24 January 2012
  what's to say?

i think at this point there are a number of conclusions one can make after seeing this morning's oscar nominations announcement.

1. this three year experiment must be brought to an end, bringing the best picture category back to a five nominee slate. when the change was originally introduced, it was presented as a way to honor more of each year's most deserving work. what has clearly happened over and over again is that the same brilliant filmmaking that was ignored before the change is continuing to get ignored. instead, the best picture category has simply made more room for mediocre-but-oscar-baity material and the works championed by powerful hollywood producers. after three years of >5 nominees, we still have powerful works like drive and melancholia left out, but have a growing list of dubious and all but already forgotten best picture nominees like district 9, the kids are all right, and now—

2. extremely loud and incredibly close. seriously. i can't say so definitively, but this will have to go down as one of if not the all time worst reviewed best picture nominee in history. even the 44 percent of the film's reviews rotten tomatoes is claiming as positive are at best tepid. all this nomination shows is that producer scott rudin and directed stephen daldry are becoming matched only by the weinsteins in their power over the oscar voting community.

3. i am finally willing to openly accede to the argument that has been made over and over again over the past several years: the academy is simply out of touch. it was so easy for them to just hand over a best pic nomination to steven spielberg, as well as two nominations to his films' scorer john williams, despite the fact that they produced bland, unoriginal and self-derivative work, while completely ignoring edgier and far more deserving films like drive, shame and we need to talk about kevin. i guess one can hope that we might be finally reaching a point where it is actually cooler to be snubbed by oscar rather than recognized by it. i'm sure that's how tilda and michael feel at least.

4. the best original song category needs to be put out of its misery. this has been patently obvious for years now. the songs nominated in this category are almost invariably terrible, contributing little to the films they are featured in. it is difficult even to remember the winners in this category over the past decade. now this year we have a category with just two nominees, one of which nobody who has seen the film even remembers. We need to switch over to a new category that recognizes excellence in film music more generally. this will be a category to honor works like black swan, inglorious basterds, magnolia, drive and others that superbly use music to tell their story, but not necessarily in the form of a score.

5. and finally, the documentary category. there are no words. year after year the academy simply refuses to even nominate the year's best works in this genre, let alone give it the ultimate prize. i don't know who is orchestrating the debacle that is the year's best documentary feature, but let's just fire her and be done with it.
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