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Slumdog and Dark Knight... 
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Post Slumdog and Dark Knight...
I read an article in the LA Times today concerning a backlash recently coming towards Slumdog Milllionaire. The article is located here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-bigpicture30-2009jan30,0,1303985.story

The author of the article, Patrick Goldstein, talks about how whenever there is an overwhelming favorite in the Oscars, someone is out there trying to knock it down. "That's exactly what's happening right now in the Oscar race to Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire," which in recent days has gone from beloved underdog to embattled front-runner."

There is one sentence from that article that caught my attention which I always thought about...

"Today's critics, who are invariably the torchbearers of the backlash , are suspicious, if not openly hostile, of any piece of art that is granted too much widespread -- i.e. uncritical -- public acceptance."

If something becomes too popular, the critics won't "accept" it. I feel this is something that has happened with The Dark Knight here with the Oscar nominations. I am curious what you folks have to say about what Mr. Goldstein has to say in this article.


Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:19 am
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
ram1312 wrote:
I read an article in the LA Times today concerning a backlash recently coming towards Slumdog Milllionaire. The article is located here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-bigpicture30-2009jan30,0,1303985.story

The author of the article, Patrick Goldstein, talks about how whenever there is an overwhelming favorite in the Oscars, someone is out there trying to knock it down. "That's exactly what's happening right now in the Oscar race to Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire," which in recent days has gone from beloved underdog to embattled front-runner."

There is one sentence from that article that caught my attention which I always thought about...

"Today's critics, who are invariably the torchbearers of the backlash , are suspicious, if not openly hostile, of any piece of art that is granted too much widespread -- i.e. uncritical -- public acceptance."

If something becomes too popular, the critics won't "accept" it. I feel this is something that has happened with The Dark Knight here with the Oscar nominations. I am curious what you folks have to say about what Mr. Goldstein has to say in this article.


Hi there,

In a previous job as President of a very large US brand I was exposed to endless PR people and reporters. There were always two types. The fawning group who wanted to get a story on the guarantee of a positive report and the second group who saw their role solely to tear you down. The better the news we had the more the knockers came out of the woodwork. It's the modern way. It's all about finding a "fresh angle". As a journalist (and I hate to credit most of them with that compliment) they are constantly looking for the opposite story as that's the real news.

Slumdog has been built up to be ripped down and the current angle over the last 48 hours is that they exploited the poor kids. It's a bogus story as i listened to Danny Boyle two weeks ago (not two days) talking about how they had paid for a lifetime of education for the kids and rewards if the kids completed the whole educational program. This, from a small indi production.

The press have inches and minutes to fill. I learned that long ago.

Rob


Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:36 am
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
I haven't noticed the mainstream media trying to take down Slumdog at all yet, but I've noticed an internet backlash definitely, especially on AwardsDaily.com.


Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:47 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
Trevor wrote:
I haven't noticed the mainstream media trying to take down Slumdog at all yet, but I've noticed an internet backlash definitely, especially on AwardsDaily.com.


Hi Trevor

There's been a story running about how Slumdog exploited its cast. I've heard it referenced with journalists reporting the story rather than claiming it's a fact. Classic hide behind strategy.

I've listened to a few Danny Boyle interviews over recent weeks and his passion for the area and the people is very contagious.

Rob


Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:45 am
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
Robert Holloway wrote:
Trevor wrote:
I haven't noticed the mainstream media trying to take down Slumdog at all yet, but I've noticed an internet backlash definitely, especially on AwardsDaily.com.


Hi Trevor

There's been a story running about how Slumdog exploited its cast. I've heard it referenced with journalists reporting the story rather than claiming it's a fact. Classic hide behind strategy.

I've listened to a few Danny Boyle interviews over recent weeks and his passion for the area and the people is very contagious.

Rob

I've seen this stories.
Most of them go with this storyline though:
"There are claims that the Indian cast of Slumdog was exploited and poorly compensated.
The producers, however, refute those claims. Trust funds have been set up for the kids and they got paid 4 times the avg adult yearly salary."
Most of the stories I've seen don't seem to be calling Slumdog out. I wouldn't characterize them as a "backlash" at least.


Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:49 am
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Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
Trevor wrote:
I haven't noticed the mainstream media trying to take down Slumdog at all yet, but I've noticed an internet backlash definitely, especially on AwardsDaily.com.


Some movies get a backlash after winning the Oscar. They are generally well regarded until they win, then the climate turns nasty. Shakespeare in Love is probably the best example, but there are many others. The biggest problem for Shakespeare, an enjoyable but not great comedy, is that it is widely accepted (for good reason) that the Weinsteins bought the Oscar. And certainly Saving Private Ryan has stood the test of time better.

Actually, at the time, some pundits cited a backlash against SPR for Shakespeare's victory, although that's oversimplifying things. But it is true that popular early Oscar favorites often face a wave of negativity from those who have nothing better to do than be negative and/or contrary. That's why there has never been a unanimous entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:48 am
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Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
James Berardinelli wrote:
Actually, at the time, some pundits cited a backlash against SPR for Shakespeare's victory, although that's oversimplifying things. But it is true that popular early Oscar favorites often face a wave of negativity from those who have nothing better to do than be negative and/or contrary. That's why there has never been a unanimous entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Exactly, and I strongly agree that backlash was not the reason SPR lost.

I think the Goldstein article makes the best point. There are simply a lot of critics (and fans, for that matter) who don't like praising a movie that receives universal praise. Most people would rather tout the merits of an unknown film than a hugely popular or well-regarded one. It's the same principle as when people claim a local band is their favorite band: we like the magic of discovery. When something is as highly touted as Slumdog or Juno, it's inevitable that some will de slightly disappointed because of high expectations not being met.

The opposite of this is Shawshank Redemption. Yes, it got some Oscar nods, but the film was considerd too long and slow and wasn't very popular. But as time passed, people viewed it on their own and felt like they were unearthing a hidden treasure.


Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:50 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
James Berardinelli wrote:
Actually, at the time, some pundits cited a backlash against SPR for Shakespeare's victory, although that's oversimplifying things. But it is true that popular early Oscar favorites often face a wave of negativity from those who have nothing better to do than be negative and/or contrary. That's why there has never been a unanimous entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Well to be fair, Spielberg did win the Directing award that year. Of course, this by any means should not bear any weight on the voting for Best Picture, but in my opinion there were three other very good films based on the subject of war (some more loosely than others) that came out in that year: The Thin Red Line, Life is Beautiful, and Saving Private Ryan.

If I were to choose a favorite between the three war-related films, I would have a hard time picking between Saving Private Ryan and Life is Beautiful. In this sense Shakespeare in Love seemed almost like a scapegoat for having to choose between any war-epic at all. Don't get me wrong however, I felt Shakespeare in Love was a strong film and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Albeit that it might not have been my personal favorite that year, I wasn't particularly perturbed by the fact that it beat out other films.


Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:16 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
I've said it before and I'll say it again, not that it could do any good.

The Dark Knight should have been nominated for Best Picture, and for Best Director, and for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Academy can go play with themselves.


Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:18 am
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
Sorry for such a rant, but I feel like saying this:

Personally, I wasn't a big fan of Slumdog Millionaire. I liked how it showed India's evolution throughout time and paralleled its journey into the modern world with the children's journey into the world of crime and money. However, I thought the romance between the two leads was very underdeveloped and the dance number at the end very out of place considering the brutal death scenes that had come right before it.

But I still thought Slumdog deserved to be nominated because of A) its popularity with the public and B) its popularity with the critics. Such justification does not exist for the black sheep best picture nominee The Reader. It currently holds a 58 (mixed reviews) on Metacritic and a 60 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its popularity with the people, although very positive (it holds a 7.8 rating on imdb, but then again so does Saw) isn't widespread, as it has only grossed a paltry 16 million dollars off a 32 million dollar budget.

Personally, I think support was gained for the reader the same way it was for Heath Ledger's Performance in The Dark Knight. The sympathy vote was cast for producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both who died last year.

