The other story coming out of the “Jim Cameron goes to the Amazon and paints his face in protest” was that Sigourney Weaver made a really comment about this year’s Oscar race. When asked why Jim Cameron didn’t win the Oscar, she said:
“Jim didn’t have breasts, and I think that was the reason,” Weaver told Brazilian news site Folha Online over the weekend. “He should have taken home that Oscar.” And then added, “In the past, ‘Avatar’ would have won because they [Oscar voters] loved to hand out awards to big productions, like ‘Ben-Hur.’ Today it’s fashionable to give the Oscar to a small movie that nobody saw.”
So, what does “fashionable movie that nobody saw” have to do with having breasts? Either it was sexism or it was a fashion trend Let’s think that through a little more carefully, Sigourney. Sure, one can cut her some slack being that she had the great pleasure of playing one of the worst written female characters in a Cameron film in Avatar – and I’m sure she dedicated much of her time and energy into that production. She is also friends with Jim Cameron, which also explains it.
Look, the last thing I want to do is start up another hideous flame war on this site, but the truth of it is that if Avatar hadn’t been reliant upon its 3-D technology, and if it had been better written it would have won. The truth is that it wasn’t even close. The Hurt Locker WON EVERYTHING leading up to the Oscars. It wasn’t just the Academy; it was all of the industry and critics. So go ahead and accuse them of being “trendy” or “fashionable” or “sexist.” But don’t just blame AMPAS.
3-D and performance capture is intimidating. A great script and great acting (Avatar had neither) probably could have overcome the intimidation factor. In fact, a film that big WITH good acting, good writing, non-3-D, non-performance capture would have swept the Oscars. Oh wait. It did when Titanic won (minus the great writing).
Recently, the AMPAS announced it will have a seminar for actors about the emerging technology:
Actors Peter Badalamenti, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Andy Serkis and Wes Studi will join several crew members from the Oscar¬Æ-winning films ‚ÄúThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button‚Äù (2008) and ‚ÄúAvatar‚Äù (2009) in exploring the revolutionary developments in digital technology and its impact on acting at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‚Äô presentation of ‚ÄúActing in the Digital Age‚Äù on Thursday, April 22, at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Academy‚Äôs Science and Technology Council, the evening will use examples from ‚ÄúThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button‚Äù and ‚ÄúAvatar‚Äù to illustrate innovations in performance-capture technology, digital doubles, digital makeup, photorealism and image manipulation are affecting actors. Film clips and behind-the-scenes footage of the actors will be presented.
In other words, this is a way of perhaps edging them in slowly to the idea that this is likely to be their future, whether they like it or not.
The Hurt Locker’s win was one of the coolest and bravest things I’ve seen the Academy do in the ten years I’ve been watching them. Awarding a great film regardless of its box office took brass balls. And it is going to take heat for it, year after year after year. Avatar is an incredible theatrical experience. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. But in the end I had to ask myself — if you took away the dazzling visuals and technology and just told the story as is would it have been as good? And the answer is, of course not.