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March 3, 2008 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Oscar Rant

Zodiac, Control, I’m Not There, Rescue Dawn: any of these films could be considered the best film of 2007. All four were made by visionary directors, brilliant casts and yet they only managed get one Oscar nomination between them, and they lost. Why has the Academy Awards, the most important Awards in film, snubbed these critically acclaimed films? Here’s another list: Citizen Kane, Vertigo, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Touch of Evil. Any these films could easily be considered the best film ever, yet they won a combined two Oscars, and neither were for Best Film or Director.

Are these films not as good as they were hyped to be, or is the Academy prone to making a substantial amount of mistakes? Well, a bit of both. Sure Zodiac was one of my favourite films of 07, but it was also two and half hours long and yet another film about violence. Control and Rescue Dawn are too art house for the Academy and are both made by foreigners. None of this is new and by now this is quite predictable. I wrote down my picks for eleven of the major categories. I got two wrong, one was a genuine shock (Tilda Swinton, Best Supporting Actress) and the other (Best Adapted Screenplay) I was fifty/fifty on anyway. Like in US politics the quality of the nominee doesn’t seem to be as important as the media buzz surrounding them: Rudy Giuliani/Zodiac seemed to be a clear favourite at first but failed to keep support and press attention over the long run/was released too long ago that by the time nominations were due most people seemed to have forgotten it.

Then there’s I’m Not There which came out the same time as other Oscar nominees and stars Oscar favourite Cate Blanchett. But like the films in my second list (sorry about the lists), it’s too unique, too unusual for the Oscar voters. Like 2001 it rises above its genre into the undefinable. It’s a music biopic not like any other: it’s not perfect, but it will stand the test of time thanks to its shear originality, which also may be its main Oscar hurdle. Alfred Hitchcock never won a competitive award. Nor did Stanley Kubrick or Buster Keaton and while all three were renowned in their time it wasn’t till later that they truly rose above their contemporaries. Maybe it takes time to distinguish the good from the great and the Academy isn’t any better at making this distinction then we the public are.


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