Fluff, Pop Culture

Fluff: Strange Days

My Oscar picks.

The Hurt Locker

Best Picture

The Hurt Locker

In addition to expanding the field from five films to ten, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has instituted an Instant Runoff Voting system. Leaving aside the merits or flaws of this system, it’s a provocative decision that could result in a big night for The Hurt Locker. Like its director James Cameron, Avatar is a very polarizing film, which means when offered the option to rank films by preference – which is what you do with IRV – instead of voting for a single film, Avatar might not be everybody’s all American, thus allowing The Hurt Locker, which is likely to be everyone’s favorite first runner up, to snag the top prize.

Best Director

Kathryn Bigelow

Having swept many of the directing awards, including the BAFTA, it seems likely she’ll snag this one too. The film is well received, she hasn’t pissed off too many academy voters and she makes movies that straight dudes like. I am a huge fan of her work, with Strange Days and the two parter “Fallen Heroes” from season six of Homicide: Life on the Street being my favorites. That said, I am not under any illusion her win will usher in powder pink Perestroika for women filmmakers or signal the collapse of the male dominated movie industry. Bigelow makes action movies, favors hand held cameras and jump cuts. So I do feel conflicted over her nomination because it reinforces the whole idea of there being women’s stories and then real stories and only those real stories – ones about men, war or power – are worth telling. But, hey, you gotta dance with the one who brung ya!

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges

This is The Dude’s year! After seeing the reaction Bridges received during his Golden Globe acceptance speech, I became pretty convinced he was going to be nominated and win the Best Actor Oscar. The only person who could jostle The Dude’s White Russian is Colin Firth, but unless some new shit comes to light, I really can’t conceive of that happening. This is a beloved actor from an acting family who has given stellar performances throughout his lengthy career. Am I wrong?

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock

For some reason I thought Bullock was on that same island where they’re keeping Meg Ryan and where Rachel McAdams is going when she turns forty. Apparently not! The movie – The Blind Side – is riddled with all kinds of -ism fail, but it’s the kind of showy role the academy loves to see its leading ladies do. With all the subtlety of a trumpet fart in church, Bullock has taken a page from the Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich), Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment) and Cher (Moonstruck) How-to-win-an-Oscar play book.

Best Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz

Like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive and Lou Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentlemen before him, Christoph Waltz leveraged his charismatic megalomania for a shot at Oscar gold. He’ll get it too. The academy loves them some over the top supporting performances and oddly enough, it is this award and not the Lead Actor award that generally catapults its winner onto the A-list. Before The Fugitive, me and like Mama Lee Jones were like the only people interested in TLJ’s career.

Best Supporting Actress


While I hesitate to curse the incomparable Mo’Nique with this dubious award, I’m pretty certain she’ll get it. Like the “Best New Artist” Grammy, this award is a career killer. Mary Steen-who? If it doesn’t render you unemployed, it at least renders you irrelevant as an actress. There are a few notable exceptions, but for the most part, it’s probably better NOT to win this. Fat, Black women have done well in this category, both as noms (Whoopi and Queen L) and J-Hud won it. Of course, what are they doing now acting wise? It certainly does not do for women, what the equivalent award does for men. Still, the academy loves seeing minorities give poverty pr0n or shuck and jive performances, particularly if it seems (to the academy anyway) to be drawn on some personal experience.

Please note: these are the folks I think will win and in many cases aren’t necessarily the folks I think should win

149 thoughts on “Fluff: Strange Days”

  1. I agree with all your picks, except I am concerned that Cameron will beat Bigelow in a Crash-esque failure of taste or Amy-Adams*/Our Cate**-style we-wuz-robbed moment.

    *Ever seen Junebug? She was amazing.
    ** Paltrow Vs Blanchett in the battle of “Who Do the Weinsteins like more?” Australians are like elephants – we never forget!

    OT: an apology I’d like to make to the SP mods and commentariat. A while ago I made reference to “black puddings” and explained the reference with a clip from The Goodies. I hopped on youtube, looked for a clip of ecky thump (the black pudding-related martial art from the show) and posted one after only watching the beginning of the clip.

    I watched it all the way through yesterday, and discovered it contained images of one of the Goodies in head-to-toe blackface in a boxing outfit. I had no idea it contained such images, and I apologise wholeheartedly for not checking something before I posted it. I apologise for bringing it into this safe space.

    Please accept this Golden Girls clip as a token of my continued appreciation of all of you:

    Again, I apologise.

  2. Let’s hope the Bridges storms it this year. His acceptance speech will be a masterclass in style and relaxed charm, so fingers crossed. I’d like “An Education” to get a mention, purely for the reason that the camera will have to swoop over the seated cast, thus giving us a glimpse of the delightful Mr Alfred Molina.

  3. @Perla – That’s one of my favorite episodes. “Calm down, lady, did you just get out of prison?”

    @paintmonkey – I really hate that Alfred Molina was overlooked once again! It’s really frustrating.

  4. @Snarkysmachine – Oh! How many times is it now? I think Alfred Molina is always excellent, but do they listen to us? Noooo. Lets just hope Bridges gets one (finally).

  5. I am really crossing my fingers for Bridges.

    I agree on Sandra Bullock. That movie had some fucked up -ism moments, but her performance was of the Oscar-winning variety.

    But really, I just want to see what people are going to wear! I get so excited for the Oscars red carpet and this year I get to see what Gabby Sidibe wears. I am ecstatic about this because she is my girl crush. But I love seeing all of the other celebs too, all done up. The Oscars are the prom of Hollywood, just without (?) underage drinking and losing your virginity in someone’s mom’s van. :)

    Also, @Perla, you have made my night with that Golden Girls clip. Thank you!

  6. That said, I am not under any illusion her win will usher in powder pink Perestroika for women filmmakers I love this line.

    I was strongly ambivalent about a lot of the movies that came out today, especially the ones that got Oscar nods. Still haven’t seen Avatar, f’r instance, or the Blind Side. I thought A Single Man and An Education were fantastic but they’re hardly Academy-type films and that sort of 1-Oscar nom rarely transforms into recognition.

  7. Snarkys: I’m confused by your last one. Did you like Mo’Nique’s performance, but think it will win for bad reasons? Did you dislike her performance and think it will win for bad reasons? (Personally, I thought she was spec-fucking-tacular, though Precious didn’t do it for me overall.)

  8. :( Either my post got caught in the spam filter or I hit the wrong button. In any case, I think you’re right Snarky’s M about who’s going to win.

  9. @Sara l –

    It has nothing to do with the performance, just the award itself. As I mentioned, it’s sort of a career killer. And while she was quite good, it was still basically poverty pr0n and really nothing the academy or people who watch lots of black cinema haven’t seen done to death. I mean that’s pretty much the only type of role available to fat dark skinned actresses.

  10. Ooooo, that reminds me. Still plans for live blogging the Oscars? I want to make sure I have some nice wine on hand. (:

  11. Oh yes, I hope you do the live blog thing again, that was a blast!

    I have to admit, I haven’t even seen The Hurt Locker yet, but I’m hoping it wins because I like Kathryn Bigelow and I loved Strange Days! I did see Avatar and thought the plot and acting were terrible, although the FX were good.

