The usual pointless farrago of asskissery and balls-out flint-eyed marketeering fancied up with a couple of handfuls of pink frosting, but a few points sprang to mind on a brief spin through the results.
1. Boy, the producers of True Grit must have really pissed someone off. Not a sniff of a golden dildo. I would have laid money on Roger Deakin’s luminous photography getting the nod, and I’m on record about my admiration for the acting skills of Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross.
2. when it comes to supporting actor/actress, bigger is clearly better. In terms of performance, that is. I thought Christian Bale sailed pretty close to the wind in The Fighter, but Melissa Leo ran up all her flags and bared her fangs at the storm. Cartoony performances go down well with Oscar, and Leo’s role as the Ward matriarch was as broad as it gets. I thought Amy Adams was better, frankly.
3. The only reason anyone’s disappointed that Exit Through The Gift Shop didn’t win? It would have been fun to see what Banksy would have come up with. Inside Job is this week’s cinema trip, and by all accounts it lives up to the high reputation it’s received.
4. SF films have to make do with technical Oscars. The Awards Committee is full of actors who look to script and performance rather than the whole package. It’s blatantly clear that they’re not interested in films with a fantastic bent, and Inception is just the latest example of this tiresome snobbery. These films will get a pat on the head for looking and sounding pretty, then sent off to play while the grown-ups take the stage.
5. The King’s Speech should have won the award for Film Most Likely To Tickle The Academy’s Fancy. Historical drama? Check. Historical drama featuring Brits with plummy accents? Check. Historical drama featuring BRITISH ROYALTY? Check-o! Historical drama featuring a British royal with a disability? OMG Checky Checkington III! It was so blatantly tooled to the Academy’s proven weaknesses that the other nine nominations might as well just not bothered turning up.
Once again, there will be crowing about what a great day this is for British film. No, it’s not. British film is in a real state, and tosh like The King’s Speech only puts a pretty mask on an increasingly withered and ugly old trouper. There was no official British presence at the Chermont International Short Film Festival this year, despite a strong independent showing. British short film is blooming, as Shaun Tan’s deserved Oscar in the Short Film category made clear, but otherwise things are looking grim. I shudder to think what representation or support there’ll be for Brit film-makers at Cannes. The King’s Speech shows the idea of a British film becoming caged up into a shrinking pool of acceptable subjects. Funding for films that fall outside this net will only become more and more difficult to achieve, in a market that’s vanishing day by day.
Meanwhile, over at the Razzies, I was delighted to see M. Knight Shamalangadingdong’s Last Airbender get the thorough kicking it deserved. Until I saw that it had taken $360million worldwide, despite the fan-hate and critical pantsing the movie had endured. That means the rotten thing actually made a profit. It also shows that Oscar is meaningless. In it’s way, Last Airbender was as successful as any of the Oscar winners last night, in that it accomplished it’s primary objective. It made money, and without any of the posturing and shmaltz that the rest of the industry had to put up with last night.
Having an Oscar is great for marketing purposes, but if you can make a buck without it, you have to question the point of the whole exercise.
(EDITED, once I realised I was claiming that there were no British short films at Chermont. Very not true, and X&HTeamate Nick Scott was there flying the flag amongst many others.)