Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Weight Of Oscar

There was some debate here as of late about a certain movie and whether that certain movie was worthy of all the accolades it received. Okay, I'll just come out with it. The movie was Titanic and surprisingly enough, quite a few people have come out in its defense. Now I'm all for debate, but no one will convince me that was a great movie. And when I critique Titanic, I critique it as a movie that was honored with Oscars in most of the top categories. If you were to take all those awards away, I might say it was a fine movie. I would even go as far as saying that technically it was a brilliant movie. But since it entered the Oscar realm I have to say that the story is tired, the dialogue amateur, and a lot of the performances suspect.

The same can be said of Juno. Take away the fact that it has made many top 10 lists and has received several Oscar nominations and you might find a fun little movie. But add all that back in and you have a movie that does not measure up to all the weight that Oscar carries. Or should carry. I received an e-mail from a friend asking me if I liked Juno. My reply was, I thought that it was enjoyable but not Oscar worthy. Before the Oscar buzz of Little Miss Sunshine, I found it to be funny and heartfelt. But then there was the nomination and talk of it being Best Picture spoiler and I couldn't look at it the same way again. And then there's Crash. When I saw it on DVD, I was somewhat surprised by it. I found it to be worth the three and a half dollars I spent renting it. But certainly not best picture. Of course I'm just scratching the surface here. There are a lot more examples of this.

I feel that in this sea of movie mediocrity, anything that's half decent is suddenly held on high for the sole fact that it doesn't suck. Of course I'm not saying that a great film can't be entertaining. Entertainment is why we go to see movies. Entertainment is the price of entry. But is entertainment enough? If a movie is to carry the weight of Oscar, we should expect more.


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Ray said...

YAY for spam!!!!

Piper, I understand what you're saying. And while I do think such bitching is a little "bratish," it makes some sense also.

I think you're best examples of this are not TITANIC as much as LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and JUNO. In no way are either of these movies in the same league as TITANIC, either in scale, scope, or ambition.

What I think you fail to acknolwedge about TITANIC is that the film gives resonance to an event that resounds through history; everyone is fascinated with the event, and the movie provides us with a visual representation of not only the event itself, but also the feeling we have about the event.

Sure, the romance is corny and melodramatic; I did not fall in love with Leo the way 200 billion teenaged girls did that year as they went through their first periods. However, the rest of the film vibrates with a creative energy and wistfulness.

Oh, and CRASH fucking sucks.

Ray said...

Ugh ... I wrote YOU'RE instead of YOUR.

I apologize to thinking persons everywhere.

brian said...

I thought Crash was fine.

I liked it better when it was called Grand Canyon.

Piper said...


Go away.


I hear ya.


That's EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

Burbanked said...

Comment of the month here or anywhere, Brian! I LOVE Grand Canyon and it's got a hell of a lot of wonderful, subtle moments that Crash lacks.

While I absolutely agree that Juno and LMS before her are not what one usually considers to be Oscar-type films in terms of size and scope, I think there's certainly room for smaller, quieter, more personal movies to be honored. The truth is, perfectly deserving comedies and smaller dramas usually get the shaft from Oscar. Consider Fargo - a far, far better film than 1996's winner The English Patient, but TEP has more of a dramatic scope, a more traditional "epic" feel. Broadcast News lost to Last Emperor; To Kill a Mockingbird to Lawrence of Arabia and so on.

On balance, I always want to see "little movies that could" get the boost that they deserve by Ocar attention, but ultimately it comes down to each individual film for us to decide whether or not they deserve it. Juno's fine and fun, but I wouldn't see it enduring all that well beyond Sunday, regardless of what it does or doesn't win.

Megan said...

Well, I finally saw Juno. And I am glad that y'all can't see the way my fingers are flexing over this keyboard. Claws, that's the word I'm looking for...

The Weight of Oscar is not all that heavy. It's been fixed before, and it'll be fixed again...and I'll still watch every minute. What's wrong with me?

brian said...

Bur- Fargo is so much better than The English Patient that all this time I kept thinking that Fargo had won Best Picture. I can't get my mind to accept otherwise.

Piper said...


You're absolutely right that smaller films should win and they should have their chance to shine. Fargo got rooked.


You're right about the fixing part, and I'll watch too. But I want Oscar to be so much more.

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