Patrick Goldstein, dropping yet another bombshell, reports on the voting practices of the LA Film critics. This is a good time to remember that the LAFCA, unlike, say, the HFPA or the BFCA, really are critics – they aren’t crossover blogger/critics, they aren’t TV personalities who cover entertainment and write reviews – they are seasoned representatives of a, sad to say, dying breed.
And this year especially they seem keen on distancing themselves from Oscar (we made that accusation last year and boy did we hear about it but hey, either they’re living on a distant orb and don’t read the chatter or else they’re resisting). It’s still unknown whether the NYFCC will follow suit but LAFCA seems to have made its point loud and clear – none of the Big Oscar Movies will get their support in any way, shape or form. So here is the paragraph that made me roll my eyes more than once. I want to say, get over yourselves, but I won’t:
Here’s a few highlights from my spies in the room: They say that “Slumdog” sparked the most divisions of any film. Its partisans praised its filmmaking energy and social consciousness. But its scrum of detractors said they wouldn’t vote for it under any circumstances, with some critics claiming it was too derivative, coming off like an amped-up Satyajit Ray film. The only slam dunks in the voting were Penelope Cruz, who won best supporting actress for “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” and Ledger for “The Dark Knight.” The voting for best picture was extremely close, with the joke being that whether the vote went for “Wall-E” or “The Dark Knight,” that it was still a thumbs-up for an animated film, since “Dark Knight” is loaded with computer animation effects.
The biggest loser was probably Kate Winslet, who is considered a big academy favorite for her roles in “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader” but got no love at all from the critics. The best actress runner-up was Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”), with the remainder of the voting going to Kristin Scott Thomas (“I Loved You So Long”), Meryl Streep (“Doubt”) and Angelina Jolie (“Changeling”). Penn and Mickey Rourke dominated the best actor voting, with some critics expressing surprise that Frank Langella didn’t poll higher. Left out in the cold were “Revolutionary Road,” “Doubt” and “The Reader,” which all need strong critical support to find an audience, along with “Benjamin Button,” which too many critics said left them cold. “Milk” and “The Wrestler” earned raves for their acting performances, but were not viewed as best picture material.
Can I just say, one more time that, since when did “leaving them cold” become an indication of a bad film? Hell, if that were true Stanley Kubrick’s entire library of films would non-LAFCA material. And Scorsese? No, they scared off by Big Oscar. It’s the only explanation for their hatred, half of them, of Slumdog Millionaire. It’s Danny Boyle. They would be creaming themselves if this movie wasn’t barreling towards Oscar. Danny Boyle? You have to be kidding me.
I hope that was sufficiently nasty. Now let’s see if our pal Scott Foundas will bite.