OSCARS : A Night for Projectile Vomiting.
on a rant - The Oscar for least interest in awards goes to...
compelled to stop and stare at it, just like we do at the most horrendous
just over a weeks time we will be subjected to that cinematic
love-in called The Academy Awards®. There are few things outside
of human rights abuses that are guaranteed to make you reach for
the sick-bag like the Oscar® Ceremony. Yet we feel compelled
to stop and stare at it, just like we do at the most horrendous
car crash on the motorway.
Let me start with me first pet hate: The Foreign Film Oscar®.
It really ties in with the Best Film award. The Americans seem to
be under the illusion that the best film of the past year must be
in English (preferably American). I will never forget watching the
ceremony for the year that the English Patient cleaned up (I actually
liked that film, by the way). The fluent French speaker Kristin
Scott-Thomas was presenting the award with some old fat American
male. Scott-Thomas was clearly very embarrassed. You see, with the
Oscars® you cant just say here are the nominees;
no you have to have a little bit of unfunny repartee beforehand.
So the fat American said Did you know Kristin, that all over
the world right now there are people speaking a foreign language?
Jesus! I think that has got to be a contender for the most stupid
statement ever! With an I.Q. at that level he could be a contender
There is a technique
for winning the Foreign Film Oscar®. Get a cute young child. Have
him act alongside an older man. Make the film sentimental, though in
the European way that Americans seem unable to emulate. Maybe throw
in a serious subject matter, like the Holocaust . Then have Miramax
promote it. Theres nothing wrong with films like as 'La Vita E
Bella', But when they triumph over the likes of 'Kandahar', 'Farewell
My Concubine' or 'Central Station' then one has to question the validity
of the award. I think we can discount the likelihood of a film about
the plight of the Palestinian people shot on Digital Video ever winning
Remember that if you want to win any of the top five Oscars® (film,
director, actor, actress and screenplay) then you have to have a worthy
film. 'A Beautiful Mind' is a fine example of this: Russell Crowe is
a maths genius that develops schizophrenia. He battles adversity
and all comes well in the end. Dont forget to also leave out all
the awkward parts of the true story, like his bisexuality.
That wont sell to the American heartland. Does bisexuality detract
from your worthiness? Apparently so in America, but the film grossed
well over $100 million so no one cares too much.
The Oscars® are not about quality but the illusion of quality. One
knows what an Oscar winning film feels like: its not depth but
breadth. How could Miramax push 'Chocolat' onto the Best Picture nomination
list? How did 'Forrest Gump' beat 'Pulp Fiction'? How come that 'Fight
Club', one of the most original and subversive films to come out of
Hollywood since the 1970s gets totally overlooked? No, Oscars® mean
that you have to have a film about a disabled lesbian who battled adversity
to climb Mount Everest and found her piece with God which enabled her
to overcome the death of her infant daughter who was killed when she
played with Mommys gun (and have it promoted by Miramax). All
the film is spoken in English naturally, even the sherpas who guide
her up the mountain. If the character is to be a lesbian (brave decision
there, a round of applause) then the protagonist must remain chaste
By solely awarding this sort of film they not only debase the whole
system, but it means whole genres of films are totally overlooked. I
already mentioned the lack of foreign films, but what of comedy? There
was a time when Robin Williams was a comedy genius. Now all he does
supports actors with excessive orthodontic work and emote.
His performance in 'Good Morning Vietnam' was fantastic. Obviously thats
not good enough for the Academy Awards®. Eddie Murphy also is clearly
someone else who is not worthy of the Academys love. Seeing though
that in the history of the Oscars® the only black man to win has
been Sidney Poitier, Murphy can forget it. I find it genuinely amazing
how race is such a big deal for Americans. It is though and it is their
It is good to see that 'The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The
Ring' has been nominated, but I would be very surprised if it did actually
win. These sorts of films usually pick up technical awards. 'The Matrix'
should have been a contender for Best Film, but instead the Academy
focused in on the special effects.
Finally, no award ceremony would be complete without acceptance speeches.
Who could forget Gwyneth Paltrows tears, Tom Hanks proclaiming
that there was one more angel in heaven or Sally Field enthusing you
love me, you really love me? Believe me, Ive tried to forget.
I wish I could scrub it from my mind with a nailbrush. I have been scarred
by the whole event. Every year is a grotesque repeat, like an Oliver
Stone Vietnam flashback, which I have to endure. What ever happened
to talent? What ever happened to sanity? What ever happened to the concept
of the best film winning? Probably down the toilet, which is where the
whole ceremony should be flushed. Dermot Sullivan would like to recommend
Peter Biskinds book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, about
Hollywood in the 1970s when the auteur theory ruled and films kicked
© Dermot Sullivan March 2002
And the winner is?
hacks will be doing a round up of what should be getting awards later
this week. The New York critics picked 'Mulholland Drive'. but we'd
go for 'Shrek' or 'The Royal Tennabaums' anytime. Watch this space for
our own "Vitual
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