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March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars" 
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Post March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
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Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:27 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Well said. Avatar will be remembered a lot longer than The Hurt Locker. But even without the 3D, Avatar still ranks among the best pure entertainment out there. It's an enthralling epic in the same manner that Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings are. Not to mention that it worked better on an emotional level than any other movie in 2009, at least IMHO. People love to harp on the 3D breakthrough, and for good reason. But even if you take that away, I still think Avatar is Best Picture-worthy.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:50 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
I agree that the Oscars go on for too long, and that the Hughes tribute was completely ridiculous. If he gets a 15 minute send off, Scorsese or Spielberg would deserve an hour. However, James, I strongly disagree with your take on why The Hurt Locker beat Avatar and how it will be looked upon in 20 years. Technological achievements and record-breaking box office do not warrant a best picture oscar; a nomination, yes, but not a win. Looking strictly at this past decade, Lord of the Rings swept because it was the most magnificent piece of epic storytelling Hollywood had put out in eons. For Avatar to have the same Oscar success would have implied that Cameron's film is on that same level, which it most certainly is not. I know you love the movie in earnest, but I honestly do not see enough artistic merit in Avatar for best picture; beneath its presentation, the material is more or less Disney. Hurt Locker, on the other hand, is the first great Iraq war film, and arguably the stand-out war movie of its decade. It presents a fascinating character study in the midst of a kind of war action I haven't really seen before (i.e. the shoot-out scene with Fiennes). I do agree that academy members were anything but eager to give it all to Cameron again, figuring that Titanic was enough. But I also believe that the voters honestly thought Hurt Locker to be deserving of the award, and that it was the best film of 2009. So what if the mainstream isn't familiar with it in 20 years? They're not familiar with most classic movies either, but that doesn't make a difference. Quality should ideally be the only thing on the minds of the voters, and based on the last several best picture winners (except Crash), I would say that is the case.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:59 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Disney has made more than a handful of good-to-great movies last time I checked.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:10 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
KRoss wrote:
Disney has made more than a handful of good-to-great movies last time I checked.


Good to great in their own right, sure, but not necessarily that sophisticated. I know more sophisticated doesn't always mean higher quality, but Avatar was up against much more serious material, and in my opinion that must be taken into account.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:37 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
I already posted this elsewhere, but I suppose it's more appropriate here.

Suffice it to say that I agree with James on The Hurt Locker, but not which film was given short shrift.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:45 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
After BASTERDS, I would say THE HURT LOCKER is the second best of the Picture nominees. That's not bad, Academy.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:49 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
I agree with James that Avatar will be better-known in twenty years than The Hurt Locker... but in the same way that Jurassic Park is still (arguably) better known than Schindler's List. Popularity does not always indicate quality (Avatar is one of the few films of recent years that I have vehemently disagreed with James about), but that's a point that hardly needs belabored here... we all saw the gross receipts for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:52 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
What exactly does being remember mean? As a classic film? 'Avatar' is an amazing technical achievement, but little else. The screenplay is as poorly written as any of the Star Wars prequels an the acting isn't any better. In 10 years when it has long been surpassed in effects, people will look back and scratch their heads as to why it was so popular. If 3-D TVs don't catch on, it will be even worse. The view of 'Titanic' hasn't held up well and at least that movie had charismatic star power.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:54 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
"There's one winner and four losers. That's the way it is. Trying to pretend otherwise is pointless. In fact, I'd be okay if they tried a reverse announcement: "And the four losers are…" In a situation like that, I wonder how long it would take for the winner to react. "


I don't know whether it was half-jokingly stated or not, but it's really harsh. They didn't do anything wrong, after all.


And I don't really see why you have a problem (even a little one) with The Hurt Locker's win. You didn't think it was that good but it is the best film of the year according to critics and the Academy should be proud of their decision. I mean, if they had chosen Avatar, people would say that it won because it made faaaaaaaar more money than The Hurt Locker did. I guess there will always be complains.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:07 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Whether its more sophisticated or not should have nothing to do with whether its a better film.

I felt that Avatar was a fantastic film, four stars out of four, however, I still feel that The Hurt Locker was a better film; both Avatar and The Hurt Locker went beyond the ingenuity of their filmmaking and involved you with the characters, making everything happening in the film just that much more important. However, The Hurt Locker went beyond its characters and into its characters, involving you in their inner turmoil as well as what happened to them; that isn't to say Avatar didn't achieve this as well, but not quite to the extent The Hurt Locker did. This reasoning alone is also excluding the cinematography (which should have gone head to head with Inglourious Basterds as opposed to Avatar, just sayin'), the acting and Bigelow's direction. The Hurt Locker was, in my and many others opinions, the best of film of 2009, as well as one of the best of the decade.

I will admit though the ceremony was boring.

My top five of the year...
5 - Avatar (James Cameron)
4 - Up in the Air (Jason Reitman)
3 - Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
2 - Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
1 - The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)

I'd include Sion Sono's four-hour character epic Love Exposure at number five before Avatar, however, it has yet to be released in North America, so for the purposes of this post, I leave it out. However, I still feel this five films should have battled it out for Best Picture and other nominations; Where the Wild Things Are was sadly ignored at the Oscars and other Awards shows this year.


