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The Oscars

 
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I don't watch the Oscars. I never do. They're not my thing. Still, I love going to the movies so I pay a small measure of attention to which movies are up for awards and who wins and all that.

Last week I went to see Million Dollar Baby. I thought it was a really good movie. Hillary Swank was excellent and Clint certainly did a fine job. I thought Morgan Freeman also did a fine job but was puzzled to learn he won best supporting actor. As I said, he was certainly good, but it wasn't anything that blew me away. Anyway, I was glad to hear that MDB received so much recognition at the awards.

Then tonight I saw Hotel Rwanda. Man this movie was outstanding. I liked MDB, but in my opinon (my Oscar ballot must have been lost in the mail) this was a far better movie. I didn't see Ray, so I can't comment on Jamie Fox's performance, but it's hard to imagine that he was superior to Don Cheadle.

For me, one measure of how good a movie is, is how much I reflect back on it after I saw it. Hotel Rwanda is one I'll probably be thinking about for a couple of days. Do yourself a favor and go see it.
[ March 02, 2005: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
Then tonight I saw Hotel Rwanda. Man this movie was outstanding. I liked MDB, but in my opinon (my Oscar ballot must have been lost in the mail) this was a far better movie. I didn't see Ray, so I can't comment on Jamie Fox's performance, but it's hard to imagine that he was superior to Don Cheadle.



The trouble with the Oscars is that they aren't really a reflection on either the quality of the film/performance, or on what the punters liked - its all down to the goodies that the voters get given by the film companies. Its one of the few voting systems in the world which openly acknowledges that the voters receive bribes, but also strangely claim that it does not effect their voting.

The other problem is the race issue. One of the reasons why it was good to see Foxx win an Oscar is that Oscars have been proportionally very rare for non-white actors and directors. While this situation has improved, the number of white winners massively dwarfs the number of non-white winners. Maybe this could be a reason for Hotel Rwanda not doing so well....
 
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I also think Morgan Freeman is a great actor and he DESERVED an oscar for his role in Shawshank redemption and never got it. So, in my opinion, They were just making up for that, which is insulting to him. Noone was even talking about Morgan Freeman till Clint Eastwood declared him "the best actor on this planet" in his Golden Globe awards speech this year. Do you think that could have influenced it? (i certainly do). Again, i do think he is one of the best actors in Hollywood but he shouldn't have got it for this movie.

Mala
 
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


I didn't see Ray, so I can't comment on Jamie Fox's performance, but it's hard to imagine that he was superior to Don Cheadle.



Jaime Fox's performance in Ray was outstanding. I don't know if he deserved the award because I have not seen The Aviator, Or MDB, or Hotel Rwanda, or Finding Neverland.

I believe that the Academy Award voting system if flawed. Russell Crowe deserved the award for his brilliant performance in a Beautiful Mind. Yet Denzel won for his portrayal of a crooked cop. As in the case of Morgan Freeman, Denzel was compensated for past years at the expense of Russell Crowe.
[ March 03, 2005: Message edited by: Jesse Torres ]
 
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I think Oscar awards are outdated in a sense that they never try to recognize world cinema like Golden Globe does(they have one category for best foreign language film and do appreciate works like 'Crouching Tiger' and music for a spanish film this year).

Another aspect with Jamie Foxx's award is, there was lots of buzz for him to be award worthy from the day1 of the movie's release. I think that really worked well for his cause.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Kishore Dandu:
I think Oscar awards are outdated in a sense that they never try to recognize world cinema like Golden Globe does(they have one category for best foreign language film and do appreciate works like 'Crouching Tiger' and music for a spanish film this year).



Not completely true. Non-US movies and actors are frequently nominated and occasionally win. I know that UK films have won in the past for example. Take a look at this year's nominees and winners and you'll see many non-US nominees. An Indian film was nominated in the "Best Short Film, Live Action" category for example (A British film won that category). A joint India/US production won an Oscar in the "Best Documentary, Features" category. And that's just this year. Have a close look at the nominees and the winners. I think you'll be surprised.

