Pizza, which features two not-very-good-looking kids, was way too inside-Hollywood . . . although I must admit, I absolutely fell in love with Alana Haim.

     Anyway, with that in mind -- and tongue firmly planted in cheek -- here are my own personal Award winners for 2023:

     All Quiet on the Western Front. I saw this movie. I love war movies. But for the life of me I couldn't figure out why they made this. Award:  Most Irrelevant.

     Avatar: the Way of Water. Didn't see this movie. But . . . James Cameron? Award:  Most Commercial.

     Banshees of Inisherin. Saw it. I thought it was intriguing, even though I didn't understand it. Award:  Most Pretentious.

     Elvis. Why would I want to see this? Award:  The Retro Award.

     Everything Everywhere All at Once. Didn't see it. But I heard you can't possibly figure out what's going on. Award:  Most Confusing.

     The Fabelmans. I like Steven Spielberg, but not so much that I want to know all about his childhood. Award: The Throwback Award.

     Tar. I saw it. Cate Blanchett is supposed to be a great actress. Okay, so . . . .  Award:  Most Self-Indulgent.

     Top Gun: Maverick. My wife wanted to see this one. I don't know why . . .  Award:  The Fading Sex Symbol Award.

     Triangle of Sadness. I saw this. I do not like throw-up scenes. Award:  Most Disgusting.

     Women Talking. Didn't see it. Award in absentia:  Most Talkative.

     You can see the full list of nominations here. But now it's your turn. You want to nominate your favorite movie for a special award?


ApacheDug said...

My goodness Tom, you certainly aren't pulling any punches! 😄 Seriously though, I could go on for about an hour here if I could type as fast as I spoke. I have yet to see all the contenders, but I did see Top Gun Maverick (which I appreciated for its realism and lack of CGI), Elvis with production values which blew me away, Banshees which I did love and Tar which I thought was absolutely brilliant. I would love to see Tar win Best Picture, Best Actress. But that's not how the Oscars work. To be very honest, I am not a fan of these award shows. We put these celebrities on too many pedestals as it is. I plan to be watching the season finale of The last of Us on HBO Max, then Star Trek Picard on Paramount Plus while the awards are underway. I'll learn who won best picture the next morning while drinking my coffee, thank you!

gigi-hawaii said...

I watched "Tar" and absolutely loved it, because it was extremely well made and inspired me as a musician. I also saw "Everything Everywhere All At Once," but hated the violence and complete lack of logic. It was a prolonged psychedelic trip, though I have never taken psychedelics. I dislike illogical movies. I think it should be "Tar" for Best Picture and Cate Blanchett for Best Actress.

Barb said...

Not a fan of award showes. But lived Elvis, getting ready to watch all.Quiet (probably made cause it's one of the best novels of all time), and there a bunch if others. Id actually suggest that the purpose of awards is to recognize non commercial success as well when people excel. It happens often at the actor level and should happen more at the movie level. I do think.that movies should be theater movies and not TV movies shown in theaters for two weeks. I cannot wait to see Elvis.

Terra said...

Your award descriptions made me laugh. The only one I've seen thus far is The Fablemans and it was excellent. A lot of what is offered and even Oscar nominated is woke garbage or simply garbage IMO.

Anvilcloud said...

It was just over 20 years ago that we made a 7-hour drive to watch the Oscars (on tv) with my daughter. Now, we don’t make a 7-minute drive. Neither do we turn it on at home.

Now, tell me: did they really remake ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’?

Tom said...

Well, Doug, at least we agree that we're not fans of award shows, and that we put these celebrities on too many pedestals as it is (although I try to watch the Grammys b/c I always find some new music I like). And Terra -- Thanks, that's what I was going for, to make people laugh.

Hope Springs said...

Very entertaining, Tom. I haven’t seen most of these movies — except for the Top Gun redo, as my husband pretty much insisted. He loved it and I thought Tom Cruise was desperately trying to stay young and virile.

One movie I loved was Living starring Bill Nighy. Now there’s a real actor.

Rian said...

We aren't too fond on those award shows either, Tom. In fact, we never watch, but usually hear the results the next day. I'm afraid that we don't go out to movies much, but generally wait until they stream on TV. From the movies mentioned, the only one I can't wait to see on the big screen is Avatar... because I absolutely loved the first one. However, it's mainly because of the special effects... and the 'idea' that someone in a wheel chair could have use of his limbs with an avatar. And I was an Elvis fan growing up (though not a crazed one) but did love his voice... so I might watch his story (although I think it's a sad one).

Olga said...

I have yet in my life to watch the Oscars or any other awards program now that I think about it. I'm not a big movie watcher either so I am probably working on the Oscar winners for 1993. I honestly could not name a contender for this year.

Ed said...

I admit I watched the first hour of it this year, first time in forever, just to hear Kimmel's inevitable hashing of the "slap heard round the world" from lasts year's event. He did a masterful job and when I turned it off, was still working them in there between awards.

Mostly I just look up the nominees for best picture and add them to my Netflix list for the upcoming year if I haven't already seen them. I am rarely disappointed watching a Best Picture nominee. I don't know which one Best Picture at this point, but thought the Best Supporting Actor and Actress Oscars were earned by Everything Everywhere All At Once cast members. I look forward to seeing the few I haven't seen yet.

I guess I'm in agreement that they are turning towards more independent films loved by critics but I guess that is my cup of tea versus the cookie cutter block busters that many like. So I'm not disappointed with the direction they are heading.

Friko said...

Oh dear me, I know very little about movies, except the ancient comedies I watch n TV and catch-up in the UK. I can't do with violence, I want escapism and comfort.
I couldn't even recommend a film, awards or not.

DJan said...

I've seen maybe half of the best picture nominations, but I sure wouldn't have chosen Everything Everywhere. It was funny and even as a sci-fi fan, I thought it was confusing. I loved Banshees and would have chosen it from the ones I've seen. I haven't seen Avatar yet, but I also loved the first one.

Kay said...

Avatar was the first time we went to a theater to see a movie. Way of the Water was OK, but you really should watch it in 3D.

Top Gun was OK too. Our friend went to see it 4 times because she liked it so much. Once was enough for me.

Everything Everywhere All At Once: I got confused too. To be honest, although I'm happy about Michelle getting the Best Actress award... I don't understand how it managed to get so many of the awards. Jamie Lee Curtis did also deserve that award too.