Last edited by JJoshay on Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:19 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Who really takes the Oscars seriously aside from the money-grubbing studio execs, anyway? I stopped showing any semblance of caring after Forrest Gump got the nod over Pulp Fiction in 1994. If awards could be given by a panel of judges chosed to be completely impartial, then it would mean more to me. Watching Hollywood performing auto-fellation is boring.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:21 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Hey Everyone, long time reader but first time post.

I agree with all of your points. The Oscars were boring and many element of the event, such as the John Hughes tribute were uneccessary. I was also annoyed at their blatant parading of terrible young actors like Taylor Lochner and the dude from High School Music as a way to get younger viewers interested. Leave the Oscars for real actors. Unlike a lot of these posts, I agree with your view of Avatar. While I too think that The Hurt Locker was a fantastic film, I think Avatar got robbed, and I agree that even Inglourious Basterds was a better movie. Katheryn Bigelow was a great director so I don't dispute her award, but Best Picture? No, I think Avatar was a greater movie overall and I agree with James that the Academy must have had some sort of gripe against James Cameron. In the future I will be saying of the Hurt Locker that is was a great movie that I saw once, while Avatar will be a movie that I will never gorget and will rush out to purchase the DVD of. The fact is that I have never gotten chills up my back the way Avatar induced when I viewed it in theaters. The Hurt Locker certainly didn't do that.


Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:52 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Why would James want to see Letterman host with Leno and O'Brien? Has he forgotten about his disastrous work as host back in 1995?


Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:19 am
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
ck100 wrote:
Why would James want to see Letterman host with Leno and O'Brien? Has he forgotten about his disastrous work as host back in 1995?

After the whole saga involving Leno's return to the Tonight Show at O'Brien's expense, perhaps JB would like to see all 3 of them together in a FIGHT TO THE DEATH!! KUMITE!!


Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:40 am
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
ck100 wrote:
Why would James want to see Letterman host with Leno and O'Brien? Has he forgotten about his disastrous work as host back in 1995?

After the whole saga involving Leno's return to the Tonight Show at O'Brien's expense, perhaps JB would like to see all 3 of them together in a FIGHT TO THE DEATH!! KUMITE!!


And Beyond Thunderdome even!


Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:41 am
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Even with all of the Avatar vs Hurt Locker talk, the No. 1 thing I took away from the Oscars was this...

The "speeches" sucked.

Think about it dude (and by dude I don't mean just Jeff Bridges). You won an Oscar. This is the highlight of your career. You've just won the most prestigious award in Hollywood. You may never make it back here. Everything has built toward this. You're on prime-time TV. And in most cases, you've been aware for weeks that you'd win. You're an entertainer. So say something interesting. Tell a joke or a brief anecdote. Compliment your fellow nominees. Be gracious. Or make a political statement, I don't care. Just make it fun for the viewers. Show some emotion. Put your heart and soul into it. Give us something to talk about.

A speech should not be defined as a list of thank-yous, but that's precisely how many people are interpreting it nowadays. We may not see a memorable acceptance speech (Cuba Gooding Jr, Geoffrey Rush, Halle Berry, Michael Moore, just to name a few) for quite some time. Until someone brings some meat to the table, we're stuck with Hollywood's version of the Super Bowl Halftime Show post-Nipplegate.


Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:58 am
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
I mentioned this on the Oscar blog thread, but my favorite part of the whole THL/Avatar discussion was the IMDB message boards. You would have thought the entire "nerd" population was going to commit hari-kiri or something. The violent reaction to THL winning was just so over-the-top, it was ridiculous.

As far as Avatar not winning Best Picture, it already did, when it was called Dances With Wolves. Nah, I'm just playing, haven't seen either of of those, so I can't speak from personal experience.


Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:44 am
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
ugh... Avatar. My beef with the film is that, aside from the motion capture, which was impressive, the visuals didn't do it for me. Whilst I had a slight wow-moment during one of the interminable montage sequences, it was nothing I hadn't seen before while playing video games. Pretty for the sake of pretty doesn't cut it, not when you have Final Fantasy XIII around. It was kind of like watching a friend playing a videogame. For three hours. Knowing he had GOD-mode on and couldn't lose. How is that comparable to the on-edge-of-cinema-seat-thrill of the unpredictible Hurt Locker (which was a splendid action film and not an "Iraq" film. In fact, it was remarkable apolitical).

And 3D is and always will be a gimmick, as Ebert said (paraphrasing), it's a waste of a perfectly good dimension. In fact, I felt 3D detracted from the Avatar experience, as the screen I saw it on (IMAX) framed the contents so that I was always reminded of the fact that it was artificial.


Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:15 am
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
There's no mystery to me why Avatar didn't win: the story. Academy voters love good stories with substance, but Avatar was banal and predictable. If the story came anywhere close to the fantastic visual innovations, it would have been a shoo-in for Best Picture.


Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:47 am
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