  12. This post made me realize that all I have done for the past year or so is work. I am so behind on movies. I can’t believe I have written so many blog posts on plus size fashion and still have not seen Precious…sigh. A weekend in front of the TV is in order.

  13. @snarkysmachine: Strange Days! Angela Basset and Vincent D’Onofrio in the same movie = awesomeness!!! I hope you’re right about The Hurt Locker.

  14. I agree with all of these except I think Christopher Plummer may get the “he’s old and we might not get a chance to vote for him again” factor in Supporting Actor. That’s how Robert Donat beat Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart in 1939 for Best Actor, and the academy still hasn’t forgotten that it took them 40 years to rectify passing Henry Fonda over for Stewart in 1940.

    I think about Bigelow winning the Oscar for this “war movie” like I do about Hattie McDaniel being the first black person to win one but winning it for playing Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.” Not the ideal situation by any means but a win is a win, and it’s another barrier broken.


  15. DRST, I would agree with you regarding Plummer, except there’s recent history to suggest otherwise. (I hope you’re right, btw) Peter O’toole was shut out for Venus, and they gave a posthumous one last year, so they are apt to reward an exciting “newcomer” rather than a veteran who makes more movies in a month than Michael Caine does in a year.

    That said, it could be a Martin Landau thing rather than a Lou Gossett Jr. thang. Though I’m thinking Plummer and Waltz might split the vote resulting in a Woody Harrelson upset.

  16. Apparently during the filming of the Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer was so drunk that he can’t even remember doing the Edelweiss scene. I too would need to be pissed as a fart to get through that, so for me, he’s Oscar material.

  17. Redwood: It’s definitely worth seeing if you’re into war movies, or character studies, or are just a film nerd in general. It’s not exactly enjoyable, and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who wasn’t open to “films that are good” as a very broad category, but it’s definitely a super well-made film with important thoughts about things.

  18. Though I’m thinking Plummer and Waltz might split the vote resulting in a Woody Harrelson upset.

    Ah yes, the instant runoff thing is only for best picture. I would love to see Woody win, it would partly make up for him not getting the nod for his portrayal of Larry Flynt.

  19. Apparently during the filming of the Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer was so drunk that he can’t even remember doing the Edelweiss scene. I too would need to be pissed as a fart to get through that, so for me, he’s Oscar material.

    I heard this during his interview with Terry Gross. He was deliciously cheeky and a treat to listen to.

  20. @snarkysmachine, I know – I love it! I adore that whole old school actor type that has no fear of saying really gloriously indiscreet things, while waving a cigarette in the air with a flourish…Peter O’Toole being an excellent example.

  21. The best movie and best actor I’ve seen all year were not nominated. Moon, and Sam Rockwell respectively.

    Also, I don’t agree w/your assessment of supporting actress winners falling into irrelevance. I also think Mo’Nique deserves the shit out of whatever award she gets.

  22. @buttercup Moon was amazing. I too am sad it got no Academy love. What Sam Rockwell did with that material blew me away.

    As much as I didn’t like Avatar, I must admit it was technically quite good and would be okay with James Cameron winning Best Director as long as The Hurt Locker wins Best Picture. Point absolutely taken, though, about “men’s” stories. (I have the same quibble with a movie I loved: 500 Days of Summer. We NEVER see that movie/type of movie from the woman’s point of view.) Though as a woman who loves war movies (and Point Break) I’m a bit conflicted about it.

    Jeff Bridges rules all and I will be very, very angry if he doesn’t win. He’s been the most underrated actor of his generation for 40 years.

  23. I love war movies (The Thin Red Line, The Great Escape, and the Grand Illusion being my favorites). And I adore me some Jeff Bridges (Fearless also one of my favorites). But I haven’t seen The Hurt Locker – I didn’t even know about it until the Golden Globes talk. I will probably not watch the Oscars once again this year because I’d just be clueless. I used to be so up on movies, but now I’m sooo behind. I don’t like how the nominations are basically popularity contests that require heavy campaigning by the studios. I’m not saying it has no merit, but too much awesomeness just goes totally ignored by them. That being said, I hope black people, women, and Jeff Bridges win this year. And I’ll go back to my Netflix.

  24. Oh, I should also add, that I realized something was seriously amiss (along with the obvious things) with the Oscars when some people were getting nominated multiple times in one year for two different performances. Seriously? Only five nominees for a category, and you can’t find five DIFFERENT people? Very silly.

  25. CL, Duncan Jones won a BAFTA for it, but Sony didn’t shop it around for oscar consideration, which is a damn shame because it’s a fine piece of filmmaking.

  26. I agree with all your picks. I’m still paranoid that Best Picture will go to Avatar, which would be a spectacular fail. It would make it even more obvious that the Academy is primarily interested in privileged white men throwing up tired racist metaphors all over an idiotically expensive special effects tableaux and making an idiotic amount of money because of it.

    Sorry, I am just sick of uber-racist movies; particularly uber-racist sci-fi movies. I guess it’s easier to follow that formula since colonial literature is the predecessor of science fiction. That’s part of the reason why I love Children of Men: a non-racist kinda-sci-fi movie omg! My little brother claims Sunshine is also a non-racist sci-fi movie, but I’ve never seen it.

    My feelings regarding Mo’Nique’s nomination and the film Precious in general are similar to my feelings regarding Avatar, i.e. I’m tired of racist movies. I refused to see Precious based solely on how it appears to be a gigantic display of poverty porn based on a book that was based on like a couple dozen different girls experiences, all synthesized into one unimaginably tragic figure. Is it any coincidence that financially-comfortable white people love that shit? I think not.

  27. @ Most of y’all – So long that Avatar does NOT win best picture, and James Cameron does NOT win best director, I will be happy. I loved the Hurt Locker, loved A Serious Man, and Precious, with all of its flaws, still made me cry and cry and cry. Both Up and Up in the Air were pretty OK as well. But Avatar?!?!?? The worst, stupidest movie ever, so ignorantly racist, so many stupid plot points, so many ancient history cliches, ugh. Pretty pictures ftl.

    And I can’t not have my fingers crossed for Kathryn Bigelow.

    Best Actor: Morgan Freeman! To me, he became Mandela (who CHOSE Morgan Freeman to portray him, what an honor!)
    Best Actress: I’m torn, so many great nominees. Basically, anybody but Cary Mulligan. Thought she didn’t really do such a hot job.
    Best Supporting Actor: Ugh, I love them all again.
    Best Supporting Actress: Who are we kidding? Mo’Nique. Her final scene, it was like reliving every abusive conversation I’d ever had with my mom, and it didn’t erase that sympathy you have for a mother, regardless of the cruel things she does. That is nuance. Yeah, the award IS a career-killer, there are NO good roles being written for brilliant ladies like Mo’Nique, but all that aside, she was 100% real to me.

    As for best Animated, Fantastic Mr Fox was so disappointing, but the rest were great!

    Screenplay? COEN BROTHERS. I loved how they carefully wove Jewish mysticism and Merkabah and Jewish mythology and the Book of Job into such a cohesive script.

    And Randy Newman’s got to take an award home somehow.

    So, basically, I love movies waaaay too much, and am pretty easy to please. Oscars party anybody?

  28. It’s so interesting to hear all the comments about Avatar being racist because soooo many POC I know who saw it, loved it – and these are POC who are active in POC issues. I think it is a problematic movie (mostly I didn’t like the white hero trope) but when I see people coming down so hard on both sides of the racist/not racist thing, I have to wonder.

