The “shameful new low” of the Academy Awards
While the incredibly prestigious and highly desirable Academy Awards has occasionally embarrassed itself with very mediocre films being nominated with this year’s 2009 crop, it has sunk to a disgraceful, all-time, shameful low – in two and a half ways:
- In a blatant attempt to compete with the escalating prestige and ratings of the Golden Globes, the Academy expanded the Best Picture Category to ten pictures instead of the usual five. By doing so, the Academy has watered down the prestige and respect of being a nominated film, by the same perverted logic the Academy could have used the same distorted and simplistic logic to expand the number nominated to fifteen, twenty, or even twenty-five. Just by asking yourself “Why ten rather than fifteen?” you already see how the value of being a nomination for Best Picture is weakened, watered down, and even prostituted by expanding it to ten, especially when you look at some of this year’s nominees – which contain some pictures that nobody wants to see even today, that are grossing only a pitiful $7 million and $11 million at today’s box office.
- 2. But even more disgraceful, more shameful, is the truly horrific, even heinous, leaving off the ten best pictures list Clint Eastwood’s biographical masterpiece, the incredibly beautiful, supremely intelligent, magnificently directed, Invictus, the story of the greatest civil rights’ leader of all time, Nelson Mandella, who – though he was always a great hero of mine and Delores’s – this film showed it in a way we never saw before, that Mandella stands shoulder to shoulder with Gandhi and King as a true Saint in the Civil Rights movement, and in some ways even surpasses them. It’s an enthralling masterpiece that will take its place as one of the great film biographies of all time.
And it’s not even nominated??? As one of the ten best pictures of the year??? Leaving Invictus off the ten best nominated list is a true cinematic sin, a sacrilege, especially when you look at some of the embarrassingly mediocre, immediately forgettable films that were nominated, such as: An Education, A Serious Man, District 9, etc..
Ten out of ten people we interviewed did not even know what three of these Best Picture nominees were – never even heard of them - and certainly had no desire to see them. Clearly, unequivocally, they were light years beyond light years of having any chance of being remembered, let alone desired, two weeks after the Academy Awards are over, let alone two years, twenty years, or seventy years from now, such as the previously great Academy Award winners as Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird, Titanic, On the Waterfront, etc., etc., etc.
Compare 2009’s pictures with the films of 1939, such legendary classics that are still shown regularly on television today: The Women, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Destry Rides Again, Gunga Din, Drums Along the Mohawk, Golden Boy, The Light the Failed, The Man in the Iron Mask, Beau Geste, Three Muskateers, Young Mr. Lincoln et al …
… and these films were NOT nominated!
When you see the films – the high quality of the films that were nominated - virtually every one is still remembered or even still shown today over 70 years later, you understand why back then, with so many magnificent films available, the Academy nominated ten pictures in the Best Picture category: Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, Wizard of Oz, Love Affair, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, Of Mice and Men. Do you honestly believe An Education, A Serious Man, District 9, Up in the Air and Inglorious Basterds will still be shown next year, let alone 70 years from now? No one is even going to see some films like A Serious Man and An Education in the theaters today.
There is no disputing the fact that by failing to even nominate Invictus as even one of the ten best pictures, cheapens the Academy and brings it to an all-time shameful low – all in a desperate attempt to try to catch up with the rapidly escalating popularity and prestige of the Golden Globe Awards.