• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Winging it at Twitter
    Propertius on Winging it at Twitter
    Beata on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    riverdaughter on Winging it at Twitter
    Propertius on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    riverdaughter on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Isabel on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Seagrl on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    February 2022
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Open Thread
      Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. Facebook Twitter WhatsApp LinkedIn
  • Top Posts

What the Academy Awards May Symbolize

Today is Academy Awards nomination day. I am not a big film buff,, but like almost everyone, I like a good movie. And so it is interesting to see who gets nominated.

Mostly, the few pictures that I like, do not get nominated. There have been a series of recent Best Picture winners which seem to fit into a certain range. “Arty”; often by foreign directors; perhaps with a minority-based theme. To me, it seems as if the Academy voters want to pick something with a message that they like. Maybe it was always that way, but “entertainment pictures” almost never win now.

Go back only as far as the 1970’s, and you will see Best Picture awarded to “Patton,” “The French Connection,” “The Godfather,” “The Sting,” “The Godfather II,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky,” “Annie Hall,” “Kramer vs Kramer,” “Chariots of Fire.”

Some of these are better than others, but virtually all are entertaining, dramatic, and leave you with something to talk about when you walk out of the theatre. And yes, they all are about White people, so maybe some did not like that; fair enough, but I think that a good movie is a good movie. “In the Heat of the Night” won, though I thought that “The Graduate” should have that year, but they were both fine films.

Ah, yes, and do you remember the days of the 1960’s and “prestige films’? Starting with 1961, there were “West Side Story,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Tom Jones,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Sound of Music,” “A Man for All Seasons.” Well, a new version of “West Side Story” just got nominated again, that is something.

But look at the recent winners. starting with 2013. “Twelve Years a Slave,” “Birdman,” “Spotlight.” “Moonlight,” “The Shape of Water,” “Green Book,” “Parasite,” “Nomadland,” and this year’s likely winner, “The Power of the Dog.”

There is a marked difference, and I would say that for the most part, in quality, though of course others might differ. I would risk saying that most of these will scarcely ever be seen again, as compared to the great films of the earlier eras. There is always the argument as to whether box office should matter, and I don’t think it should very much; but it seems to me that the revamped Academy is virtually forcing these movies down the figurative throats of the Oscar-viewing public. Which is their choice, but this is a major reason why the ratings keep going down.

I read about the nominations today, and there was a lot written about diversity; the first time an Afro-Latin actor has been nominated; the first time since 2018 that two Black actors were nominated for Best Supporting Actor, the third person to identify as LGBTQ to be nominated for Best Actor. These are milestones, but this has become the primary concern, ever since Jada Pinkett had this campaign “Oscars So White,” which rather uncoincidentally led to two Black actors winning both Best Actor categories the next year.

Actually, I was hard-pressed to find any Jewish people who were nominated for anything, other than Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson, but I don’t think that this should be any goal, except that it seems to be for other groups. If awards are going to be symbolic representations of particular international or racial or gender or sexual orientation groups, then whatever artistic mystique they might have had, is generally gone.

I think that in a different era, “Belfast” would win, but probably not in this one, though it is possible. I have not seen many movies this year, though I will see “Belfast.” And “Licorice Pizza,” where I used to go to buy records. 🙂

It doesn’t matter that much to me who wins, though I root for a favorite or two; but I like to go back through the years and look at the various winners in other eras, and think, “What a great picture that was,” though that was not always true, and some better movies got beaten out by ones which pretty clearly were not as good.

Taste and appreciation can always differ; and there are certainly people who know much more about moviemaking than I do. But I will say that now almost reflexively voting for pictures because of liking the social or political stance, or because you want to show appreciation for foreign directors, or because you are want various minorities to be highly represented, is not the same as voting for the best art. Just my opinion, of course.

However, this does mirror a general concern I have about the Democratic Party; that the so-called base is increasingly fragmented, with each of the various groups demanding to be a major force in choosing candidates and issues. Ideally, this would work out wonderfully; but realistically, it is pulling the party in different directions; and causing some people not to vote, out of anger, or almost as bad, threaten not to vote unless “they” do this or that, or nominate a certain candidate.

This may turn out to be the destructive flaw in the Democratic Party, now a loose coalition of groups, pulled further apart, and then conquered by the totalitarians. We will see. But every time I hear about awards nominations, I do think about it.