  29. Just to say it: Colin Firth is exquisite, exquisite in “A Single Man”. Heartbreaking, gorgeous acting. But… I know that one given of the Oscars this year is that Jeff Bridges gets that one. Still: I think I’ve rarely seen acting like Firth’s in that movie.

  30. When I commented on my blog that I’d seen Avatar (the only film in the list I have seen, actually: I don’t really go to the cinema), the first question I was asked was whether it passed the Bechdel test. (It doesn’t, but it also very nearly fails the anti-Bechdel test, which is interesting). There are three very strong female characters, one of whom was my favourite character in the film.

    I’m uncertain whether it’s racist. On TV Tropes some people were saying it’s an excellent example of the rather unpleasant “Mighty Whitey” trope. (No link, or I’ll get caught in the spam filter, but it’s fairly easy to find. Warning: TV Tropes is a time-thief.) On the other hand, Jake had inside info, so it could be argued to be a justified use of the trope.

    Oh I don’t know. I enjoyed it. It was a piece of fun which I didn’t take very seriously. (Cue Moff’s Law.)


  31. @ hsofia – I can only speak to myself, but Mighty Whitey really ticks me off. Nobody can tame that special flying animal until Mighty Whitey comes along. Nope, those Na’avi would NEVER have thought to approach from behind! That, and as a Desi, I see the Avatar story as such a parallel to the double insult that India experienced in being raped twice: first through colonialism, and then through cultural appropriation. The story of the Indigenous Americans is not much different – first they kill you and take away your resources to live, and then they appropriate the symbols of your religion in a shallow, materialist way and play at being you for fun. It’s not cool.

    @ TRiG – I LOVE Allison Bechdel and literally keep my definitive Dykes to Watch Out For under my OfficeBed for easy reference. And yes, Sigourney Weaver is kickass, and so is Zoe Saldana, but I have much bigger problems with the movie.

  32. Oh, and btw, everybody thought I thinks I am a Na’avi when I’m blue, and that makes me so annoyed. Sheesh, there’s more than one kind of avatar, guys!

  33. Hey Trig, thanks for the pointers to Bechdel test which lead me to the writings of Jennifer Kesler (I’d link, but it seems to fail when I try (love that passive voice, makes it sound like “it” failed, not me ;), but if someone is interested try thehathorlegacy.com). She rocks!

  34. @Krishji

    Office Bed? Wow.

    Flying animal: Taruk (“last shadow”). (There was some argument on TV Tropes that it’s possible the setup is justified: Maybe the Na’vi had too much respect for the Taruks to play that trick on them.)
    My favourite character (and my mother’s): Trudi Cachon.

    I must admit that the racist overtones didn’t even occur to me when I first saw it, and I still feel that they might be justified by the plot. (Perhaps they should be considered, in TV Tropes language, unfortunate implications rather than outright racism. Justified in this particular plot, but nonetheless unfortunate. I don’t know why he had pair up with the chief’s daughter, though: it’s all a bit too neat, isn’t it?)


  35. @Cassi,

    There’s a link to this article from my blog, but no harm in having a direct link to the Bechdel test. Any discussion of film on a feminist blog could do with a mention of it.

    (That article was published in Jan 2009. And I saw it in pre-publication, as it went through Peer Review. And I was already aware of the Bechdel test. Which means I’ve been reading feminist blogs longer than I thought.)


  36. @Trig: I think that David Brooks (who is not usually my favorite columnist, but still) summed up the racist problems with Avatar in a pretty accessible way: you could find it by going to the New York Times’s website… the article was called White Messiah, I think.

    The idea of this racism being justified by the plot doesn’t work, I think… mostly because, why and how would a plot justify it? Justify it to whom? Moreover, the plot itself is where the racism lurks, I believe… they aren’t separate. The plot is simply a borrowed plot, based on old racist ways of thinking. Cameron is great at a lot of the aspects of making a movie, but he’s a terrible writer.

  37. I have to say I thought Avatar was one hell of a spectacle, and since I usually watch movies for the spectacle, I enjoyed it. And then, off came the 3D glasses and I started thinking about the Unspoiled Natives Love Earth Mother meme, and the cringing started.

    So yeah, with all y’all. But if Avatar misses the Best Special Effects prize, I will be a sad kid.

  38. snarkys – actually the Peter O’Toole thing might be why the Academy voters go for Plummer. They don’t want to make the same mistake. (The bottom line being, it’s rarely about the genuine merit of the nominees, it’s always about history and politics, so predictions aren’t always easy.)

    krishji – the Coens already won major awards, including Director and Picture last year. Best Screenplay is traditionally the consolation prize of Oscars. It’s beneath the Coens now. It’ll probably go to Tarantino (Tarantino having never won, and unlikely win any time soon, Best Director or Film) or “The Hurt Locker” author for original, and my guess is “Precious” or “Up In the Air” for Adapted Screenplay. And I hate to say this and further burst your bubble, but the “Crazy Heart” song is probably going to win best song. Randy Newman finally got his Oscar for “Monsters Inc.”, even though that was far from his best work, so I wouldn’t count on him winning. Especially for a movie considered a poor performer at the box office like “Princess and the Frog.”



  39. @ DRST – Oh, I was just giving opinions, not making predictions. Sorry if I wasn’t clear! I never expect my favorites to win, and I’m not nearly as good at handicapping as you are. I know you’re probably right on everything.

    @ TRiG – Yeah, OfficeBed. Don’t judge. I live in a studio with a large man and four rabbits. I also have a BathroomLibrary and a KitchenGarage and a ChairCloset.

  40. @Krishji – believe me, I understand. I ranted about that stuff on my FaceBook, but I was still amazed at the large number of POC friends on there who were “blown away” and recommending it to others as a conversational piece on militarism and imperialism.

  41. Ok – I should say that I had forgotten Street Fighter when I made the “Wes Studi – always excellent comment”. We’ll draw a veil over Street Fighter – this also starred the tremendous ubercool dreamboat marvel that was Raul Julia, so it should have been a hoot. I assume they were both having new bathrooms put in, or were extending their kitchens, and that’s what attracted them to the film.

  42. I hate hate hate the oscars (can you tell I don’t like them).

    They are supposed to reward excellence and all they do is reinforce the system.

    Sure they occasionally give an award to something or someone who actually deserves it but it’s mainly about waiting your turn.

    See the current idea that Jeff Bridges will win this time because it is ‘his turn’.

    Now Jeff, as we all know, is the very definition of awesome but he has had many better roles than this (the dude for one).

    I totally agree with Snarky on the best supporting actress role, it can be a killer which is a shame as it seems to be the only award that non stereotype actresses seem to win.

  43. Krishji, I’m so happy to see the love for A Serious Man – it was one of my favorites for the whole year, and I was really surprised that Fred Melamid didn’t get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Sy Ableman – I was riveted every time he was on screen.

  44. I really hope that Bigelow wins, if only to see her trump her ex-hubby Cameron. He treated her like crap when they were married and going through the divorce, so I’d love to see her win if only for a little retribution. Also, while Avatar was technologically beautiful, I had major problems with Cameron’s stereotypical characterization of the Nav’i (the blue people). I’d like to see Bigelow win to also let Cameron know that the Academy is not going to favor his technologically impressive but stereotypical (and lacking in real character development) movies any more.

