Oscar Winners And Trailer Trash
It isn't necessary to see the movies in order to predict the winners and losers.
Thursday, March 21, 2002
Stella and Blanche don''t actually go to movies. They just check out preview trailers on their home computers. They''ve discovered that simply by viewing the trailers they can often divine the entire plot and develop an opinion about any movie without ever leaving the comfort of the home office.
In fact, without having seen any of the movies currently competing for Best Picture, and with no intention of watching the Academy Awards ceremony itself, they are ready to make predictions about what will win.
Blanche: Moulin Rouge doesn''t have a chance. First off, it''s got tunes.
Stella: Worse yet, it''s a musical without good music.
Blanche: It also won''t win because it''s about Gay Paree. Even with a heterosexual love affair at the heart of the script, it''s a fundamentally gay movie-with an undercurrent theme of prostitution.
Stella: Plus, although Nicole Kidman does a fantastic job as a shallow, banal, sleep-your-way-to-stardom ice-queen in real life, it''s just not so interesting in film. Or was it the other way around?
Blanche: Gosford Park? I can''t really tell from the trailer just who committed the murder but I''m leaning towards the butler. What I can tell is that the murder is not as important as director Robert Altman''s social commentary. Also, I don''t need to see it to tell it''s not going to win. A comedy of manners/whodunit is only going to appeal to people with a sophisticated level of film literacy and who are really into genre humour. Last I checked, those people were Robert Altman, the NYU film school and and, ah, well Roger Ebert. Plus, way too many British accents.
Stella: You''re right. It won''t win. But I can''t comment any further. I cheated and saw the movie.
Blanche: I''m disappointed in you, Stella. I hope you didn''t cave with the button-pushing A Beautiful Mind-which also won''t win.
Stella: No, I could resist the temptation there. I agree, there is not much chance of an Oscar for this one-unless it''s a creation of John Nash''s mind.
Blanche: I just don''t think the Academy''s going to give it to a movie about a schizophrenic. Call me when your brilliant mathematician is ah, shall we say, Gumpish.
Stella: My guess is the Department of Defense took some knocks in A Beautiful Mind and that''s another reason why it won''t win, given the current state of affairs. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you-the schizophrenic, bisexual Princeton graduate-can do for the DoD before they medicate, incarcerate and otherwise abuse you.
Blanche: In the Bedroom is a serious contender, according to pundits. Obviously, they haven''t seen the trailer.
Stella: It''s only a contender because, unlike The Ice Storm, Ang Lee''s version of the same movie, In the Bedroom is going to say that middle-class married life is basically good (a few spats over money, sex and how to raise the kids ,but that''s all healthy) but, when tragedy strikes, it all falls to pieces. It will also secretly be about how we all judge the single mother. From mother Spacek''s perspective: the woman''s not divorced yet; she''s got a nice ass (that''s the father''s take). She''s just a fling (the son''s); she stole my house and my child (that''s the soon-to-be-ex-husband talking) and, ultimately, she will remain a victim in the film. That, in my mind, makes it a contender.
Blanche: But, it won''t win, because Sissy Spacek is willing to share the blame around town. It''s not just the perpetrator who''s guilty-(the son gets killed, right?) it''s also her husband, Tom Wilkinson, who let him get away with everything. This is no time for moral ambiguity. Perhaps if the perpetrator were hunted down, captured and taken to Guantanamo Bay, this might win.
Stella: I think you''re right. And Lord''s going to win anyway. A gazillion bucks went into this promotion and the political economy of filmmaking guarantees this winner.
Blanche: Yes: Lord of the Rings is the winner hands down. Don''t get me wrong, I have no emotional investment in the movie; haven''t seen it; didn''t read the book. In fact, I was rather annoyed about how I am apparently the only person on the planet who doesn''t have fond childhood memories of the books. Pathetic posing liars. But Fellowship of the Ring will win because it reflects the political climate. It''s a story about good and evil and the burden of power. Things are black and white down there in Middle Earth, as they are up here right now. No more shades of grey; it''s Frodo all the way.
Stella: Whatever. I hate the Oscars. I''d rather watch a monster truck rally.