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March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars" 
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
"One little thing that pleased me was the return of the phrase "And the winner is…" I was never fond of the ultra-PC "And the Oscar goes to…" Call a spade a spade. There's one winner and four losers. That's the way it is. Trying to pretend otherwise is pointless."

As Steve Martin said, Meryl Streep's record of most nominations can also be seen as most losses.


Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:58 am
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Just because a movie "will most likely be remembered 20 years from now" does not mean it should have a better chance of winning best picture. Yeah, it's the highest grossing film of all time, but as mentioned before popularity DOES NOT equal quality. Even though the film was making money, I never really got that vibes from movie goers that it was an excellent movie. There was no real "word of mouth". Not like "Titanic" which started off small, but remained consistent for months later.
Twenty years ago, I remember Ghost more than I remember Dances With Wolves, but I still believe DWW to be a whole lot better movie.
Simply put THL is a much better movie and the Academy agreed and rightfully gave it the best motion picture category. It deserved all its awards, and should also have won best cinematography, with Avatar actually losing that one.


Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:09 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
slksc wrote:
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.


Yep, that's the God's honest truth.


Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:57 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
My gut feeling says that if Avatar made 300 million instead of 700 million, far fewer people would be criticizing its story and slamming it as style over substance. I feel that it has so much more heart than the average blockbuster. We have such a strong urge to tear down that which is successful. But I think we all knew that.


Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:38 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
KRoss wrote:
My gut feeling says that if Avatar made 300 million instead of 700 million, far fewer people would be criticizing its story and slamming it as style over substance. I feel that it has so much more heart than the average blockbuster. We have such a strong urge to tear down that which is successful. But I think we all knew that.


You are right about our urge to tear down that which is successful and to praise smaller movies like Hurt Locker or A Serious Man. A hugely successful movie has to be EXTREMELY good to warrant an sling of awards to go along with its box office in my opinion; I'm talking Lord of the Rings good. Avatar, while an impressive feat of filmmaking, just isn't good enough; not a 4 star movie imo.


Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:49 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
KRoss wrote:
My gut feeling says that if Avatar made 300 million instead of 700 million, far fewer people would be criticizing its story and slamming it as style over substance. I feel that it has so much more heart than the average blockbuster. We have such a strong urge to tear down that which is successful. But I think we all knew that.
As far as the people here are concerned, I would wager that most of the people criticizing Avatar saw it before anybody had any idea of how enormously lucrative it would be.


Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:39 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
I was disheartened that you belittled the achievement of Kathryn Bigelow as best director. This was the most important result of this year’s Oscars. Only four women have been nominated for this honor. AND, she won for a decidedly male genre! You consider this with the recent power women have been demonstrating at the box office (Twilight, Sex in the City…) and it becomes even more significant.


Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:55 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Ken wrote:
As far as the people here are concerned, I would wager that most of the people criticizing Avatar saw it before anybody had any idea of how enormously lucrative it would be.


This.

When I sat in the theater, I knew it would be successful, but not nearly as much as it turned out to be.

For me, Avatar was painful to sit through. Another white man's fantasy about leading the helpless natives to victory because they can't do it for themselves. It was somewhat groundbreaking back in the day with Dances with Wolves. It was tolerable until the ludicrously over-the-top ending in The Last Samurai. But in Avatar, I wanted to wretch when that horrifically self-indulgent line, "This is OUR land!" (seriously?), left the speakers.

It's a technical masterpiece, but it'll be surpassed someday.

I'm glad THL won; it's one of the best war movies I've ever seen. And I'm a bona fide science fiction geek.


Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:19 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Monica wrote:
I was disheartened that you belittled the achievement of Kathryn Bigelow as best director. This was the most important result of this year’s Oscars. Only four women have been nominated for this honor. AND, she won for a decidedly male genre! You consider this with the recent power women have been demonstrating at the box office (Twilight, Sex in the City…) and it becomes even more significant.


It would be meaningful if the Oscar actually meant anything. Outside of the moment, it means nothing. Historically, it's trivia. That's the point. It's not a significant accomplishment because it has such a short shelf life. Who won Best Director in 1985? 1995? 2003? If you can answer those questions without looking them up, you have a better memory than I do.

20 years from now, Bigelow will be the answer to a trivia question.

Her Oscar victory is in no way a comment on her ability as a filmmaker, which is considerable. It's just that winning the Oscar doesn't carry the weight some people would like it to.