I don't mean to upset anyone, but I can't think of another reason why The Reader was chosen while unbelievably Critic and public friendly films like The Dark Knight, The Wrestler, Wall-E, and Revolutionary Road were ignored. I see a lot of people complaining about the injustice done to the aforementioned films but not much complaint with the nominees themselves.

For the record, I saw The Reader and enjoyed it more than Slumdog Millionaire, but did NOT think it was at all oscar worthy.


Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:58 am
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
My two cents,

The argument about critics trying to downgrade a movie simply because it is getting universal praise is a good one, but I have a different theory. When a movie skyrockets in popularity, such as Slumdog Millionaire, it is going to be that much more scrutinized to see if it actually deserves that popularity. Every little detail, ones that weren't apparent before, is going to pop out at the critic.

The first time I saw Slumdog Millionaire, I did indeed enjoy it. The second time, however, I wasn't very enthused about it and can see how it is starting to get a negative backlash. Like probably most people on this forum, I fell in love with The Dark Knight the first time I saw it and that love has only grown stronger with each successive view. I cannot for the life of me understand why this film was bypassed by the academy. All I can think of is the "comic book movie" tag it is stuck with, when in truth, it is so far from it. As for The Reader...that movie bored me to death. While it had great acting, I just didn't really care what was going on and just kept waiting for it to end.


Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:10 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
James Berardinelli wrote:
Trevor wrote:
I haven't noticed the mainstream media trying to take down Slumdog at all yet, but I've noticed an internet backlash definitely, especially on AwardsDaily.com.


Some movies get a backlash after winning the Oscar. They are generally well regarded until they win, then the climate turns nasty. Shakespeare in Love is probably the best example, but there are many others. The biggest problem for Shakespeare, an enjoyable but not great comedy, is that it is widely accepted (for good reason) that the Weinsteins bought the Oscar. And certainly Saving Private Ryan has stood the test of time better.

Actually, at the time, some pundits cited a backlash against SPR for Shakespeare's victory, although that's oversimplifying things. But it is true that popular early Oscar favorites often face a wave of negativity from those who have nothing better to do than be negative and/or contrary. That's why there has never been a unanimous entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


I recall that happening with Crash too ...


Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:14 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
I think that The Dark Knight should be included without a doubt. I also think Slumdog Millionaire more than deserves their nomination. I think that The Reader should not have been nominated, as well as Frost/Nixon, although it was a good movie, and filling those two spots should be TDK and The Wrestler.


Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:43 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
The Dark Knight is probably the first significant Best Picture oversight in a while. I guess I should be thankful that my top films of the past few years have either won or been nominated, but this may very well be the first Oscar ceremony I purposely boycott (in terms of watching).

Then again, it's still the Oscars...sigh, I might just give in a watch the damned thing.


Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:50 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
It's not surprising, though, that Dark Knight was passed over for a nod. The academy doesn't seem to be all that willing to validate the comic-book movie. They'd much rather go with the art-house films, and that's certainly their prerogative. The reaction in general to go with these kinds of movies is, I would guess, a glare at the quality of Hollywood movies in general. They stink. Box-office quality no longer equates with critic quality. Not as often as it used to, anyways. Forrest Gump, for example, was the #1 box office movie in 1994 and a Best Picture winner. Same for Titanic in 1997. And even in recent memory, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, LOTR, Million Dollar Baby, and The Departed all made more than 100 million dollars in the U.S. box-office. They got good feedback from the populous and the critics at large. Except for Gladiator and LOTR, they weren't exactly blockbusters, but people recognized them on some level. Nowadays, it's all about superhero movies and making a quick killing. These kinds of movies are almost a dying species. I'm happy to see that Slumdog is continuing to make money week after week and beating the traditional box-office economics law of going down and staying down.


Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:03 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
C.R. Jakes wrote:
It's not surprising, though, that Dark Knight was passed over for a nod. The academy doesn't seem to be all that willing to validate the comic-book movie. They'd much rather go with the art-house films, and that's certainly their prerogative. The reaction in general to go with these kinds of movies is, I would guess, a glare at the quality of Hollywood movies in general. They stink. Box-office quality no longer equates with critic quality. Not as often as it used to, anyways. Forrest Gump, for example, was the #1 box office movie in 1994 and a Best Picture winner. Same for Titanic in 1997. And even in recent memory, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, LOTR, Million Dollar Baby, and The Departed all made more than 100 million dollars in the U.S. box-office. They got good feedback from the populous and the critics at large. Except for Gladiator and LOTR, they weren't exactly blockbusters, but people recognized them on some level. Nowadays, it's all about superhero movies and making a quick killing. These kinds of movies are almost a dying species. I'm happy to see that Slumdog is continuing to make money week after week and beating the traditional box-office economics law of going down and staying down.


True, but even with a dearth of comic book films, The Dark Knight clearly stood out, not only in box office but SIGNIFICANTLY in quality (among the fanboys/girls, the critics, AND the public at-large). Considering the in-flux of "young Hollywood" among Academy voters...and the power of the extras, a very large voting block...I am really quite shocked it didn't get the nod. When the Academy chooses to reward sub-par yet commercially viable films such as Gladiator, Titanic, Braveheart, and Forrest Gump (my opinion, folks, sorry), what message is it sending to overlook a commercial powerhouse that is ALSO intellectually valid and rewarding?


Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:01 am
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
I agree, TDK should have won at least 3 important Oscars, but who cares we will enjoy it forever and many some more to came, thaks Mr. Nolan and Dc !


Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:21 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
James Berardinelli wrote:
That's why there has never been a unanimous entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.



Image


Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:43 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
I personally am not at all surprised at Dark Knight's snub. A.O. Scott of the NY Times made a good point that there really is only a narrow set of criteria that the academy look for in their huge self congratulatory party.

My own personal view is that the large amount of late year "oscar contenders" are all about the same. Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Rachel getting married, and Frost/Nixon are all great films and none really stand out from the pack in my opinion. This of course isn't a problem for film buffs, we had a large late season helping of good movies. That being said, I still hold that Wall-E and The Dark Knight are both the two best films of 2008.

As a side comment to this thread, one thing that has always annoyed me about the Academy is that once the best film front runner is hyped, it tends to "sweep" the various categories and wins awards that it has no business winning. I have no problem with Slumdog Millionaire winning best picture, however Slumdog Millionaire does not deserve best cinematography for example (among a few other awards). Whatever your feelings on the film, Benjamin Button is the best looking film of 2008, Period.


Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:38 pm
Post Re: Slumdog and Dark Knight...
Megaman wrote:
Sorry for such a rant, but I feel like saying this:

Personally, I wasn't a big fan of Slumdog Millionaire. I liked how it showed India's evolution throughout time and paralleled its journey into the modern world with the children's journey into the world of crime and money. However, I thought the romance between the two leads was very underdeveloped and the dance number at the end very out of place considering the brutal death scenes that had come right before it.

But I still thought Slumdog deserved to be nominated because of A) its popularity with the public and B) its popularity with the critics. Such justification does not exist for the black sheep best picture nominee The Reader. It currently holds a 58 (mixed reviews) on Metacritic and a 60 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its popularity with the people, although very positive (it holds a 7.8 rating on imdb, but then again so does Saw) isn't widespread, as it has only grossed a paltry 16 million dollars off a 32 million dollar budget.

Personally, I think support was gained for the reader the same way it was for Heath Ledger's Performance in The Dark Knight. The sympathy vote was cast for producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both who died last year.

I don't mean to upset anyone, but I can't think of another reason why The Reader was chosen while unbelievably Critic and public friendly films like The Dark Knight, The Wrestler, Wall-E, and Revolutionary Road were ignored. I see a lot of people complaining about the injustice done to the aforementioned films but not much complaint with the nominees themselves.

For the record, I saw The Reader and enjoyed it more than Slumdog Millionaire, but did NOT think it was at all oscar worthy.





i agree about Slumdog's romance. I nearly rejected the whole movie because of it. They never spent much time together. I don't go around chasing childhood crushes. They are a fond memory. And once he has her, then what? He hasn't thought it through, cz she's going to want conversations and stuff.


Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:27 am
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