Over at Hollywood-Elsewhere, Jeff Wells is working hard to convince the world that Lincoln is both an unworthy film and an unworthy Oscar contender. The truth is, what Lincoln is transcends the Oscar race, as most great films do. It is a trap to start thinking that the votes of a general consensus equates with greatness and that not getting those votes somehow equates with failure. This could not be farther from the truth. Were it so, Vertigo would not be considered the greatest film of all time, nor would Citizen Kane. Every so often there is agreement, with The Godfather movies for instance but more often than not it doesn’t. This comment by goodvibe61 appeared over at Hollywood-Elsewhere and I think it is dead on:
Greatness doesn’t translate into an Oscar win.
Lincoln has it all. It’s a brilliant film. The highest rated movie by the premiere critics on RT (95% with top critics), with a highly literate screenplay and razor sharp direction. And performances of the highest caliber.
People watched that film and walked away from it pulverized. When it first came out the word of mouth was gigantic.
But winning the Oscar is not about being the best film. And yet, everyone that works in this ridiculous Oscar prediction business gets it wrong, trying to equate greatness with Oscar wins. It clearly doesn’t work that way.
That’s the great dichotomy of the Oscars. People have an innate desire to see great films win. They seldom do. It leaves people exasperated and angry. It’s what the Oscars do. It largely sucks.
If you simply took Argo and Lincoln and switched the directors, that really would tell you something about how the Oscar system works. Because if Ben Affleck had directed Lincoln, film critics would be hailing Ben Affleck as the second coming of Orson Welles. And if Mr. Spielberg had directed Argo, I believe most critics would have labeled it to be “minor” Spielberg, something on the level of Catch Me If You Can (A wonderful film IMO), and it probably wouldn’t have been nominated for best picture at all.
And that’s the kind of thing facing Mr. Spielberg when it comes to Oscar.