As we close out our 2009 Oscar season, I just want to say it’s been a hell of a season. We have proved that what we love at the movies becomes some piece of who we are. ¬†And somehow, in all of that, we mix up our love of films with their need to also get approval by 5,000 or so regular people who work in the film industry. ¬†We pride ourselves on being unique and then we ask that our tastes be validated by a group of people who really don’t give it that much thought. ¬†They aren’t film critics. ¬†They aren’t fans. ¬†They aren’t even experts in the various branches they’re asked to vote on. ¬†And yet, here we are, caring what they think about what we love so much. ¬†How could we not mind?
Somehow we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that if our movie, or our actress, wins that somehow means something bigger than how it now rests in our own hearts. ¬†The truth is, it is just a game. The trick of Oscar watching is not let your heart get involved in your choices. Even if Avatar wins Best Picture, that can never negate the brilliance of The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, District 9, An Education, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air, nor the popularity of The Blind Side — not a critics’ movie, but one that moved a great many people in this country. ¬†That the group decides to vote for The Hurt Locker or Precious or Inglourius Basterds, will never negate James Cameron and his team’s accomplishment bringing that world to life.
The truth is that winning the Oscar is a double-edged sword. ¬†You want your film to win, but the minute it wins it deflates just a little. It’s like that 21 grams that leaves your body upon death. ¬†Somehow, we obsess on their tastes but in the end, we don’t respect them very much.
The cult of Quentin Tarantino, which has grown in the years since I started doing this, will no doubt drag out The Hurt Locker and/or Avatar on many lists saying that Inglourious Basterds should have won that year, the same way they try to do with Pulp Fiction. ¬†As if these films having won really means something bigger than what they already have, which are vast amounts of fans who love and adore those movies. ¬†Avatar fans will drag out The Hurt Locker for years to come as the film that took down the epic. ¬†And those of us who felt that The Hurt Locker was one of the best films ever made, let alone the Oscar race, may have a moment of joy if/when it wins but will spend many years defending it against the swarms of fans for the other films.
So, you see, it’s either a lose-lose or a win-win unless we can all find a way to appreciate the greatness in all of these wonderful films up for the award this year. ¬†I am fully expecting Avatar to win tonight. Jim Cameron gave the world a gift when he delivered that film and it’s 100% pure entertainment. ¬†It would be unheard of for a film with no other major guild wins to take the Oscars – it would be kind of like Out of Afrika or Braveheart. ¬†But nonetheless, it just may be too big to ignore, and The Hurt Locker not a big enough money maker.
The three films up for Best Picture, in fact, are three that I will watch over and over again for many years to come. ¬†I hope that I can take this away from Oscars 2009, and not the many spats over which film should wear the crown on prom night.
I would just like to take a moment to end some love out to the readers and contributors of Awards Daily. ¬†I know I’m not easy to get along with, but I so appreciate the debates, the many thoughtful comments, even the aggressive ones — because I know they come from a good place, not a bad one.
You guys keep this site lively and active and interesting.
I also just want to thank my co-editor and contributor, Ryan Adams for his daily email therapy and brilliant bits of writing and observations throughout the year. ¬†Ladylurks, Nancy Kriparos, John Villeneuve¬†and Stephen Holt for being great correspondents and doing interviews and stories for us.
And to Rob Y for his tireless work on the Awards Daily ballot! ¬†By far the favorite thing for the readers.
I really want to thank my roundtable buds, Steve Pond, Damien Bona, Kris Tapley, Anne Thompson, Greg Ellwood, Ed Douglas, Scott Foundas,¬†Mark Harris, Tom O’Neil, Craig Kennedy, Susan Wloszczyna, Melissa Silverstein, Michelle McCue, Peter Knegt, Erik Childress, Pete Hammond, Pete Howell, Scott Feinberg, Nathaniel Rogers, Moises Chiullan, Brad Brevet, and Jeff Wells – did I forget anyone? ¬†I hope not.
A special shout out to Steve Pond, Anne Thompson, Pete Travers, David Carr, Michelle McCue, Tom O’Neil, Melena Ryzik, Scott Feinberg, Moises Chiullan,¬†and Kris Tapley for much awards insight on Twitter over the past month. ¬†And to Kris for his usual last-minute awards advice on the phone.
My best friend Clara who must field 8 to 10 panic phone calls from me about the Oscar race – ¬†she actually takes time out of her very busy days to talk to me.
And of course, as usual, to the most devoted Oscar Watcher of all, my 11 year-old daughter Emma, who has sat through and endured way too many days of her mom at the computer keyboard stressing out over the Oscars. ¬†She usually leaves the room when they announce Best Picture because she knows, win or lose, it isn’t going to be pretty.
Let’s all remember that we’re here because we love movies. ¬†As for how the race will turn out, I usually follow these rules:
Nobody knows anything.
The trick is not minding.
Egg on the face washes off over time.
Let’s enjoy the 82nd Oscars and go out with a bang. ¬†And pray the server doesn’t crash.