I don't always agree with the choices the Academy makes as far as who wins, but I think based on the nominations that they do a fair job at looking at the world's best, even if they aren't always winners.
 
Kishore Dandu
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


Not completely true. Non-US movies and actors are frequently nominated and occasionally win. I know that UK films have won in the past for example. Take a look at this year's nominees and winners and you'll see many non-US nominees. An Indian film was nominated in the "Best Short Film, Live Action" category for example (A British film won that category). A joint India/US production won an Oscar in the "Best Documentary, Features" category. And that's just this year. Have a close look at the nominees and the winners. I think you'll be surprised.

I don't always agree with the choices the Academy makes as far as who wins, but I think based on the nominations that they do a fair job at looking at the world's best, even if they aren't always winners.



Sorry for misleading. I should have said 'Foreign Language'. I don't see the nominations as diverse as golden globes in that sense.

For me UK based moves(like those from Merchant Ivory) does not qualify into true foreign sense, since the artists do work in the movie industry across the pond.
 
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Jamie Foxx and "Geogia" are my favorite.
 
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:

The trouble with the Oscars is that they aren't really a reflection on either the quality of the film/performance, or on what the punters liked - its all down to the goodies that the voters get given by the film companies. Its one of the few voting systems in the world which openly acknowledges that the voters receive bribes, but also strangely claim that it does not effect their voting.


I think "bribes" is a bit strong where industry awards are concerned. "Lobbying," sure. And plenty of systems, presumably based on votes for merit, make you wonder. The Heisman, for example (Gino Torretta yes, Peyton Manning no? Say what?).

That said, it pays to remember who is voting and what their motivation is. The Academy has favored heavily favored drama over comedy in many categories, for example; there's little dispute about that. Movies that "lift the human spirit," as Charlton Heston once put it, win more often over similar, perhaps "better," films with clear political/historical agenda.

And sometimes voting is sentimental. I haven't seen "Ray," but I imagine a solid performance by Foxx goes a longer way than a solid performance by anoyone else simply because of Ray Charles, and the attention his legacy commands now that he's gone.
 
Kishore Dandu
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:


And sometimes voting is sentimental. I haven't seen "Ray," but I imagine a solid performance by Foxx goes a longer way than a solid performance by anoyone else simply because of Ray Charles, and the attention his legacy commands now that he's gone.



It probably is the case that Foxx acted great in the movie Ray. But, just because some one popular in US is gone, should not be a additional advantage for a movie artist to the award. I am not taking anything away from 'Ray Charles' greatness. Its just that Ray is not as popular outside USA as he is here in USA.

And personally I would like Oscar reflect on greatness of a performance than the historical event(like death of actual person that is portrayed in the movie) that surrounds the performance. Just a personal thinking.
 
Michael Ernest
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Welll, sure, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences isn't the most multi-cultural of institutions there ever was. And I sincerely doubt world sentiments weigh much, if at all, in the voting. It's about Hollywood, after all, not about judging the merits of all film-making worldwide.

Why there is an audience for Oscar night beyond the US and maybe surrounding countries is beyond me, unless it's for the spectacle of the show. Same with the Super Bowl and the World Series -- why would you care if you don't like American football or baseball?
 
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It's funny really.. when I was in India, my friends and I used to get together at someone's home and watch the Oscars, Grammys etc. (Almost all Hollywood movies get released in India, albeit a little late, a little censored)

But after coming to the US, I somehow haven't found them interesting enough to take the time to watch it
 
Kishore Dandu
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
Welll, sure, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences isn't the most multi-cultural of institutions there ever was. And I sincerely doubt world sentiments weigh much, if at all, in the voting. It's about Hollywood, after all, not about judging the merits of all film-making worldwide.

Why there is an audience for Oscar night beyond the US and maybe surrounding countries is beyond me, unless it's for the spectacle of the show. Same with the Super Bowl and the World Series -- why would you care if you don't like American football or baseball?



