Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Oscars represent...

"....a long-standing myth that Hollywood is in the business of making great—and original—movies.
This illusion, like all successful deceptions, requires misdirecting the audience's attention from reality to a few brilliant aberrations.

Take this year's Best Picture nominations: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Munich, and Good Night, and Good Luck. What all of these films have in common is that they have virtually nothing to do with the real business of the Hollywood studios. For Hollywood to choose them as a public display of its virtue is almost as absurd as international oil companies presenting awards to avant-garde artists who happen to paint in oil...."

My feelings exactly!

Read the whole thing here


Jabberwock said...

Strange piece. I’m not defending the Oscars (there are plenty of other things wrong with them, which the Slate article doesn’t address), but by their very nature the awards aren’t meant to be representative of all Hollywood in some grand, sweeping way – they are simply meant to represent the best American films of the year. (Whether you agree or disagree with their choices is of course another matter altogether.) And Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Munich, and Good Night, and Good Luck are all American films, regardless of how well or badly they’ve done at the box-office, and whether they’ve been made by major studios or independents. (In fact most of these movies are relatively high-profile, even commercial, when compared to the films that get honoured by smaller award groups like the New York Critics Circle.)

I think Epstein has based his piece on too many erroneous assumptions. “For Hollywood to choose them as a public display of its virtue…” is a laughable extrapolation by him, and nothing else. If anything, the Oscar ceremony is usually the best indicator to the rest of the world of a lot that’s vulgar and ostentatious in Hollywood.

gawker said...

I agree with Jabberwock. It would be better, I guess, to look at the Oscar awards as a showcase of good film-making, rather than as an award ceremony that chooses the best of Hollywood.

Annie Zaidi said...

point taken, jabberwock.
however, i agree with the writer to an extent because i often have arguments with people who claim that Hollywood is 'original' 'great' and generally has the courage to tackle interesting subjects. when asked to cite examples, they will invariably name oscar-winning movies. which are not 'Hollywood' strictly speaking.
to my mind, that's like using a film like 'Dev' as a defence for Bollywood.
Though I must admit that I have nothing against vulgarity and ostentatiousness...esp if it is endemic in every sphere of existence. why single out an awards night that actually wants to be what it is? :)

Jabberwock said...

One of my problems with the Slate article is that Oscar is (at best) a middlebrow awards show - looking only at the last decade, films like Titanic, A Beautiful Mind and The Return of the King (and there are many other examples) have won major awards, and those are hardly among Hollywood's more provocative/courageous/original films. I usually find that I have to look beyond Oscar-winners to find the genuinely provocative American movies (of which there are many, though it isn't easy to get your hands on them in India). If Epstein wanted to cock a snook at big-studio Hollywood, he might have made his point better by looking at the more highbrow award shows like the NYFCC or the ones hosted by the Director's Guild/Actor's Guild.

Btw I have nothing against the vulgarity/ostentatiousness myself - just made that point in passing. Like George C Scott said, it's a big meat parade anyway (he was talking about the Oscars but he might just as well have meant the human race!)

Annie Zaidi said...

hmmm... since i've seen neither the high-brow awards nor the rare american movies that are better than oscar fare, i will not say anythign further.

Tweets by @anniezaidi