Indiewire’s Peter Knegt sees women driving the Oscar race so far, but he also sees a connection between war movies and the great timing of Kathryn Bigelow’s Hurt Locker being released this year instead of last:
Historically, the Academy loves war-related films, from ‚ÄúGone With The Wind,‚Äù ‚ÄúPlatoon‚Äù and ‚ÄúSchindler‚Äôs List‚Äù to recent best picture nominees like ‚ÄúLetters From Iwo Jima,‚Äù ‚ÄúThe Pianist,‚Äù and, in a sense, ‚ÄúThe Reader.‚Äù But while the Civil War, World War II and Vietnam have a good dozen best picture statuettes between them, the ongoing Iraq War hasn‚Äôt found a major nomination outside Tommy Lee Jones‚Äô performance in ‚ÄúIn The Valley of Elah.‚Äù But, with the Obama administration working toward the U.S.‚Äòs withdrawal of troops, and ‚ÄúThe Hurt Locker‚Äù‚Äòs box office suggesting audiences might be ready to view cinematic representations of Iraq, perhaps the Academy is up for continuing their tradition.
It isn’t just Bigelow’s masterpiece, though, that could signal a change in perception about Iraq war movies:
In fact, ‚ÄúThe Hurt Locker‚Äù could just be one of many potential Oscar contenders with Iraq-related narratives. Paul Greengrass‚Äôs Matt Damon-starring ‚ÄúGreen Zone,‚Äù a thriller that takes place in the Green Zone in Iraq before the surge by the United States, is slated for release before year‚Äôs end. Oren Moverman‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Messenger,‚Äù about an American soldier who becomes involved with a widow of an officer who died in Iraq, screened to warm notices at Sundance and was recently picked up by Oscilloscope with an awards campaign in mind. While the former has yet to be seen and the latter is being released by a small distributor that has yet to prove a formidable awards season player, you never know how things might play out.
Why were Iraq movies so overlooked in the past, so unfairly tossed aside? Do we really judge movies based on our current mood, or is there a better way to receive them? If it is always about our whims at any given time we’re doomed.