Oscars: The Madness of a 10-Film Shortlist

26 Jan

Last year was the first time we saw more than 5 films nominated in one category, the coveted award of Best Picture. It was a farce: there have only been a couple of occasions where the winner of Best Picture and Best Director have been for two different films, and extending the list outwards to appease some people who believe that blockbusters have their place in serious awards ceremonies. Which is often rubbish.

Still, this year has included Christopher Nolan’s brain-warping puzzler of a thriller Inception so surely this means Blockbusters are getting good? Well, yeah – but only if people like Nolan do them, don’t patronise an audience and show some actual originality in their work. Avatar should never have been on the shortlist last year and James Cameron shouldn’t have been in the Best Director category – there was nothing to direct thanks to the “miracle” of motion-capture and the movie was basically a soulless Dances With Blue Wolves against evil American overlords, with a subtext so obvious it might as well have been a brick with the words “Save the Planet” scrawled on it pounding you in the face. Luckily, Inception doesn’t tick any of those terrible boxes.

It does, however, suffer from the curse of the Best Director award: now it’s easier to sift the classic from the average as one comparison between the Best Picture and Best Director categories tells you who’s really in the running.

There’ll be a showdown between The King’s Speech and The Social Network (which pretty much already has the Best Original Soundtrack award in the bag). But no Nolan – so there you go, Inception won’t win anything but maybe some more minor awards. Poor Nolan. When will he get his moment in the spotlight?

So there you have it: what’s the point in having 10 films on the shortlist when you know five of them don’t stand a chance? It’s simply mind-boggling and like the Academy are just putting things in there are as cheap ways of saying “we’re not snobs” – so that’ll be the token Blockbuster and the token animation then. Nice one, panel. That’s one rant over. Now to the other categories….

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