Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Archive: February, 2010

POSTED: Friday, February 5, 2010, 4:57 PM
Janet Gaynor and George O'Brien in F.W. Murnau's "Sunrise"

Here's an idea that would fulfill Oscar's mission to boost its sagging television ratings and honor cinematic art: Separate categories for Best Picture and Most Artistic Picture.

Interestingly, those two separate categories were in force at the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929 (honoring the films of 1927 and 1928) where Wings, William Wellman's soaring aviation action flick, was named outstanding picture and Sunrise, F. W. Murnau's atmospheric portrait of an apparently doomed couple who reconcile, was named most unique and artistic.

Good idea, or what? And how would Oscar history be re-written if these two categories had been observed? My guess is that in 1982, E.T. would have been named best picture and Gandhi most artistic.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 3, 2010, 2:17 PM
Why no Oscar love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Zooey Deschanel in "500 Days of Summer"?

Once again, in its nominations for the best films of 2008, Academy voters show they they don't get the joke. At Oscar time, comedies such as Julie & Julia, 500 Days of Summer and The Hangover are inevitably passed over because at Hollywood's annual throwdown serious movies get taken more seriously.

And not only in the best picture and screenplay categories: In the acting categories you'd have to go back to 1977 when Richard Dreyfuss won for The Goodbye Girl and Diane Keaton for Annie Hall and 1987 when Cher won for Moonstruck and 1997 when Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson won statuettes for As Good as It Gets to see lead actors awarded for a movie comedy.

Nancy Meyers, who writes movie comedies such as Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated observed the unfairness of this bias a few years back when she told me that considering the degree of difficulty involved, the bias against comedy is a raw deal: "In drama, you have a big target. In comedy, you have to hit the bullseye." To put it another way: Oscar rewards the tears of a clown, but not the clown himself: Robin Williams didn't win an Oscar till he wept in Good Will Hunting. Tom Hanks gives a once-in-a-lifetime performance in Big, but gets Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 11:50 AM
Kissing Adversaries: Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock suck face at an awards show.

To the extent that the Oscars are symbolic of professional acceptance of women outside the acting ranks, today's announcement of Academy Award nominations are gratifying on several fronts.

Kathryn Bigelow became the fourth woman to get a best director nod. Here's what I said today about what her win might represent.

Two of the 10 best picture nominees, Bigelow's The Hurt Locker and Lone Scherfig's An Education, are directed by female helmers.

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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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