Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Some initial Oscar gripes (because we live in a society of complaint)

- Is it finally the year when we just give up the fraud and change the name from Best Director (or Best Achievement in Directing) to "Best Guy or Gal who Directed a Best Picture-Nominated film, plus One Other Guy We Happen to Like." I like the job that Jason Reitman has done, both with Juno and Thank You for Smoking. I've said about Michael Clayton that if it were directed by an established French auteur rather than some guy named Tony Gilroy. everyone would be gushing over it (more than they already are). That unfolds into a compliment. I think. In fact, I think there's a decent argument for a Gilroy nomination.

Still, Juno and Clayton are both primarily script movies, with Clayton having the additional benefit of There Will Be Blood's cinematographer Robert Elswit (plus strong performances). Did the director's work here measure up to more director-oriented projects by Todd Haynes, Andrew Dominik, David Fincher, Mira Nair, Tim Burton, John Carney, etc.? Did Clayton or Juno have the same signature of personal vision sprouting from the director's chair? I'm not convinced in either case.

- The music categories are a wasteland. I'll probably write a full post on this later today or tomorrow. Best Original Song has three songs from Enchanted and a single song (I presume, "Falling Slowly") from Once. Do Academy members really sit around and listen to Disney movie songs on their iPods? This makes the Grammys look progressive. Meanwhile, the scores are the typically anonymous orchestral scores. I said that if Atonement got a nomination I would slit my wrists. I was exxagerating. I'm still here.

- The Thin Man. Citizen Kane. Lawrence of Arabia. Chinatown. Ratatouille. One of these scripts is not like the other. Did this "Little Train that Could" story for culinary-minded mice really get a screenplay nomination?

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