I have to admit it. Once I found out it wasn’t happening, I wasn’t interested, The list of nominees arrived on January 10 and Samuel L. Jackson’s name was not among them. There is no good reason for it, either. Within the list of nominees, even the guy from his own movie, Christoph Waltz, didn’t do as good a job as Jackson’s groundbreaking portrayal as Stephen, the sadistic house slave intent on keeping things just as they are. The moment I found that he wasn’t nominated, the wind went from my sails. I had no wish to round out the rest of the nominated performances and movies.
Whatever they got going in the Oscars, it isn’t as a representative for movie goers. Even when they almost get it right (they nominated Hugo last year) they end up getting it horribly wrong by giving the win to a film was an unfunny joke last year and is just a sad reality one year later. And no, I didn’t name that movie…and you can’t remember it.
Equally ridiculous is that they nominate up to 10 films in a year, which was brought upon by the snubbing of The Dark Knight in 2009. Immediately one can rule out 5 of them, as they still only have 5 directors nominated. Each year the winner for Director has been from the winning Movie.
This year, we have a lot of the same people we see every year: Speilberg, Ang Lee, Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel, Waltz, Sally Field, Anne Hathaway, Arkin, Philip Seymour Hofffman, and even DeNiro is back. Ben Affleck is getting much of the publicity for his “snub” as director. I am not even sure Argo gets beyond TV Movie status, as far as interest goes.
There are a few new faces, such as Zeitlin and his crew from Beasts of the Southern Wild. Wallis’ nomination, like the rest of the participants of this mediocre movie, feel like the tip one gives the shoe shine boy. In the end, they get a nickel and the Academy gets the shine. Critics fall for it every time. We should be thankful that Wes Anderson doesn’t work for Steven Spielberg, lest his diabolically boring Moonrise Kingdom be nominated, too.
The biggest stain on the Academy, though is the omission of Take Shelter from last year’s show. It was a film that should have swept the Movie, Director, Actor (Shannon), Actress (Chastain) and Screenplay (Jeff Nichols, who is also the director). Nichols is a guy who doesn’t work for anyone. He just makes good films. The makers of Man of Steel (including another oft ignored filmmaker, Christopher Nolan) knew well enough to cast Shannon as their villain in the tent pole film of the summer, but they are just here to make good movies, not to win awards.
Which brings me back to Jackson. No other actor has made more money for their studios than Jackson. 2013 was no exception, either, with his roles in The Avengers and Django Unchained. I don’t think anyone will question the artistic integrity of these films, either. They are films that connect on every level.
So for those who care, you can have your Oscars. For me they lose more relevance every year. To try to predict the winner would be akin to guessing what voters who love Spielberg and Hanks can accept winning: the key words are “safe” and “liberal.”
My short list of predictions is as follows:
Supporting Actor: Arkin, DeNiro for “safe” and Hoffman if they go “liberal”
Supporting Actress: Hathaway
Original Screenplay: Boal
Adapted Screenplay: Kushner, Goodwin
Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph
My short list of who should have won, regardless of nomination:
Film: Liberal Arts (ironic, I know, but it’s more than liberal: it actually has ideals and morals)
Director: Joss Whedon, The Avengers
Actor: Josh Radnor, Liberal Arts
Actress: Anna Kendrick, Pitch Perfect
Supporting Actor: Jackson, Django Unchained
Supporting Actress: Judi Dench, Skyfall
Original Screenplay: Josh Radnor, Liberal Arts
Adapted Screenplay: Ol Parker, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Animated Feature: Brave
For the reasons behind my choices, please click the links for follow the reviews. These are based on films I have watched, rather than those I was told to watch. Experience tells me that I can catch up with the “winners” later.