Saturday, January 21, 2012

Golden Globe "analysis" and other general Oscar BS

First of all, I haven't seen The Artist yet but I plan on seeing it in early February. Thing is, most of America hasn't seen the movie either so at least I'm in the same boat with almost everyone else. That said, the fact that it's winning a slew of awards makes you think a little bit. The Artist seems to be very much a crowd pleasing type film whilst using the old school gimmick of silent filmmaking. No other film around is quite like that so you have to give it up for a film that dares to go back into silent film territory. You wonder though just how many people will see The Artist. It's not crowd pleasing the way The King's Speech was. The King's Speech was just your typical Oscar fluff. But with the Artist, you have to adjust your normal filmwatching sensibilities because there are no other silent films around. It's sort of like Slumdog Millionaire in that it makes great use of a style that is foreign to modern moviegoing audiences and yet it was a crowdpleaser because it appealed to us in a way movies in general appeal to us. It tells a story we can all understand, it captures the right emotions, and makes us react in an emotional way.

I have a certain affinity for silent films. Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton were masters. Metropolis is a masterpiece. I'm very interest in seeing how The Artist pulls it off and I love the old school black and white look to it. It's weird though to think of it as a best picture Oscar winner. I'm wondering if this will be a movie that's too self-referential and involved that a BP win would just feel too self-indulgent. We all know Hollywood is self-indulgent, but to what length must they go?

Besides, The Descendants and Hugo are crowd-pleasing enough aren't they? Both are easy to swallow, both are made by well-respected filmmakers. One is more-or-less an indie success, the other could very much use an Oscar boost. Once again I don't understand why Fox Searchlight is taking so long with the rollout with The Descendants. They do this way too often. They withhold the film for so long even when it's getting great attendance in the theaters it's playing at. Right now would be the perfect time to give the movie a wide release. It would easily cross $100 million if they released it to 2,000+ theaters. It's a crowd-pleasing dramedy starring George Clooney. What are they doing?

Hugo just had the misfortune of being released in a year where people seem content in sending their children to see the shittiest of movies. Hugo is perfect family entertainment, a great 3D movie. Studios, however, over-saturated 3D and now no one gives a shit. I bet if there were very few 3D releases from Avatar to Hugo, Hugo would have been a bigger hit.

This awards season is a weird one though isn't it? Nobody seems to be running away with anything. The Descendants won BP drama at the Globes. The Artist won BP comedy. Yet, we learned nothing. Meryl Streep won best actress, what a surprise. George Clooney won best actor, what a surprise. Best Director was given to Scorsese. It just feels weird. In one way, you gotta love a year that's so up for grabs. In another way though, it's also kinda fun when everyone seems to rally behind one film or one actor or etc. Last year it looked like The Social Network couldn't lose and then it did lose. This year, we have none of that. I guess you can say The Artist is the film that can't lose and yet no one has seen it yet, really. It's made $10 million in the US box office so far. Many regular people don't even know what the movie is all about. People in the UK don't even know it's a silent movie and want their money back (which is stupid, but whatever, UK is supposed to be the smart, sophisticated country, remember?).

Moneyball seemed to hit well with US audiences and critics but it has been quiet during the awards season. The Help was a sleeper hit last summer but aside from the possibility of one of the actresses getting an award, the film seems to have no momentum. War Horse and Dragon Tattoo did ok in the box office but neither have a strong critical backing and they also seem to have no momentum. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close seems to be dead in the water.

This isn't really an analysis because this seems to be a year where analyses won't do any good. Honestly, I'm not too emotionally attached to any of this year's Oscar hopefuls. I loved Hugo and Moneyball, but who cares if they don't win? I might really enjoy The Artist when I finally see it, but other than that, I don't really care either way if any film wins Best Picture. The race is open, but it's too open. Too open to make any predictions that seem substantial. We're gonna have to wait to see what the PGAs, the DGAs, and the SAGs say. If there seems to be a consensus growing then maybe we'll know better a month from now. For now though, we know shit.

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