As with many observers, what struck me the most was the snubbing of Christopher Nolan – and make no mistake, it was a snub. Since I’ve never been an admirer of Nolan’s films, however – including Inception – I consider his absence from the Best Director competition no great tragedy. At the same time, I couldn’t help but think of another British director, Chris Morris, whose name I would’ve loved to see on the Best Director nominee list – because I thought Norris’ Four Lions this year was one of the sharpest, wittiest, and most provocative comedies I’ve seen since the heady days of Paddy Chayefsky and Woody Allen in the 1970s.
A long-shot, you say? Perhaps. But here’s the issue: I no longer watch award shows – any of them. And there’s a reason for this. It’s not the length of the shows – as long as they admittedly are – nor the tendency of some winners and/or hosts to behave like imbeciles. Nor is it the occasional tendency these awards-fests have to penalize films based on their popularity with audiences.
It’s the fact that nobody takes chances anymore with their selections, nobody takes any risks, or flies in the face of conventional wisdom. And it’s chiefly for this reason, in my opinion, that these awards shows have become such a bore.
So the Oscars will be tedious again this year, and ratings will go down – again – and everyone will look around and scratch their heads and wonder why. And people will look for exotic solutions – someone will suggest lowering the Oscar statuettes from the ceiling next year, or floating them in on a barge like Cleopatra, or maybe having Gene Simmons host.
When really, just a few adventurous selections might’ve made all the difference.
Posted on January 25th, 2011 at 3:47pm.