    I’ve been meaning to get my butt out of the house to see Crazy Heart before it’s out of theaters, which I’ll hopefully do this weekend. I love The Dude and Jeff Bridges and feel he’s more than deserving. I’d like to see him win.

    Lastly, this sentence on Sandra Bullock made me laugh so hard, I cried, which I haven’t done in a damn long while: “With all the subtlety of a trumpet fart in church, Bullock has taken a page from the Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich), Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment) and Cher (Moonstruck) How-to-win-an-Oscar play book.” Good on ya! (And I totally agree about Rachel McAdams.)

  45. @ hsofia – You are right, I have heard similar views as well, and then, from the opposite viewpoint, that Avatar is a bad film because it is anti-nationalistic and anti-military during a time of war, which is validated on the other side by people saying that these are the reasons why Avatar is a good film. It still overlooks all of the other, more intrinsic problems with the film.

    @ Neely O’Hara – I was disappointed about Fred Melamid as well. Sy Ableman was so real to my husband, that every time I mention this character, he shouts out “I hate that guy!!!” What a great character and a great performance. I really loved that film, from beginning to end, with the twister coming to lift up Danny like the embrace of an angry god/God. Nobody saw the movie, but it was great, folks, trust me.

  46. Also, I don’t agree w/your assessment of supporting actress winners falling into irrelevance. I also think Mo’Nique deserves the shit out of whatever award she gets.

    Okay, I’ll use my Tommy Lee Jones, Denzel and Morgan example. These were all character actors – though TLJ had a near brush with fame in Coal Miner’s Daughter – who were familiar but NOT household names. I’ll even toss Kevin Spacey into the mix.

    AFTER they won best supporting actor Oscars they instantly became LEADING MEN. We can’t even think of a time when Morgan or Denzel or TLJ wasn’t the above title name. That’s what this award does to men. It transforms them into LEADING MEN instantly.

    After The Fugitive you couldn’t escape TLJ. Before that, he was a virtually unrecognizable bit thug in Under Siege 2.

    Denzel was doing bit parts in combination with his role on St. Elsewhere (incidentally, everyone should see him young and hilarious in Carbon Copy) before Glory made him the Denzel we know today.

    Morgan was on The Electric Company and fumbled through the 80s until he was plucked by Christopher Reeves to play the forerunner to Terrance Howard’s role in Hustle & Flow in a movie called Street Smart, which is FANTASTIC. He didn’t win the award, but he started to blip for Hollywood. By the time he won his best supporting actor award he was the go to geezer black guy, pushing out Danny Glover, who is a far more nuanced and craft intensive actor. Morgan might approximate Mandela, but Danny could have effectively embodied.

    Now, I love me some Morgan, but he’s great at playing – well, Morgan – and hot damn, we love it. But he’s not particularly interested in craft in the way Fishburne and Glover are.

    Okay, so that brings me to the women. Tilda Swinton – who I don’t actually care for – should be way more famous. She won the best supporting nod for Michael Clayton and is an incredibly actress. Mind blowing, even. Why isn’t she a leading woman now?

    Judi Dench. Now, she got that award because they fucked up the previous year, so I don’t count her. Ditto with Cate Blanchett and Renee Zellweger who were both rob the year prior to receiving their “thanks but no thanks” awards.

    Mira Sorvino? Seen her lately? What about Brenda Fricker? Anyone heard from Olympia Dukakis, Mercedes Ruehl or Marcia Gay Harden?

    Maybe they’re technically working, but I bet if you compare their prospects to the prospects of the other women they beat, I bet those women aren’t any worse off and probably a whole heck of a lot better off.

  47. Brenda Fricker – wow, snarkysmachine, you’ve got some serious hardcore Oscar memory. I like the swing of your petticoats, m’lady (doffs cap appropriately).

  48. I couldn’t stand Avatar not so much because of the super-special-white-man-representing-humanity-rescues-native-peoples trope, but because of the poor characterization and shallow, predictable storyline. I think that kind of bad storytelling should automatically disqualify it from being “serious”, though it can still be great entertainment (which it is imo), and it does provide interesting pop culture commentary – I liked seeing a disabled hero for once (albeit only disabled for a short time), and there were some interesting takes on masculinity and ecological imperialism. The thing is, Pocahontas was a great if problematic and historically inaccurate movie (well, it’s Disney), and I don’t mind it when other movies like Avatar copy Pocahontas’s story since it’s a good one and perhaps even archetypal, but somehow all the emotional resonance of the Disney movie didn’t cross over – I actually thought the development of Pocahontas’s and John Smith’s relationship was more realistic, the minor characters were more human (except for the villains), and the ending was much better because it wasn’t a happily-ever-after, and because it wasn’t a deus-ex-machina – which made Pocahontas truly special, because she saved everyone through her own ACTIONS, rather than through a deus ex machina brought about by her Specialness.

    In contrast, I found it bemusing how quickly and earnestly Jake embraced this completely new lifestyle (seriously…didn’t he miss the internet or freshbaked cookies or movies at all? must be just me who hates camping!), how perfunctorily and stereotypically Jake and Neytiri fell in love, how hilariously camp and liberal’s-worst-nightmare the bad guys were, how Jake followed the Every Damn Hero’s Journey yet the Na’vi were only saved thanks to Mother Nature (frankly she seems a bit racist…only listens to white guys lol). You’d think that an alien species on a completely different planet in the future could come up with more interesting cultural customs than the Hollywood cliches of sleeping in a hammock, taming an animal to prove one’s manhood, and being One with Nature. Though I was fond of Jake Sully’s character since his stand-out trait was compassion – a virtue not exactly idealized in most heroes – I was also annoyed at the lack of an inner struggle and real ethical adversity. There wasn’t a moral conflict since it was so black and white, so it was pretty DUH which side Jake would join (note – not the greedy assholes who want to commit genocide). It could’ve been made much more complex simply by making the motives of the baddies less evil – for example, a cure for human cancer may lie beneath the Na’vi Tree, which could make for a more interesting discussion about pharmaceutical companies and developing countries and appropriation and biodiversity and ownership and so on.

    (I also wasn’t terribly impressed by the “cinematography”, because I have seen far more original, creative, and beautiful worlds than Pandora in video games. I still can’t believe they could only come up with what, five species? WTF?!)

    So basically, I will top myself if Avatar wins, even though I can definitely see why a lot of people, including POC and those sensitive to racial/feminist issues, may like Avatar. In fact I enjoyed watching it and I think it’s a good populist movie that is entertaining without being TOO Michael Bay-ish. But I just can’t think of it as a “serious” film that delves into human issues except in the most simplistic sense – Environment Good. Heartless Corporations Bad. Genocide Bad. Imperialists Suck. Native Princess Hot, Likes White Men. Also, Barely Clothed.

