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Archive for January 14th, 2013

by Sam Juliano

The Oscar nominations were announced on Thursday morning, and true to form there were some outrageous snubs courtesy of the Director’s branch, that again have us questioning the legitimacy and worth of an annual spectacle that has little to do with the art of film, and much to do with politics and timing.  While some of us always have fun in discussing the various possibilities and inherent drama, none one in our fraternity has ever believed the awards were worth remembering even days after the late February telecast.  It has always been a guilty pleasure, but this year with the snub of Kathryn Bigelow – who may well have achieved the best directing of any other person this past year for the film Zero Dark Thirty – the voters have embarrassed themselves and have attracted scathing editorials in the news sections of papers from both the left and right.  A further snub of Argo’s Ben Affleck (who was touted for weeks as a “lock” by prognosticators) had many others crying foul, and the dubious nomination of director David O. Russell of Silver Linings Playbook has many convinced that studio mogul Harvey Weinstein had once again wined and dined voters to win political support for the films his company produced.  Likewise, some acting omissions and the complete shut out of some worthy films made the 2012 award listing as predictably lacking, even with the deserved naming of a number of worthy pictures and artists.  Dennis Polifroni and I may well do our annual talk for the site in the coming weeks, where we will elaborate on our complaints.  In any case, AMPAS did make some excellent choices – heck, every awards groups gets some of it right annually – by showering attention on the foreign made Amour by Michael Haneke in five categories including Picture, Director and Actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and by handing 11 nominations to Ang Lee’s The Life of Pi, 8 to Les Misérables, 6 to Zero Dark Thirty and 12 to Lincoln.  I have not reached the stage of Oscar nihilism that some at this site have approached (one where even alluded to it is a sacrilege) but let’s just say I am not pleased with so much of this annual sideshow. (more…)

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