I was planning on leaving this alone but the web chatter, and even a Facebook page dedicated to what will no doubt go down as a race similar to Star Wars vs. Annie Hall. What I can abide is the phony uproar reaching a fever pitch online.
It’s because she’s a woman!
It’s because they wanted to tell Jim Cameron to eff off!
It’s because of all the divorced wives out there!
How much more insulting can they possibly be?¬† The truth is that Avatar made a lot of money and a lot of people really loved it. Great. Good for Avatar. Good for the public. One big happy party, right? No, because on top of $700,000,000 domestic and $2 billion internationally, they also had to have a whole bunch of Oscars. Not Jim Cameron, he doesn’t care — and in fact, he cheered Bigelow, his one-time collaborator, to whom he has functioned mentor, on. But the fans needed to win the Oscar in order to …. validate their feelings?
Let’s go over it again, shall we? What Avatar didn’t have that it needed:
An award from the Editors Guild, that went to The Hurt Locker
An award from the Cinema Audio Society, that went to The Hurt Locker
Any acting award from the Screen Actors Guild award – two nods for The Hurt Locker, 2 wins for Inglourious Basterds and one win for Precious.
A win from the WGA would have been nice; it went to The Hurt Locker
The Directors Guild to Cameron. It went to Kathryn Bigelow
The Los Angeles Film Critics, New York Film Critics, and Critics Choice Awards all went to The Hurt Locker.
What DID Avatar have besides money and lots and lots of fans?
A Best Picture/Best Director win from the Golden Globes.
Despite the obvious, I really thought it was going to win, too. I thought the money had become too big to ignore. I was far too cynical, far too self-doubting to see the writing on the wall.
But guess what? It wasn’t even close.
Get this straight, folks, chew it up and digest it: if it hadn’t been The Hurt Locker it STILL wouldn’t have been Avatar. It wouldn’t have even been Inglourious Basterds. The race wasn’t even close. Avatar wasn’t threatening to win – three Oscar wins tells you that. No acting nor writing nominations had nothing to do with the Cameron/Bigelow marriage. It had to do with Cameron focusing too much on the visual effects and forgetting that good acting and good writing is what drives the Oscar for Best Picture.
So why not be happy with what Avatar is, not what it isn’t. It isn’t an Oscar movie, not with that screenplay. It only had to be a little better, a little less cliched. A little less Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves and a little more innovative in terms of STORY, not just in terms of effects.
Most of the members of the Academy are actors, writers and directors. Is it that much of a surprise that they would pick A) the film that moved them the most, and B) the film they wanted to make the most? How many of them really want their future to be wrapped up in 3-D technology, motion-capture actors?
It’s great for what it is, but it isn’t the reason most of these actors make money in the first place: they money so they can make movies like The Hurt Locker.
There is room for both kinds of movies – small and meaningful — large and entertaining. Let’s let our audiences enjoy both. A win for Avatar all but obliterates the need for more movies like The Hurt Locker. A loss for Avatar means – well – nothing. It ruffles the feathers of a few fans. Nothing more, nothing less.
In the end, I think they made a better choice to award the film for whom an Oscar win would really make a difference. I think they made a better choice to award a film that was made with good ideas, great actors, a great script and a brilliant visionary behind the camera.
You’ll all be happy to know I am ready to put this year to bed and focus on 2010. But I want you to know that any time you want to bring it up and fight it out, I’m ready. Bring it on.