    I haven’t seen the Hurt Locker, but I’ve heard so many good things about it and I generally love war movies that focus on the personal lens rather than the actual fighting, tactics etc. I think it’s problematic that what are traditionally seen as men’s issues are taken more seriously, but I also think that rom coms or the Twilight movies are not taken seriously for good reason (and are generally the most sexist of the lot), and there are a shit ton of war/violence movies that are considered crap. I also find it extremely annoying when women-directed romance movies are just considered chick flicks, rather than human flicks. I’d love it if there were more critically acclaimed movies centered on women, but that’s not Kathryn Bigelow’s fault. In recent years I remember “4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days”, “The Milk of Sorrow”, “Grbavica”, “Tuya’s Marriage”, all focused on women’s stories, winning the top awards at the major film festivals. Granted they are international films, whereas Hollywood does a phenomenally shitty job when it comes to providing directing and funding opportunities to female directors….

  49. Re supporting actress. I think Snarky’s Machine is spot on. The supporting male actor award is the gateway to leading man roles. The supporting female actor award is a pat on the back for being a supporting female actor. (Or, a consolation prize for not getting that leading lady award a previous year.)

  50. So, as I’ve been reading, I’ve wondered why best supporting actor is a jumping board to success, but not the best supporting actress one. It fits with some sense of their being one lead woman in a group… the “Queenie” as a John Updike story puts it… and the other “ladies in waiting” being inherently lesser. Is it like the culture thinks that being the best supporting actress says something inherently about where you belong and who you are?

  51. Oh my… I haven’t seen ANY of these films. In fact, I saw… Sherlock Holmes at the cinema, in December. Before that, I can’t remember the last time I went to the pictures.

    I have been under a rock.

    I think Forest Whittaker would also have been a great Mandela- I love him in general. (Maybe the powers that be thought he got his run at a Major Leader of a Nation already in Last King of Scotland?)

  52. Isn’t Angelina Jolie one who got Best Supporting Actress (for Girl, Interrupted) and then went on to leading lady status?

    Off the top of my head, can’t think of any others, though, so perhaps she’s the exception to the rule.

  53. (Or perhaps the trick is to catch America’s attention by making out with a blood relative while accepting the award . . . )

  54. Ooh, I love Forest Whittaker. I wish he made more movies.

    @ Starling – Yeah, I’m pretty sure that smooching your brother in public is a pretty good way to make sure that people don’t forget your name the way they usually do for the Best Supporting Actress.

  55. “he’s old and we might not get a chance to vote for him again” factor in Supporting Actor. That’s how Robert Donat beat Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart in 1939 for Best Actor”

    Donat was only in his mid-thirties in ’39 (he wore a ton of age make-up in “Goodbye Mr. Chips”).

    “That’s what this award does to men. It transforms them into LEADING MEN instantly.”

    Not always (Lou Gossett Jr & Joe Pesci didn’t parlay their wins into the kind of leading man status you’re talking about — and from the same era as your Denzel/Morgan example, Geena Davis, Jessica Lange and Annette Benning won Best Supporting and used it to thrust themselves into very big careers) but more than that, I don’t think career examples from more than ten years ago can be applied today — the range of roles available for women has so narrowed (mostly centered on ‘fuckability’) it’s not a question of the Best Supporting Actress award being a career killer, it’s being an actress, period, that is the kiss of death.

  56. Geena Davis, Jessica Lange and Annette Benning

    Who? What are each of them doing today? What do they have in production today? Sorry. None of them are working TODAY. Do your homework.

    Morgan, Denzel and TLJ have several projects in production today.

    And Annette Bening never won an Oscar. Jessica Lange won for TOOTSIE and again for a movie nobody heard or saw called “Blue Sky”. Geena Davis doesn’t even work any more.

    Isn’t Angelina Jolie one who got Best Supporting Actress (for Girl, Interrupted) and then went on to leading lady status?

    Okay, so FIVE women: Angelina, Dame Judi, Cate, Renee and Geena got bumps in their careers out of 75 plus other women who have also received the same award. You want those kind of odds going in to surgery?

  57. “Maybe they’re technically working, but I bet if you compare their prospects to the prospects of the other women they beat, I bet those women aren’t any worse off and probably a whole heck of a lot better off.”

    ..forgot to say; when you compare careers amongst (over forty) fellow nominees in the last decade, many have turned to theatre and/or television (Laura Linney, Marcia Gay Harden, Holly Hunter, Julie Walters, Kathy Bates, Patricia Clarkson, etc) because that’s where the interesting work is.

  58. Look, Iola, we’re not talking “interesting”, we’re talking opportunities and those are not the same for women and men who win this award. Opportunities mean influence and influence means power.

    Interesting or not, the power lies with the film industry. I didn’t make the news, I just report it.

    TV is still considered “beneath” and you don’t seriously think it’s cool that TLJ does one role gets one award and becomes huge, while Holly Hunter who has been amazing in just about everything is doing a show on basic cable? It’s a great show, to be sure, but come now.

    Kathy Bates didn’t win the best supporting, she won lead actress for “Misery”. Not same. Julie Waters was nominated for LEAD actress for Educating Rita in 1982. Linney is wildly overrated and Clarkson was nominated for best supporting, so basically you’ve proved my point.

  59. And Annette Bening never won an Oscar.”

    You’re right — she was nominated for BSA.

    “Morgan, Denzel and TLJ have several projects in production today.”

    Because men are allowed to age out in a way not allowed for women (something Michelle Pfeiffer noted almost twenty years ago, when she was paired with, iirc, Connery.) Older men are deemed fuckable and/or interesting much more than older women & that has nothing to do with winning/not winning the BSA, only the shit that passes for thinking in Hwood.

    “Do your homework.”

    I spent the last five years of my life trying to get different kinds of women onto the screen — and failed every fucking time — so I’ve done the homework.

  60. I definitely agree sexism and pretty much every other -ism is the culprit, which is why I don’t really want Mo’Nique to win if it means she’ll go the way of Whoopi or Linda Hunt. I want her to have a rich career, and after reading what winners themsevlves have stated regarding what the gold man did to their careers – Dianne Wiest is pretty hilarious on the subject – I’m sticking by my “it’s a curse”.

    People often cite Meryl Streep’s win for Kramer Vs. Kramer as an example of someone beating the curse, when in reality A) her role was not supporting and B) she was steered into that category since there was NO way she would be able to beat Sally Field who won for Norma Rae.

    Dame Judi won hers for what amounts to 8 or 9 minutes of screen time!

    I mean, yes there are men who have stumbled – Cuba Gooding Jr and Timothy Hutton immediately come to mind – but for every one of those there are like two Jennifer Connellys!

    Marcia Gay Harden stated her 2000 win for Pollack really banged up her career badly.

    Mira Sorvino and Marissa Tomei were both pretty “fuckable” at the time when they won, yet it did not translate to lucrative success.

    Also I get kind of weary of woc getting this award and virtually seeing themselves erased from cinema or becoming the punchline to a bad joke. Or maybe I’ve just been reading way too much about Rita Moreno!

  61. Snarkysmachine, I completely agree with you about the direction an actress’ career can take after they win an oscar. The Fug girls recently ruminated on Renee Zellweger’s so-so recent output. They wondered if she can “claw her way back to the place where putting “Oscar-winning” in front of her name doesn’t make people laugh and go, “Oh, GOD, I FORGOT that”?” Zellweger perhaps isn’t the the best example of post-oscar career problems, but her oscar hasn’t exactly cemented an upward trajectory.

  62. Maybe I miscategorized this as “fluff”.

    Why do I care about the Oscars?

    1. PWD don’t get to play people with disabilities cause Daniel Day Lewis played PWD and won an Oscar for his efforts, therefore why cultivate talented lived experience individuals when you have Stella Adler!