Come on. Super bowl is watched out of US, by people who are already aware of NFL and mostly who lived in US for couple of years. Almost the same case with World series. If you mention these two to people in India/Chine they will laugh on your face(chine probably has good audience for NBA, but not for supper bowl and so called world fad series).

Oscar is portrayed as presenting to best movie making than all about hollywood in other parts of the world. That is why people try to watch it, with more respect outside the US(nowadays) than in US.
 
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:

The other problem is the race issue. One of the reasons why it was good to see Foxx win an Oscar is that Oscars have been proportionally very rare for non-white actors and directors. While this situation has improved, the number of white winners massively dwarfs the number of non-white winners. Maybe this could be a reason for Hotel Rwanda not doing so well....



Keep race out of it. There's enough places where race is the sole reason to give someone something...
What's next, "Best African American actor with more than 10% Latino blood" maybe?
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Keep race out of it. There's enough places where race is the sole reason to give someone something...
What's next, "Best African American actor with more than 10% Latino blood" maybe?



These kinds of positive discrimination awards are not a good thing. I personally find awards such as the MOBOs (Music Of Black Origin) to be slightly offensive - a set of awards called Music Of White Origin would be branded as racist. They are also slightly offensive to the group being awarded - its almost like saying "You're not good enough to win our awards, so here's one to keep you quiet".

Despite that, where the Oscars are concerned the number of black winners of best actor/actress are proportionally lower then the number of leading roles in main stream films acted by a black actor or actress. I very much doubt that a person's skin colour can effect their acting ability, so this implies that there may be a bias against them. Hopefully this is something that is fading away now as the media establishment becomes more aware of these issues.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Despite that, where the Oscars are concerned the number of black winners of best actor/actress are proportionally lower then the number of leading roles in main stream films acted by a black actor or actress. I very much doubt that a person's skin colour can effect their acting ability, so this implies that there may be a bias against them.



I would argue that simply considering the number of leading roles is insufficient to draw such a conclusion. The Academy has a clear preference for a certain type of film. In order to draw this kind of conclusion I would think you would have to first have to look at movies of the type which the Academy has historically awarded, and then look at the actors.
 
Kishore Dandu
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


I would argue that simply considering the number of leading roles is insufficient to draw such a conclusion. The Academy has a clear preference for a certain type of film. In order to draw this kind of conclusion I would think you would have to first have to look at movies of the type which the Academy has historically awarded, and then look at the actors.



I have to agree with Jason regarding this point. We should never take conclusions for awards based on numbers.

Example: India with vast population does not mean that they should be winning certain number of medals atleast in Olympics.
 
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When the producers of Oscars started worring about viewership ratings etc, the quality of the oscar awards slipped down a bit. I watched "Million dollar baby", though morgan freeman was brilliant as usual, did't think it deserve Oscar, I always think awards (best picture) is/are given to a movie(s) and not the plot (or story), this movie was well made but only in parts but I didn't see other movies, so I can only compare it with the previous year winners.

One thing I can't believe is, the absence of my favourite movie (this year) "The Hero" in any category, this I thought was the one of the very best movie I have seen in the recent years, interesting another movie by the same director ("House of flying daggers") was nominated for some category, though it was "popular" but not of the same quality. I think oscar, these days, is the award for popularity, not quality, of the movies.
[ March 07, 2005: Message edited by: Vinod John ]
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
I would argue that simply considering the number of leading roles is insufficient to draw such a conclusion. The Academy has a clear preference for a certain type of film. In order to draw this kind of conclusion I would think you would have to first have to look at movies of the type which the Academy has historically awarded, and then look at the actors.



I agree that the academy does tend to prefer a certain kind of film (big musical score, simple story line, upbeat ending, little controversy), but even taking this into account there seems to be a significant statistical difference in the allocation of awards.

While I think we could probably debate this all week, perhaps it is best to leave the issue for now - I fear that an issue that relates to race is perhaps not within the bounds of what is acceptable/desirable in Meaningless Drivel... I apologise if anyone has been annoyed by me bringing it up.
 
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