Monday, March 08, 2010

What Has The Academy Done Anyway? Nothing Short Of Lighting A Fire Under James Cameron

Jim here. To say I am disappointed with the Academy is an understatement. THE HURT LOCKER is an ok movie. Just ok. Could have and should have one an award or two, sure. But BEST PICTURE? C'mon. It is a political joke. THL made 2% of the gross of AVATAR. Think about that. 2%. It is the lowest grossing movie to ever win the Best Picture.

Bigelow is a great director, sure. Given another year and I could see myself leaning toward THL as Best Picture. But NOT 2009.

Yes, Chartier's email was wrong and yes it probably did swing some votes, but it was not the deciding factor here. It was good old fashioned politics. THL is NOT the best movie of the year - by any means you wish to measure it. AVATAR introduced new technology, and heck, a new paradigm in acting! A revolution was created with this project and further than that - it launched the S3D era with such a huge force of nature that we will never look back again to wonder how long 3D is here for. The answer is it is staying. AVATAR cemented that.

So now our children and our children's children will look back at 2009 and see THE HURT LOCKER as the crème de la crème of the entire year. They will wonder why AVATAR wasn't honored by the Academy because it will be AVATAR that will be in more trivia questions. It will be AVATAR that is viewed more often by future generations. It is AVATAR that will have spawned a franchise. They will see that other movies from previous generations that were nominated and then did not win too - like THE WIZARD OF OZ in 1939. Of course it lost to GONE WITH THE WIND. Wait a minute... Both of those were starting a new era of Hollywood too - COLOR.

Trouble is THL was not starting anything in Hollywood. It is an average film. I have no interest in seeing it a second time - even at home. Heck I would have chosen INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS over THL. There was nothing that excited me about the movie. It is not even a truly accurate representation of the effort being made overseas by the troops.

I saw THL in the theater. It was good. Enough said.

I think what happened Oscar night was ridiculous. Giving Bigelow the Best Director was about as far as I would go without wanting to throw up in my mouth a bit. And don't get me wrong - If Bigelow could have directed AVATAR to the same glorious outcome as Cameron than I would have backed her just as ardently.

Further, AVATAR clearly had the best editing in 2009 because it has the best editing for the whole decade put together. They were editing together live action, CG characters, CG environments and all on a scale UNHEARD of in Hollywood history. What they did was not even possible before they actually did it! I ask this question in all sincerity: How DARE the Academy NOT give AVATAR Best Editing? Heck Cameron was even editing the movie while he was shooting it with his Simulcam and Virtualcam.

Best Picture. Is it too much to ask that the most embraced movie of all time WORLD WIDE be recognized as Best Picture? I am not going to spend anymore time describing why AVATAR should have prevailed. Suffice to say the Academy messed up yet again.

Which brings me to my final point. The only thing that the Academy has done (other than make the Bigelow team VERY happy) is that they have lit a fire under James Cameron. In a similar vein to what Peter Jackson went through with his LOTR trilogy, Cameron is now facing with his AVATAR trilogy.

Some ask if Cameron will be coming back to direct the sequels for AVATAR. Get real. Of course he will be. He wants to hold those reins when it wins Oscar. Will he have to wait for the final part of the trilogy to do that? I don't think he will have to. I think AVATAR 2 will be everything that the original was - but amplified 10 fold.

The saddest thing of the entire night (yes even sadder than seeing Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin work together) was the fact that James Cameron did not set ONE foot on that stage. I was almost sick to my stomach. Almost like a slap in the face to Cameron. All that work. 10 years. Innovation and genius up the wazoo. At least the fans pay him homage. And in the end, they are the only ones that really count. And James Cameron? He's ok. He knows that the tricks he has up his sleeve will make it impossible for the Academy to ignore future AVATAR efforts... and of course, he still has f*ck you money.

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Jim Dorey
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