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Does Anybody Actually Take the Oscars Seriously These Days?

And people complain that Christmas starts too early! It’s still 2011 and we’re already in the heart of what might be termed “Oscar season”, the spiritual counterpart to the equally expansive “blockbuster season.” Both have very different measures of success. Success in blockbuster season is measured in the words “record-breaking” and “box office” along with various other aggressive adjectives like “smashing”, “breaking”, “crushing” or “dominating.” The winners get their choices of big budgets and high-profile roles and franchises, or the opportunity to risk it all and play again during Oscar season. The rewards at the end of Oscar season are a little gold statue and something like “artistic credibility”, along with the right to stick “Oscar-winner” in front of your name. I’d swear Meryl Streep’s mail is addressed to “Oscar-winner Meryl Streep.”

I might Doubt their credibility...

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You’d Be Muppets To Say No: Let the Muppets Host the Oscars…

UPDATE: Well, time marches on. Sometimes by the hour. It’s Billy Crystal. Not that I expected the gang to get a look-in. Still, I think the points stand.

There are days when it seems like the internet is about to explode. Somebody has a random thought, posts it or shares it, and it just catches on like wildfire. Before you know it, it seems like half the world is saying “that’s actually not a bad idea!” and the other half is saying “that’s a great idea!” The campaign to have the Muppets host the Oscars is one of those things that has just come to life, like a phoenix from the ashes of Brett Ratner’s resignation and Eddie Murphy’s departure. I generally don’t comment on these things, because they speak for themselves, and I don’t like to just run a post saying “everything these guys are saying is true!”, but this is the exception rather than the rule. I want to see the Muppets host the Oscars. I know it isn’t going to happen, but damn if it isn’t the most outrageous, ambitious and insane idea that has been suggested.

And that, my friends, is exactly why it should happen, even if it probably won’t.

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The Beginning of the End? Is It Too Early To Be Talking About “The Best of the Year”?

The New York Critics’ Circle has moved the date of their annual awards forward to 28th November. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an awfully early date for a festival designed to celebrate the best of the year that has been – especially when you consider that the logistics of posting and counting votes. It’s a full month before the end of the year! How many films are yet to be screened at this point? It got me thinking about the “best of…” polls that we inevitably see as the year draws to a close? When do people start compiling those lists?

Well, I guess we can all cut this one out of our NYCC pools...

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5% Solution: Why the Oscars’ New First-Preference Rule is a Step in the Wrong Direction…

We’re officially out of the summer blockbuster season, which might lead you to believe that it was time for us film folk to have a bit of a rest. After all, we’ve been yammering on about “box office this” and “3D that” for quite some time now, and it makes sense we’d use the lull to compose ourselves. Of course, we can’t – it’s time to start Oscar-speculating. Because I’m situated in Ireland, there’s no point in me putting together a list of potential nominees, as it would just involve plagiarising countless individuals far more informed than myself. However, I have been thinking quite a bit about the latest amendment to the Academy’s infamous “ten nominees” amendment to their Best Picture nomination process: whereby every nominee will now be required to have at least 5% of the first preference votes. The more I think about it, the more I don’t like it.

Not quite the gold standard anymore?

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Non-Review Review: The Blind Side

Is this some sort of white guilt thing?

– anonymous female friend #1

The fundamental problem with The Blind Side is that it takes Michael Oher’s struggle to overcome everything stacked against him, and makes it abundantly clear that the real hero of the story is Leigh Anne Touhy, the rich and privileged white woman who took him in. In fact, the sports legend ends up playing a supporting character in his own damn biopic.

The trouble with this story is in the telling...

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Has the Email Controversy Hurt The Hurt Locker’s Chances?

Well, balloting is official closed. The deadline has passed and, by the time you read this, counting will more than likely be under way. It’s been an interesting Oscar season, and – since this is my last post before the ceremony – I should probably make some sort of generic observation about the competition. In truth, the acting races seem to have been sewn up since before nominations were even announced, but it looks like there’s a genuine race on for the Best Picture Oscar. In the interest of objective journalism (okay, blogging), I should concede that I have a €10 bet with my brother on the race. He expects Avatar to win because (and I quote) “it looks awesome”. I was backing The Hurt Locker, but part of me wonders if the anti-Avatar fiasco means that I should just give him the tenner now and be done.

Chartier attempts to defuse the situation...

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Non-Review Review: The Reader

The first of the big Oscar nominees to be released on DVD/Blu Ray in Ireland, it’s little surprise that Dad came home with The Reader this weekend.

I like to think I’m an open-minded sort of guy. I can watch controversial films without blinking. I can even stomach the occassional political diatribe and acknowledge its well-crafted artistry (I enjoyed Lions for Lambs despite its hamfistedness). Yet The Reader just irks me. Perhaps it’s the way the film tries so hard to pass itself off as a ‘big idea’ film (and evidentally succeeded, securing a Best Picture nod). Perhaps it’s the way that it acts like it has got guts, asking tough questions when all it does is dance around them and undermine them with shameless Oscar-baiting (let’s look at german post-war guilt – but let’s make the subject of this examination an illiterate, uglied-up, pedophilic Kate Winslet).

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