Tuesday, March 9, 2010

10 Biggest Pet Peeves of the Year

It wouldn't quite be the Oscars without a healthy dose of pissy complaining. Whining about who should or shouldn't have won is a grand tradition that gets a thorough workout every year, and not just for me. Everybody does it. This year had enough annoying results to compel me to make a list, which I find rather therapeutic. Here are the Oscar Nazi's ten most aggravating facets of the awards season that was:

#10. No love for Bright Star, (500) Days of Summer, The Road, or Where the Wild Things Are
Fine films all, but all sadly overlooked (save for a lone Costume Design nod for Bright Star). There really are too many films clamouring for Oscar's approval every year, and gems like these get left behind in the dust.

#9. Sandra Bullock
and The Blind Side
Thankfully, Sandra Bullock's humility and good humour throughout the season made this pill easier to swallow. But the fact remains that the performance simply isn't all that good, nor is the movie, easily the most out-of-place Best Picture nominee of the ten.

#8. Pixar's Best Picture asterisk
It's great to see this studio finally receive what it's been owed for years, but the excitement was dampened by the obvious fact that without those five additional Best Picture slots, it would never have gotten in. Add into the equation that masterpieces like WALL-E, Ratatouille, and Finding Nemo were ignored in the big category, and I can't help but be a little miffed at the way this nomination came about.

#7. The White Ribbon's Cinematography accolades
Despite receiving prizes from the LAFCA, NYFCC, NSFC, and finally the ASC, I still can't accept that Christian Berger's rather unremarkable work on Michael Haneke's bleak art house drama is awards worthy. Seriously, I have strong suspicions that the film's black-and-white format went a looooong way in securing these laurels.

#6. Inglourious Basterds and Harvey Weinstein
Harvey is a perennial peeve, blathering on about Inglourious Basterd's assured victory due to support from the actors and the preferential ballot. Thankfully, his over-aggressive campaign tipped the scales in favour of The Hurt Locker. If Tarantino had won for his structurally awkward and thematically stunted screenplay, this would be much higher on the list.

#5. Makeup snub of District 9
No singular moment this year stung quite as bad as this one. This was the difference between Best Picture nominee District 9 being an Oscar winner and going home empty-handed. How the makeup branch could have passed this over in favour of The Young Victoria will baffle me 'til the day I die.

#4. The preferential ballot
The ten-deep Best Picture field turned out to be better than I speculated a year ago, providing a diverse and mostly acceptable sampling of American film-making. The new voting system, however, is a terrible renovation, confusing voters and inciting some to strategically doctor their ballots in an attempt to bring down their favourite film's stiffest competition. They should only need to pick ONE movie.

#3. Best Supporting Actor
One of the weakest fields I've seen in this category in years. It was the same five guys throughout the entire season, and only a couple of them (Harrelson and Waltz) were truly deserving. Tucci's overcooked creepiness in The Lovely Bones overshadowed his much stronger performance in Julie & Julia. Damon's sleepwalk through Invictus didn't hold a candle to his hilarious turn in The Informant!. I'll reserve judgment on Plummer until I see his film, but even if it's good, it's clear that his nomination was a career salute, taking up a spot that could have belonged to Molina or Mackie.

#2. Dirty campaigning
There was more mudslinging this year than any I can remember. Cameron and Weinstein took the subversive approach, praising Bigelow to the point of patronization, all in an attempt to convince voters to give her Director, but not Picture. The LA Times, bored to tears by the length of the season, was particularly vicious with only a week to go before the ballot deadline, running nearly a dozen consecutive anti-Hurt-Locker stories, including Nicolas Chartier's EmailGate, which was blown way out of proportion. Fortunately it was already too late, but who knows how it may have turned out if it had happened a week earlier.

#1. Adam Shankman
None of this year's actual award winners or losers stuck in my craw as badly as this man, whose reality TV "sensibilities" clashed violently and horrifically with cinephile Bill Mechanic's classier intentions. It was quite simply the worst telecast I've seen since I've been following this nonsense, and in a sick, perverted way, it was kind of appropriate to the matter at hand. Film awards (like this show) are gaudy, silly, unsubstantial popularity contests, but what makes them so appealing is that they were always packaged as glamourous, sophisticated celebrations of art. That illusion is the Oscars' biggest appeal. The illusion was shattered by Shankman's shameless ratings lust; the show bastardized, pureed, and served on a silver spoon to audiences who only want a five-second glimpse of Miley or Zac or So You Think You Can Dance stars, before turning the TV off and going to bed.


Amir said...

i know what you mean about shankman. i didn't particularly hate the guy before the oscars, but now, *sigh*
he totally ruined the oscars for me. i didn't find anything in the show interesting, and even the tiny bits that were good (ben stiller, julianne moore's tribute to colin firth, paranormal activity parody)i'm sure had nothing to do with him.

The Oscar Nazi said...

With any luck, he'll never get this job again.