This was written not as a statement about Bigelow but about the (un)importance of the Oscar she was awarded.


Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:50 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
To put it more bluntly: Yes, it's nice that a woman is making it in a man's world... but how's the movie?


Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:08 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
KRoss wrote:
My gut feeling says that if Avatar made 300 million instead of 700 million, far fewer people would be criticizing its story and slamming it as style over substance. I feel that it has so much more heart than the average blockbuster. We have such a strong urge to tear down that which is successful. But I think we all knew that.

That's only partially true. Personally, I don't think Avatar is a bad movie, only that it is average - I rate Avatar at about the same level as Troy. And I did enjoy Troy. But I am a little annoyed that Avatar is getting a free pass on its Phantom-Menace-level dialogue and getting its derivative, banally-told story hailed as worthy of Best Picture, not because it earned so much money.

I think the quality of a movie should be judged by how effective it is, regardless of technical achievements. Yes, Lord of the Rings was awesome. But when we think of our favourite moments in LotR, do we think of the sweeping panorama of Minas Tirith? The detailed hellscape of Mordor? No, we think of "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" or when Aragorn first unsheaths Anduril, or the charge of the Rohirrim. Similarly the velociraptor kitchen scene in Jurassic Park is effective because it is tense and well-choreographed, not because the velociraptors looked amazingly real (though that certainly helped). Ditto with the Death Star trench run, the T-800's final thumbs-up, etc, etc.

What about Avatar? I last watched Avatar way more recently than any of the aforementioned examples, yet I can't remember a single standout scene.


btw, :lol: on the use of "kerfuffle". Is that a Little Britian reference, or is it just a daily word?


Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:32 am
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Quote:
What about Avatar? I last watched Avatar way more recently than any of the aforementioned examples, yet I can't remember a single standout scene.


Well for me:

- Jake's first flight
- the love scene beneath the Tree Of Voices
- Jake's confession to Neytiri about being a spy
- the destruction of Hometree
- the last "I See You" scene between Jake and Neytiri
- the last scene

All of the above connected me on an emotional, not just visual, level, as did Avatar in general, frankly more than Troy or Star Wars ever did. But I can only speak for myself.


Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:14 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
James thanks for the clarification on Bigelow. I am in agreement with you regarding the Oscars. I boycotted last year after being a big fan of them for over 25 years. This year I forgot to watch them. (I gave up on the Oscars because of The Fall which you disliked. It deserved at least a nod for cinematography, costume or art direction.) However, Bigelow and The Hurt Locker winning had me hating them less. For the record I loved Avatar and think James Cameron is brilliant. As for it deserving to win I’m not sure how it will age. I saw it in the theatre twice and have to admit I won’t be renting it or buying it without being able to view it in 3D. Personally my favorite movie of the year was Star Trek which I saw four times and bought immediately. In the end I think The Hurt Locker deserved to win when you consider the Oscars should celebrate film as art more than entertainment.


Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:57 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Ever since 1977 the Oscars have been DEAD TO ME.

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Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:58 am
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Hi James

I'm curious, what's your source for the all-time top 20 (unadjusted) movies? I'm looking for similar statistics for my own site (which currently has probably all of about 2 readers!). I checked Wikipedia, but it disagreed with your placing of Forrest Gump, listing it at #38 rather than inside the top 20 as you stated.

Great post, btw :-)

Alastair


Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:25 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
alastairs wrote:
Hi James

I'm curious, what's your source for the all-time top 20 (unadjusted) movies? I'm looking for similar statistics for my own site (which currently has probably all of about 2 readers!). I checked Wikipedia, but it disagreed with your placing of Forrest Gump, listing it at #38 rather than inside the top 20 as you stated.

Great post, btw :-)

Alastair


There's plenty of good sources like boxofficemojo and the-numbers


Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:30 pm
Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Thanks Patrick, these look like great resources :-)


Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:35 pm
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Post Re: March 11, 2010: "Grouching the Oscars"
Patrick wrote:
alastairs wrote:
Hi James

I'm curious, what's your source for the all-time top 20 (unadjusted) movies? I'm looking for similar statistics for my own site (which currently has probably all of about 2 readers!). I checked Wikipedia, but it disagreed with your placing of Forrest Gump, listing it at #38 rather than inside the top 20 as you stated.

Great post, btw :-)

Alastair


There's plenty of good sources like boxofficemojo and the-numbers


My source is boxofficemojo.


Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:54 pm
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