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The Oscars, has the magic gone?

Oscar.jpgSo the Oscars are only hours away, and you have probably noticed from the coverage on the site, I'm just not interested this year, but that's not because of lack of quality films to favour, or because the quality films aren't getting recognition, actually they are. So what's the problem?

Well it's not the Oscars as such, it's the dirge of awards running up to them that's the problem, and I'm suffering from serious award fatigue.

The other big issue this year is that the nominees really do deserve to win, and those that have been winning the awards to date are almost sure bets to take home an Oscar. There aren't any cliffhanging moments, it seems the awards are all but decided.

Do you feel that the Oscars are sliding in their importance? Do you place any importance on them at all? If a film has an Oscar nominee or winner in it are you more likely to go and see it? Are you going to head back through the Oscar winners and see a few of the films?

I'm not so sure that they hold the same weight they once did, and there's nothing in that other than the feeling that all the other awards ceremonies are detracting from the Oscars impact.

There's also something about my expanded global view of the cinema. Now I watch so many foreign and non-Hollywood films that are never going to see the light of day at the Oscars I tend to be less influenced by them.

Perhaps though there would be a way to win back those feelings, if they opened the awards to have more categories that catered for foreign and non-Hollywood films and talent, and perhaps started doing some form of interaction with the actual audience rather than a closed panel of industry insiders who have voted on quite a few other awards panels before this date.

I'm not sure if either would work, have you some suggestions, or do you think that the Oscars aren't broken?

Either way it doesn't stop the fact that I can't watch them this morning (they start at 00:30 for me) and all the Filmstalker readers will have to rely on the Cinema Blend Oscar Chat where you can chat live with a bunch of other film fans who will be watching and discussing the Oscars along with you.

Now, with that said I'm still going to look into the Oscars for a moment, remembering the list of nominations, here's what I think about the deserving winners, although I'm not choosing every category.

Actor: Forest Whitaker without a doubt, his performance in Last King of Scotland is breathtaking, whether you know what Idi Amin was like or not.

Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy because everyone says so. I haven't seen the film, but I can just tell from the pre-hype that this is his.

Actress: Helen Mirren surely, I would love to say Judi Dench for playing that creepy woman in Notes on a Scandal, but it will be Mirren for her portrayal of the Queen.

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson because she's the all American triumph over failure story.

Animated Film: Happy Feet, because it's an ecological story and it doesn't rehash an existing script with little to disguise the story. Sorry guys, but it is Doc Hollywood.

Cinematography: Oooh, I'm not sure about this and I was going to leave it out for that reason, but it's Children of Men or Pan's Labyrinth.

Directing: Martin Scorsese because they think he should get one for all the work he's done to date. Personally I would like to see it go to Clint Eastwood or Paul Greengrass, and in that order.

Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth (Filmstalker review), and that's that.

Editing: United 93 (Filmstalker review), a stunning film which should have way more recognition.

Foreign Film: Pan's Labyrinth (Filmstalker review) will win, although I think it should be something else.

Best Picture: From the list given, it's either The Departed or The Queen, and I personally think The Departed (Filmstalker review). Sure it's a remake, but in a sea of remakes this film has done something special, it has really managed to remake a film and make it just as good if not better. Then there are the superb performances throughout.

Screenplay: That's the very reason that The Departed should take this award too, although I think it might be Children of Men.

Original Screenplay: The Queen, what else?

Do you agree? You've not got long before the Oscars actually start, and do you care about the Oscars as much these days? Are they still as important?





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Comments

I've never been able to take the oscars seriously, ever since "Shakespeare in Love" won "Best Film".

This year I can't see a bad film amongst the nominations, but I've seen some amazing acting performances this year (Damian Lewis in "Keane" and Affleck in "Hollywoodland" are two that come to mind, just from films I've seen in the last few weeks) but what do we get at the oscars? Mark Wahlberg for "The Departed"!!! Give me a break! And when all's said and done isn't Helen Mirren being nominated for a passable "imitation" of a person rather than a truly amazing acting performance (discussions about why something originally made for TV is even being nominated for "Film of the year" when it was never intended for theatrical release is probably best left to another day!)

The oscar buzz is undoubtedly helping films like "Volver", "Pan's Labyrinth" (I disagree with you - I'd have made this a nomination for film of the year, regardless of the foreign language) and "Last King of Scotland", much like "Crash" and "Brokeback Mountain" were both helped (at least on DVD) by last year's awards, but I wish some of the films which so far have LOST money at the box office through lack of marketing dollars were given more visibility.

Last year I stayed up all night to see if "Brokeback Mountain" was going to win. This year I don't feel strongly enough about any of the nominees to be bothered - they're all good films and I'd hate to have to choose one over another. I guess that's a good thing?