    2. Because POCs only get rewarded for playing buffoons, monsters and deviants.

    3. Because only three Asian people have ever won in the “big categories” and one of them was murdered.

    4. Because Rita Moreno was basically blacklisted from Hollywood after her win and her career never blossomed and we were robbed. I think that every time I catch her playing Bobby’s mom on Law & Order.

    5. Because the Oscars are transmitting our “cultural values” – for better or worse – globally.

    6. Because Black teen pregnancy is tragedy (Precious) and White teen pregnancy is dramedy (Juno). And white liberal folks think “Precious” is groundbreaking as though it wasn’t just the same tired tropelicious Hollywood version of black life shot with better lighting. How is groundbreaking if we’ve seen it a billion times before? Hint: it’s not. That’s why it’s called a trope.

    7. Because what is culturally transmitted has impact on my life and the lives of other marginalized folks. It shapes our choices, our opportunities and the way in which we’re read in spaces we embody.

    8. Because I’m a big old cinema historian and buff.

  63. Snarky’s, I left class Wednesday thinking much the same about a supposedly fluffy conversation about the Olympics. You start out on “should you cover your skate with your tights?” and end with “Big Stuff is Big.”

    It’s a rare occasion when a lemur is just a lemur.

    Proving your point, I’d forgotten about Jennifer Connolly until you mentioned her.

    Hiang Ngor and Rita Moreno, I hadn’t forgotten, and… *sad*

  64. @Dawn:

    I wouldn’t categorize Children of Men as a non-racist movie, as it’s basically like “OMG Muslims have overrun the world and everything is horrrrrrrrible!”

    I guess the question I’d have about best supporting actress is whether winners actually do worse than similar actresses who don’t win and why that is. I’m not very superstitious, and it’s hard for me to believe that a casting director looks at two actresses and it like “Well this one won an Oscar so… no.”

  65. I’m not very superstitious, and it’s hard for me to believe that a casting director looks at two actresses and it like “Well this one won an Oscar so… no.”

    In doing some research it seems that sometimes winning an award – Gwyneth mentioned experiencing this after winning for Shakespeare in Love – is a belief the actress is now “priced” out of the market. Which is interesting, since they seem to have no problem offering men who win awards more money. They certainly aren’t losing out on roles because they are too expensive.

    It might also be another way to justify not cultivating existing female actors and instead frantically searching for the younger, hotter version of whomever is the flavor of the moment now.

    re: my list above
    1a. Marlee Matlin’s been on my mind since watching a couple of episodes of The L Word. I realized how much I missed her! I loved Children of a Lesser God because of HER and hoped I’d get to see her in more stuff. Unfortunately, mostly it seems her career has been either self-parody (My Name is Earl) or roles have consisted of her character being someone else’s learning opportunity. Nearly two decades later she finally gets to showcase her amazing craft on The L Word and damn, she’s got skillz.

  66. Ok, I admit, I am white and I saw Precious as groundbreaking – not because I love “poverty porn” but because Monique was channeling my grandmother and I had never seen a depiction of the abusive personality I knew all my life. You may have “seen it a billion times,” but I have never, ever seen the same crazy, cruel, pathetic and pitiable person depicted before. I was not sexually abused, but I had friends whose mothers did not stop their fathers and stepfathers from raping them, blaming their own daughters for tempting the men, and I appreciate that a movie not relegated to Lifetime showed this brutal reality.

    As for the Best Supporting Actress curse, I believe that the award is not necessarily a career killer. Its just that Hollywood is misogynistic and does not provide many good roles for actresses. This becomes very apparent when even Oscar-winning actresses cannot get good parts. Hollywood did not want to distribute Precious, a movie starring an obese young black woman. It took two people who passionately believed in the movie, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. Do I believe that an Oscar will prompt Hollywood to offer Monique better roles? No – but I still hope she gets the award for the best acting I have ever seen.

  67. “In doing some research it seems that sometimes winning an award – Gwyneth mentioned experiencing this after winning for Shakespeare in Love – is a belief the actress is now “priced” out of the market.”

    I think this is true in a lot of other fields too, and all the other arts.I’m sure the “price” isnt just financial either. It seems as though when a woman really is truly great in a field and is suddenly recognised as an unquestionable talent, she becomes terrifying and must be crushed. It seems that white men escape this effect, and they can go on achieving and achieving without ever growing too scary, or needing to be questioned. Basically they can do what they want and nothing stops their powermachine rolling ever forwards. When a woman, or a POC achieves a real height they then have to be also suddenly be perfect role-models too, or they will get demeaned and pulled down immediately. This is how it strikes me anyway.

  68. You may have “seen it a billion times,” but I have never, ever seen the same crazy, cruel, pathetic and pitiable person depicted before.

    You’ve never seen black women depicted as monsters, sapphires or Jezebels before??? That’s pretty much all there is. Even in the so-called “post racial Obama age” that’s pretty much the only types of roles available for black actresses.

    This character has been done before – from the campy Mommy Dearest to countless TV cop shows and Lifetime movies – but when coupled with existing notions of inherent belief of black criminality and stereotypes universalizing black life, and making the “monster” a fat, black woman has mostly just fashioned a newer black boogyman (woman) for white folks to fear and project on to ALL black women, since we are never individuals.

  69. Sorry – I really screwed that sentence up – I’m typing in the dark! What I meant to say was when a woman, or a POC achieves a real height they then have to suddenly be perfect role-models too, or they will get demeaned and pulled down immediately.”

  70. @Dawn:

    “Spectacular fail” is really the best name for the Avatar hype… it’s winning plaudits based on spectacle while people overlook the serious issues with the content.

  71. Re: Racist story tropes being “justified” by the plot… all this means is that the writers did the bare minimum to keep their story coherent. It doesn’t change what’s going on, and an important part of what’s going on isn’t that one particular guy who maps pretty well to the heteronormative model of Default Human Being just happened to, in one particular case that exists in isolation, do these things with a bunch of Exotic Others… what’s going on is that we have a culture that keeps telling this same story over and over again and it affects our society in ways both subtle and profound.

  72. And I just realized that for the last two posts I’ve commented twice in a row without realizing it. :P This is what happens when I move between computers, which is what happens when I take my netbook into the kitchen with me to keep me company while I cook.

    (Crab cakes, honey glazed carrots, corn. I love how much cheaper seafood gets during Lent.)

  73. @gnatalby “I wouldn’t categorize Children of Men as a non-racist movie, as it’s basically like “OMG Muslims have overrun the world and everything is horrrrrrrrible!”

    I didn’t read the book, but I saw the movie, and I don’t remember this being the case. I didn’t like the movie, but I don’t recall things because awful *because* of immigration.

  74. Just on a Tommy Lee Jones detour – I’ve been trying for ages to remember a film I saw about 20 years ago – maybe more, that starred him and a girl – (I think it may have been Martha Plimpton), it had the word River in the title, but I was really young when I saw it and loved it. It’s really bugging me…does anyone else remember it, or what it was called? She was his daughter in it.

  75. River Rat! Snarkysmachine….wow! You are most certainly now the Offical Film Guru. This is excellent! I love films and am considered a totally anal bore when it comes to film, so it’s great news to hear there is someone more hardcore and expert. River Rat – I can’t even remember if it was any good, I just liked it I suspect because TLJ was in it, and I’ve always liked him.

