Let’s Talk About the Oscars
To make this post vaguely relevant to this anime blog, let’s start with Ponyo. To use movie dork lingo, it got “snubbed” in the best animated picture category. That’s another way to say “Disney didn’t feel like spending massive amounts of cash to send out screener dvds to the peeps that nominate movies.”
But seriously, is Ponyo even all that? Does it deserve a nomination in the same category that Spirited Away won? Ponyo wasn’t a bad movie, but it’s further proof that Ghibli as a studio isn’t as good as it was 10 years ago or so. They desperately need to break out of their little box and make a movie that goes against type. Get back to Miyazaki’s “roots,” so to speak, and do a fun adventure flick like Castle of Cagliostro. No sentimentality, no environmental themes, none of that stuff you expect to see in a Ghibli/Miyazaki movie. They don’t need to do something “adult” or whatever, they just need to branch out from the tired and true tropes they utilize. Then we’ll see a Ghibli movie worthy of another Oscar nomination.
Anime stuff out of the way, let’s get to the rest of the nominations.
I’m really digging that they’ve expanded the best picture nominations to ten movies. They’re probably a few hundred years too late in doing so (I’d love to have seen Children of Men get a nomination for 2006), but better late than never, right? Anyway, here’s the list of nominees:
The Blind Side
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
I didn’t bother seeing The Blind Side, An Education, Precious, or Up in the Air. The Blind Side looked atrocious, while the other three just didn’t interest me in the least bit. I missed out on The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man, but I dig most of the movies by the directors of both movies. Up was OK, but like Ponyo it’s just typical of Pixar’s output. It didn’t really do anything that we haven’t seen already in a Pixar flick. Avatar is a great movie visually, but the story is pretty awful.
The only two nominated movies that I saw and thoroughly enjoyed are District 9 and Inglorious Basterds. The only other year in recent memory where that’s happened was when No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood were nominated, so seeing two movies that I loved get nominations is pretty awesome.
I’m rooting for Basterds. I’m an unabashed Tarantino apologist. I loved Death Proof. That’s saying a lot. I loved Basterds because it took a genre that’s usually highly reverential and serious, the World War 2 movie, and turned it into a pulpy piece of revenge porn exploitation cinema. Most people feel that WW2 is something that shouldn’t be “touched” in such a manner. If you make a movie based around that war, people feel that you have to go about it in a certain way and hit certain historical notes. Tarantino gave that attitude the bird and did his own thing. Hell, he even rewrote the way the war ended. And by turning the movie into a story about Jews enacting fictional revenge upon Nazis, he’s done a far better job of addressing such issues than just about all of the movies that tackle The Holocaust with absolute seriousness. It goes to show that you can address such issues without having your head up your ass and getting all preachy and serious.
A movie where people shoot other people and blow stuff up good can be just as socially relevant as a Oprah Book of the Month Club adaptation. GO INGLORIOUS BASTARDS! Win Tarantino that best picture award that Forrest fucking Gump stole from him back when Pulp Fiction was nominated!