I haven't covered it at all on my blog and I'm not even going to watch. It's sad really... it used to be one of the highlights of the year for my wife to watch the Oscars with a bunch of friends over. But it's become so politicized and un-glamorous (despite the dresses) that it just feels like we're watching a bunch of spoiled kids congratulating each other and making socio-political statements via both their speeches and selections of nominated films.

Vic

I am a huge movie fan and will watch anything and everything, except horror. besides that; i really am regulary entertained by excellent stories/directing/producing/acting etc but have never really got into watching awards.

And nowdays with reality this and reality that the oscars just feels like a Live Gossip Magazine. I am always interested in the results, but must agree that the actors are sometimes portrayed as spoilt children, maybe they are.

While the American sites are all speculating as each result is announced The Daily Telegraph web site has already posted all the winners up before they've been announced.

A few surprises there, most notably The Best Film. I won't say any more about the other awards in case someone's watching live and doesn't want to know the results in advance, but if you don't want to stay up all night pop over to The Telegraph and click on the "Winners in pictures" link - the winners are all listed there.

I've never been able to take the Oscars seriously, ever since "Shakespeare in Love" won "Best Film".

That's how it started for me too Ian, although I have to go back to 1997 when they awarded Titanic Best Picture over L.A. Confidential, I forgave them that year but not the following year when Saving Private Ryan lost out.

There's just too many awards being handed out all the way to the Academy season, surely the novelty must wear off for some of them, or the Oscar to most is still the much coveted?

Your picks have proven to be generally fairly prescient, I must say.

As for the Oscars, I don't think they've had any real critical weight for a long time, but their commercial weight is still worth reckoning with. A lot of films seem to take on new box office life after an Oscar nod. And I know people who've been rushing in the last few weeks to see as much as they can of all the big Oscar nominees before the big event. So they must matter to someone.


Good point, James.

Thanks James, wasn't too hard if you follow all the previous awards, that was really the point. Mind you I am chuffed I came very close, and that's without looking at the leaked results Ian!

So what could be done to lure you all back to the Oscars then?

Bring back Billy Crystal to host it and they can start by nominating well-deserving films for one thing!

I have a question for Richard, out of curiousity, why would you pick Eastwood over Scorsese for Best Director? I have not seen Letters from Iwo Jima nor Flags of our Fathers, did you like it better than Marty's work in The Departed?

I haven't seen either either Simone...does that make grammatical sense?

However I do believe that Scorsese is getting this Oscar for "work to date" which is a cop out since this is Best Director of the Year, not of Career.

From what I've seen and heard of Eastwood's films they are something special indeed, and thinking of the whole subject and the different viewpoints in each film , he has managed to create something special.

As James said elsewhere, Departed is still a very similar remake.

Scorsese has been nominated 5 times to the Academy and lost.

Raging Bull (1980) lost to Robert Redford's Ordinary People

Last Temptation of Christ (1988) lost to Barry Levinson for Rain Man

Goodfellas (1990) lost to Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves

Gangs of New York (2002) lost to Roman Polanski for The Pianist

The Aviator (2004) lost to Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby

And last night he finally got his 1st Oscar for The Departed, and not just that, as the film also got the Best Picture. I have not seen all of Marty's nominated work, just 4 from that list and many others, but I contend that Taxi Driver should have earn him a nomination in 1976. Now even if I have said earlier that I have lost my faith in the Academy I doubt if they felt that they owed Marty something by awarding him the Oscar Best Director for work-to-date, and not because of his work in The Departed. I think that they should have given the Best Director to him in 2004 instead of giving it to Eastwood, until today I cannot comprehend how Million Dollar Baby got away with murder - pun intended.

Awards can't be based on a culimnation of near misses, thats like saying i finished second in all my races this year so i should be declared the winner cause its my turn.

A true awards ceremony would use an impartial voting system not affected by corporate handouts and "assured" investments. It needs to be more surprising and definitely needs spicing up. Watch the oscars fade more and more until they cahnge it up.

You totally lost me there pablo.

Simone - "I think that they should have given the Best Director to him in 2004 instead of giving it to Eastwood, until today I cannot comprehend how Million Dollar Baby got away with murder - pun intended."

Allow me to explain, Million Dollar Baby was a better more dramatic film Simone.

Nothing wrong with the Aviator I should add, I enjoyed it, it was a well made film but not a great one, the story had been told before and the lead actor while giving a good performance looked too boyish for the role of Hughes.

Why should Marty be awarded for a film which few would consider one of his greatest other than for reasons of sentimentality? Any good director could have made that movie.

Morbius, as you can see, I clearly said I think, meaning my opinion, and I stand by it.

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