  76. Re: TLJ. He plays basically the same character in truly lulztastic Volcano. This time with terminally poutlicious and adorable Gabby Hoffman. Oh that movie is so bad it’s good and then slides on back to bad again. So much hammage. So much overacting and plotholes you could drive a tank through. It’s like in the middle they just gave up trying to play it straight and said, “fuck it. Let’s just enjoy it.”

    I believe Don Cheadle was the only one who didn’t get that memo and gave a noble, albeit overly earnest performance.

  77. Paintmonkey, the movie you’re looking for is The River Rat – IMDB has a neat advanced search function where you can search for movies where people have acted together, so I was able to find it by searching with Martha Plimpton. Hope you can find it to watch again!

  78. @paintmonkey – after The Fugitive and I fell hard for TLJ and rewatched and read everything I could about him. Suddenly, he was everywhere. He was the cop in Eyes of Laura Mars and Oliver’s cheeky roommate in Love Story, which prior to The Fugitive I hadn’t noticed before.

    And then there’s Bad Moon Rising or if it isn’t actually called that, it should be. It’s a terrible film with TLJ and Virgina “Slamdance” Madsen. Oh god, multi-system failure.

  79. He has been in some whopping Turkeys, but he’s still got that cool from-every-pore thing you can’t ignore.
    Like your man Bob Hoskins.

  80. @paintmonkey – after The Fugitive and I fell hard for TLJ and rewatched and read everything I could about him.

    I did exactly the same thing when I first saw Raul Julia….to prove the depths of this to you, I even bought Moon over Parador…that is dedication.

  81. Snarkys–I agree absolutely about the Best Supporting; I see Angelina Jolie as really the ONLY woman who went from marginal to blockbuster after it. I’m going to speculate that it’s because there are plenty of blockbuster man-man movies (off the top of my head, The Fugitive, of course, Independence Day, etc, etc) and plenty with good man-woman roles but very few that have two really great female roles and are not relegated to “chick flick” because of it. Devil Wears Prada, Sense and Sensibility, and Julie and Julia are considered too much women’s movies to pull off awards (um, okay, maybe some of it was just plain not being good movies, but Sense and Sensibility? Was robbed. IMHO.)

    So there are interesting Best Actress roles but very few really great Best Supporting Actress roles. Lots of Wicked Henchwoman, Scary Mother-In-Law, or Spunky Friend sorts of stuff, but very few roles of the caliber of Samuel Gerard, for screen time or complexity or any other measure of quality.

    Note to Hollywood: Women are not props. Please figure this out.

  82. It was me who said that the racism might be justified by the plot. I feel I should explain that, but, rereading it, I have no idea what I was talking about. And that was only a couple of days ago!


  83. @Volcanista: Can we beat up on “The Core”? I watched it during my Aaron Eckhart phase last year, and it pretty much ended my Aaron Eckhart phase. Yeesh!

  84. Perla, it is my favorite disaster movie, and I have shown it to one of the blogmistresses here, so while I am not a mod I would say “watch it” on that one. ;-)

  85. Volcano was awful – this was the one with Pierce Brosnan, right? I also hated Twister. But I really liked The Core, The Day After Tomorrow, and the recent 2012. I love me some Chiwetel Ejiofor and he was all up in that movie! But my guilty pleasure is disaster flicks, which is why I’ve seen so many. I recently got Pelham 123 off of Netflix and was all confused because I thought it was a disaster movie about a plane. Instead it was Die Hard on a Train.

  86. No no, Volcano had TLJ and Anne Heche. You’re thinking of Dante’s Peak — which, as blockbuster volcano disaster movies go, was probably the most accurate (they even pieced in some actual eruption footage). The Core is hilariously awful, with some of the funniest disaster movie science I’ve ever seen, and the characters are sometimes actually interesting and relatively dynamic, for the genre. Plus there’s a woman who is reasonably important (that is also true of Volcano, and sort-of true in Dante’s Peak), which is really something in a disaster movie. Anyway, I posted my review of 2012 here. Enjoy!

  87. @Volcanista – Okay I don’t remember it, but I checked my Netflix and I’d rated it two stars (along with Dante’s Peak). So I guess Pierce Brosnan stuck out, but that’s all I remember from either film. I don’t care about the science at all, just the special effects, likable characters, and creative ways things get destroyed and people die. That’s why 2012 was SO awesome. It had volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, the destruction of Los Angeles, car chases (of sorts), a plane crash, teeming mobs, and a glacier! My favorite action movie of all time is Predator. So that tells you something about my taste. =D

  88. I can never see Pelham 123, because every time the commercial would come on, my bf would launch into his John Travolta impression, saying, “There’s a crisis on the subway. It’s so wee-yad.”

    Definitely one of those funnier-out-loud jokes.(:

  89. @aliciamaud – I read that and laughed out loud for real! So I think it was funny as is.

    p.s. You don’t need to see Pelham 123. It is not awful, but it is not worth the time.

  90. I’ll confess to loving stupid disaster movies. As a kid my favorites were Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. And yes, I’m aware that objectively they’re both ridiculous.

    I also kind of loved Deep Blue Sea, even though it’s a movie about giant genetically engineered super intelligent sharks. But I mean come on…sharks! That are super smart! And possibly the funniest scene that Samuel Jackson has ever done.

  91. I couldn’t even make beyond Delroy Lindo doing a riff on Back to the Future’s “Doc” before shutting “The Core” off. I just couldn’t make myself watch anymore. And I’ve watched The Poseidon Adventure, The Day After, The Omega Man and stuff of that ilk multiple times. “The Core” was just too awful, which is saying a lot in genre littered with some spectacular fails.

    Deep Impact, I’m looking at you.

  92. Back to the Future’s Doc deserves appropriate respect. Christopher Lloyd has got baffled bewildered science type DOWN.
    I have a special place in my heart for Back to the Future, although it shares that place with TeenWolf…and Ghostbusters.

  93. Has anyone seen Megashark vs Octopus (not sure if that is the real title) it is the trashiest, silliest most cliche ridden disaster/giant creature feature ever made.

    Well worth a watch but only if you are a bit drunk :)

  94. Taking about creature features I have to express my deep love for Lake Placid, Betty White totally ruled in that film, well worth a best supporting actress oscar.

    Best line; I keep getting hit by heads.

  95. OMG OMG Dante’s Peak, Oh guys, that was my favorite movie of all time when I was a little kid. I saw it so many times it, oh you don’t even want to know. Fun fact, in first grade I organized a production of Dante’s Peak, but it was cancelled because the teacher threw away my totally awesome volcano. Dante’s Peak is the reason I don’t watch any disaster movies, nothing else could ever live up to it in my mind. I thought nothing could make me love Shapely Prose more, but the fact that were talking about that movie proves me wrong.

    Re: Roles for Black actors. They can always be the first to die in horror movies. I used to get a little annoyed with jokes about that, because I wasn’t really paying attention/hadn’t seen enough horror movies with black characters so I didn’t entirely believe that it ALWAYS happened. “Legion” opened my eyes to it though and now I can’t stop noticing it. Seriously WTF is up with that? That is seriously one of the most noticed and mocked racist movie features and they just keep doing it. I can think of only one horror film where the black character makes it to the end, “Night of the Living Dead,” and that role was written (according to Romero) without race in mind. He says they were really proud that they didn’t change the script at all when they cast the lead, who just happened to be the best actor of their group.

