Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Box-Office should not be Correlated with Nominations

Although I recently commented on the dark nature of 2006 cinema, I am very satisfied with the majority of the nominees selected for best picture.

In the past 48 hours my friend Anthony sent me this article from World Magazine and Adam sent me this Star-Telegram article.

Both articles complain that the academy has lost touch with popular culture and have ignored what is largely popular in the box office.

What do they expect? Anna Faris to get a supporting nod for Scary Movie 4, or more recognition for films like Talladega Nights? How in the world did Kate Beckinsale not get any award recognition for her role in Click?

If box office was in charge of choosing the best actor of the year we'd be seeing Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean), Ben Stiller (Night at the Museum), Hugh Jackman (X-Men: The Last Stand, unless he was campaigned supporting), Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), and Tom Hanks (Da Vinci Code).

In this line of thinking Danielle Steele surely would have won the Pulitzer Prize for literature by now, and Mary Hart and Entertainment Tonight crew would have definitly won the Peabody Award for excellence in journalism many times over.

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Jeff Reed said...

I thought the Pop Culture Awards already existed as part of the MTV Award Show?

We have been experiencing a dumbing down of society in American Cinema. In school we call it the Hollywood ending. The guy gets the girl. Good defeats evil. The bomb doesn't explode. How unrealistic is that? Bombs do explode, the girl is more likely to go for the other girl, and evil wins more than we give it credit for.

Filmmakers who are actually brave enough to challenge the Hollywood ending are often criticized for it. If you're honest, you've said to yourself at one time "I loved the movie, but I hated the ending". And if you think about the ending, most likely it's not a Hollywood ending.

But hey, let's throw away film as art. Give the Award to Ricky Bobby. And lets go ahead and give him the 2009 award for the sequel coming out! It has been years since the Golden age of cinema, and it will be in another lifetime before we get it again.

Terence Towles Canote said...

I have to agree with you. Box office should have nothing to do with the Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards. Sometimes box office winners truly are the Best Picture (Gone with the Wind, Star Wars), but a lot of times they aren't. Do we really want to see a world where Talladega Nights can walk away with Best Picture?

Scott Roche said...

But isn't whinging about the Academy being out of touch a bit like saying that politicos like to spend money? Has the Oscar really been meaningful in any way in the last 20 years? Or any major award for that matter? I don't think so.

Scott Roche said...

Oh and Star Wars probably wasn't the best movie that came out in '77. It definitely didn't win Best Picture.

Southern (in)Sanity said...

I have to agree.

However, I do have a problem with producers, directors and so on claim that these awards represent the opinions of "the people."

In that sense, they are wrong.

The box office represents "the people." These awards represent the voters.

jasdye said...

Star Wars may have been the best picture of its year, but it wasn't close to being nominated for Best Picture. but that's almost irrelevant.

rwa may have it best. if we want the people's choice awards, the People's Choice may be the best vote for now (kind of like choosing cyanide - grape of red kool-aid flavor). but on the other hand, the Oscars aren't the critics' awards either (different animal altogether).

no, it's what hollywood (as an industry) puts together to give hollywood (as an industry) a pat on the back for how good hollywood is. this - by default - makes it less interesting for the rest, while giving the illusion of importance.

who the heck, for instance, fondly remembers Dances w/ Wolves, which won the Best Picture for its year? and why do so many give it an air of importance? largely b/c it's Pretty Night in Tinseltown - royalty and sex and illusion rolled up into one EXPENSIVE and self-important evening.

sorry. i do love to go on.

Peter T Chattaway said...

Star Wars may have been the best picture of its year, but it wasn't close to being nominated for Best Picture.

Actually, not only was Star Wars close to being nominated, it actually was nominated for Best Picture, along with The Goodbye Girl, Julia, The Turning Point and the winner, Annie Hall.

Terence Towles Canote said...

Doh! I should have remembered...Annie Hall won that year. But Star Wars, as peter pointed out, was nominated.

jasdye said...

sorry. i really didn't know that. (am i supposed to check out facts now that peter's in this ring?) Annie Hall may have been good. in fact, in many ways, it was probably the best choice of the year (considering how Star Wars brought along so many pretenders that it helped to mess up the business of movie-making for a generation.)

but i highly doubt that Dances With White Man's Guilt was the best picture of that year.

Jacob said...

You know most movies nominated these days tank at the box office. The Departed did well....and thats about it. I mean last year it was between Brokeback and Crash, which although Crash was good, it still didn't bring in much money.
I mean yeah Johnny Depp should be recognized, he's one of the best actors. BUT instead its every year if Clint Eastwood or Martin Scorese make a movie its automatically a nominee for the Oscars, and will a good actor like Will Smith or should be Johnny Depp win. NO its people for really really wierd movies like Forest Whitaker or the Truman Capote actor guy.
Flatly The Oscars suck! Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrel and Vince Vaugn are the real actors. Look at what they make and bring in. They keep Hollywood alive not Peter O'Toole and Forest Whitaker and Ryan Gosling

general125 said...

Way to totally not get my point. I don't think talladega nights should was a particulary award worthy film. I do think that comedies are often overlooked for awards because they don't make people cry. That's another topic. My question is this, in the last two years why don't people want to see the movies that Hollywood thinks is awards worthy?

jasdye said...

that is a good question, general125. i think, to try to take a stab at an answer there, people don't want to be challenged. and it seems that even though oftentimes the awards and the popularity are very much in alignment, they are not necessarily so.

more often than not, in a simplified manner of speaking, the establishment is going to pick a movie that makes them feel good about who they are and what they do.

notice the two front-runners last year and the discussions among the makers and supporters of those two movies (Brokeback Mountain and Crash). it was not so much about how much money each one made (i don't think that should ever be the case, mind you), or how well-crafted or creative each one was (BBM was another forbidden-love melodrama - this time only creative b/c it was about homosexuality in a very macho-looking culture; Crash was another The Player / Nashville / Magnolia meta-mega-pic, only this time melodramatic and about race issues), but about the issues that each movie brought to bear.

my guess is that hollywood wants to feel that all their glimmer and glitz and glaring camera angles can lead to a purposeful and meaningful life. unfortunately, so much of the rest of america is still stuck on the medium itself (the glammer and glitz) that it can barely pull out of the latest news bulletin on Anna Nicole Smith or Britney Spears to see the devastation and brokenness of the world around us.

and, in many ways, i include myself.