Skip to Main Navigation

Oscars: the more the merrier?

"Abundanza" is what they used to call it in the old pizza commercials.

As it is with pizza toppings, so let it be with Oscar nominees for Best Picture. I like it. But then I like my pizza with double cheese, double shrimp, sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms too.

But then I've always liked the idea of 10 nominees for Best Picture when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences first announced they were going back to the old system rather than sticking with the usual constricted and constipated 5.

When, for instance, they named 10 in 1939, sometimes called "The Greatest Year in the History of Movies" (whose winner was a little art film yoiu may remember called "Gone With The Wind"), the 10 nominees included "Dark Victory,", "Love Affair," "Goodbye Mr. Chips," "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," "Ninotchka," "Stagecoach," "Of Mice and Men", "The Wizard of Oz" and "Wuthering Heights."

Room enough, then, for high style comedies, "women's pictures" (as they were quaintly called back then) and full-throttle tearjerkers  along with more conventional "quality" stuff we now think of as "Oscar-bait."

So, in the final 10 nominees we've now got, are you ready, "The Blind Side," and "District 9" and The Coen Brothers "A Serious Man" along with the movies everyone and their uncle Festus knew were going to get in "(Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," Up in the Air," etc.).

Personally, I might have wished, instead of "The Blind Side" to see another of the year's great animated films ("Coraline" maybe) to join "Up" in the final 10 nominees for Best Picture but everyone always knew that when the Academy set up a whole separate Oscar for animated feature, that was going to cut down the number of Best Picture nominations for animated films no matter how worthy.

The idea here was to go a little more populist and good for them, I say. If they want to give Sandra Bullock a Best Actress nomination for "The Blind Side" instead of something snootier, you won't catch me arguing.

I do wish, in the final 10, they'd found some room for "Brothers," but then everyone always knew that in a contest between the war vet films "Brothers" and "The Messenger," the nominations would go to "The Messenger."

Nor, sadly, was there any way of keeping "Inglourious Basterds" out of the nominations it doesn't begin to deserve, simply because of past histories and the proven Oscar mojo of Harvey Weinsten, even now.

I'd have liked to see, yes I'm serious, Kenny Ortega's "This is It" in the final 10, for the tender portrait of a screwed-up performing genius that it was, but I knew that one had a snowball's chance in hell.

Some preliminary reactions, then, from me.

How about you?

--Jeff Simon



Add your comment

« Older

Poet Linh Dinh headlines "Big Night" tonight

Newer »

Survey says: taking stock of declining audiences