  96. Didn’t the character in Night of the Living Dead get shot and killed by ‘the man’ at the end?

    I had always assumed that was because he was a POC, I could be wrong (that happens a lot).

    Sorry for the spoiler but I assume anyone who wants to see the film already will have by now.

  97. Yes, JenniferA, I’ve seen it. If it wasn’t for the megashark and the giant octopus, that movie would have been SO bad that I wouldn’t have been able to make it through (me!). The pure ridiculousness of the sea monsters was the only thing that saved it from the dialog and acting, which were really bad enough to just be boring and not funny. However, I did really appreciate the Science scenes, which had them mostly just pouring brightly colored liquids back and forth between test tubes.

    Oh snarkys, I didn’t realize you didn’t actually finish the movie. They don’t even make it into the planet until halfway through! And some of Stanley Tucci’s best scenes were near the very end.

  98. It is true that black actors are nearly always the first to die, or die the most gory deaths. Don’t know if anyone remembers the scene in “The Edge” where the bear attacks the black guy, but that was a truly horrendous moment, yet you somehow knew the first second you saw him that he would be the first and wildly eaten meal.

  99. @ Volcanista

    It was worth watching for me just for the bit when “old maverick scientist” tells “young, hot, female scientist” that every scientist has to face something like this in their career, I can hardly wait for my turn.

  100. @JenniferA, it’s true that he dies at the very end, but since all the characters die and he makes it farther than anyone else, I think it counts as what I was saying. And no it’s wasn’t because he was a POC. Like I said, Romero says they cast the lead and didn’t change a word of the script, and the script never mentions his race. He said that they discussed the parallel with Vietnam more than anything and the racial statement they made kind of went over their head.

  101. Yes he was – and I think he was in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet too if I remember right. Still hot, but thankfully not being ripped to shreds.

  102. @ Alibelle, you are probably right, it is such a long time since I have seen it and I am terrible at reading subtext, which as you can imagine causes me no end of problems.

    I may have to drag it out and watch it again, it is a great and genuinely scary film.

  103. @paintmonkey – Harrold Perrineau … from the tv shows, Oz and Lost? I didn’t remember that was him from The Edge, but I liked his Mercutio. He’s a busy guy these days.

  104. Ooh. I avoid disaster movies. I also avoid depressing movies, which tends to seriously limit my choices. (Particularly since I consider about 80% of generic rom-coms depressing in their portrayal of humanity.) I still agree with whoever it was that said the Oscars really need a “Best Unintentional Comedy” category.

    Best time I ever had watching the Oscars: a friend threw a party, dress code “semi-formal ridiculous: dress to be noticed, not to look good!” We sat around and drank tequila sunrises, ate foods with as little nutritional value as possible, made fun of celebrities’ outfits (not just the women — I never knew there were so many ways to screw up a tuxedo), and tried to remember how many times Randy Newman had been nominated (both that year and overall). Good times.

  105. Speaking of “Best Unintentional Comedy,” I watched the Crazies the other day, and i thought it was hysterical. There was a line in the movie that was something like “I can’t believe you’d blow your only chance on some fool’s errand!” and i couldn’t stop laughing afterwards. I don’t even know why.

    Avatar reminded me of Ferngully! Although I haven’t watched that movie since I was really little, so I don’t remember the details. I thought it was really boring, even if it was visually pretty. One of my freinds was curious as to why the Nav’i had human anatomy when they weren’t “placental mammals.” I loved Inglourious Basterds and A Serious Man a lot, and i thought Up, Up in the Air were cute. I never got to see the Hurt Locker or Precious. My sister raved about the latter, but idk. My taste isn’t very refined; I mean, I wasn’t disapointed by Paranormal Activity like all my movie buff freinds were.

  106. Other Becky: I misread your second-to-last sentence as “… tried to remember how many times Randy Newman had been marinated…” Which might be because of the bears/sharks/octopi- oh my! from above.

  107. Omg, Halle’s “acceptance” speech for her Razzie is hilarious.

    They can’t take this away from me, it’s got my name on it! Thanks to everyone involved in Catwoman, a film which took me from the top of my profession to the bottom. I also want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of sh*t, and to my agent; next time read the script first.


  108. I remember that! Tom Green also accepted his razzies in person, but you’d kind of expect a comedian to do that, unless they’re Mike Myers. According to wikipedia, the first winner to accept a razzie at the ceremony in person was Paul Verhoeven, who won Worst Director and Worst Film for Showgirls. Yeah, he earned them!

  109. Can I just say that I’m mildly annoyed at people saying “according to Wikipedia” when I’ve already linked to the same information at the more reliable, more entertaining, more respectable, more informative, and more overlooked h2g2? We were at Web 2.0 before anyone else. We are possibly the oldest social-networking site, encyclopaedia site, and messageboard out there. We’re still going strong, we’re still putting out marvelous content, and no one’s heard of us. I link home to h2g2 as much as possible, and people still go quoting Wikipedia!

    Here’s what h2g2 says: When Paul Verhoeven won this award for Showgirls in 1996, he was the first nominee in the history of the event to attend the presentation, and he accepted his trophy with good grace.

    /End off-topic rant.


  110. @Trig – never heard of h2g2.

    Re: The Hurt Locker. I just watched it last night. I was mightily confused for about 45 minutes, wondering when Jeff Bridges was going to show up. I had to look up what movie he was nominated for. *sigh* Now I’ve got Crazy Heart (or whatever it’s called) in my Netflix queue. Anyway, I thought Hurt Locker was really well done in terms of tension and acting. Bigelow is a terrific director. I didn’t think it had the entertainment value or blatant emotional pull of say, Black Hawk Down; nor did it have the beauty or philosophical bending of The Thin Red Line, but it was good. And is it just me or does the lead actor look like the love child of Tobey Maguire and Nathan Fillion?

  111. I must admit that Ferngully crossed my mind too when I watched Avatar. I also laughed at a newspaper review I saw (of Avatar) called “Dances with Smurfs.”

  112. @Miguel – you might be right there – it sounds like a South Park gag. Actually that would explain things – the newspaper I saw the review in isnt prone to making gags (or good ones), so they must have just mercilessly ripped it off.

  113. Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode, on their radio show, refer to Avatar as “Smurfahontas” (joke originally contributed by a listener, I believe).

  114. TriG: forgive me if my last comment seemed more snide than teasing. That’s not what I meant. (:

  115. Late getting back to this thread and I see others have kinda made the point, but I don’t thing supporting actress oscar is as much a curse as just being a woman in hollywood is. It’s worse now; if you go back further, you get winners like Anne Baxter in 1946, Celeste Holm in 1947, Shelley Winters in 1959 and 1965, Shirley Jones in 1960, Goldie Hawn in 1969, etc. Now you have leading actors paired in movies with women young enough to be their children or grandchildren. I don’t think it’s the award as much as the sexism-there are few brilliant mainstream roles for women out there and the Meryls and Judis and Tildas tend to get them.

    The academy awards have been a joke for a long time, though. You’d think since Crash won best picture, they’d be completely discredited but people (including me, admittedly) continue to watch.

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