July 23, 2024
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The Odd Oscars

     The Academy Awards are bring held on Sunday night, a time when we find out the best actress, best actor and best picture of 2022. I know you’re supposed to be breathlessly amazed at how wonderful these movies are. But, at least for the moment, I take a more jaundiced view.

     I read an article the other day reporting that the “Oscar Bump” has not been as big this year as in years past. The Oscar Bump refers to a sudden increase in ticket sales for the nominated movies, since the nominations pique people’s interest.

     The article blamed Netflix for the lack of Oscar Bump, because some of the films have already been available for streaming . . . hence, people can watch at home rather than go buy tickets at the theater. There were a few other reasons cited for the lack of interest. Conspicuously absent was the fact that Oscar movies these days are obscure, often confusing, and geared toward the critics not the popular audience.

     It wasn’t always so. Titanic was best picture in 1997. The English Patient in 1996. Braveheart in 1995. Forrest Gump in 1994. Schindler’s List in 1993.

     But more recently the Oscar people have ignored the popular will, and gone for more artistic Indy films. Last year’s winner, Coda, was not a box office winner (although I saw it and liked it). But other nominees like The Power of the Dogstarring the overrated Benedict Cumberbatch, was way, er,  overrated. And Licorice Pizzawhich features two not-very-good-looking kids, was way too inside-Hollywood . . . although I must admit, I absolutely fell in love with Alana Haim.

     Anyway, with that in mind — and tongue firmly planted in cheek — here are my own personal Award winners for 2023:

     All Quiet on the Western Front. I saw this movie. I love war movies. But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why they made this. Award:  Most Irrelevant.

     Avatar: the Way of Water. Didn’t see this movie. But . . . James Cameron? Award:  Most Commercial.

     Banshees of Inisherin. Saw it. I thought it was intriguing, even though I didn’t understand it. Award:  Most Pretentious.

     Elvis. Why would I want to see this? Award:  The Retro Award.

     Everything Everywhere All at Once. Didn’t see it. But I heard you can’t possibly figure out what’s going on. Award:  Most Confusing.

     The Fabelmans. I like Steven Spielberg, but not so much that I want to know all about his childhood. Award: The Throwback Award.

     Tar. I saw it. Cate Blanchett is supposed to be a great actress. Okay, so . . . .  Award:  Most Self-Indulgent.

     Top Gun: Maverick. My wife wanted to see this one. I don’t know why . . .  Award:  The Fading Sex Symbol Award.

     Triangle of Sadness. I saw this. I do not like throw-up scenes. Award:  Most Disgusting.

     Women Talking. Didn’t see it. Award in absentia:  Most Talkative.

     You can see the full list of nominations here. But now it’s your turn. You want to nominate your favorite movie for a special award?

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