There’s a lot to talk about in Timbuktu, a film by Mali-born director Abderrahmane Sissako that received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, losing to Ida. It’s a gorgeous film, a harrowing film, and one that’s not as easy to wrap your head around as, say, American Sniper. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – Timbuktu just has a lot to say, and says it remarkably well.
The Addison Recorder has a lot of movie nerds on staff. Not all of us, of course, but enough to make the others bend to our will. So in anticipation of this week’s Oscar ceremony the staff is going to do their Will/Should/Dream winners picks for the category we care most about with some brief accompanying comments. The cinema nerds will have seen enough (or feel self-righteous enough) to really make it seem like their opinions have weight. The others have said they are throwing darts. Either process is as valid as actual Oscar voters filling out a ballot proclaiming one work of art objectively better than another.
Also, sometimes Alex can’t help himself and has to respond to the other writers. It’s just something Alex does when shaken. [Read more…]
Most dedicated moviegoers can agree that the Oscars are the film industry’s most high-profile and solipsistic exercise in self-promotion. Their whole existence is transparently crass and has been from the start. They were initially conceived of as a marketing ploy by industry bigwigs. The annual awards, are a reward for “merit” after a race dominated by tens of millions of dollars in “campaign spending.” Perhaps worst of all, they have given rise to a whole industry devoted to awards-centered navel gazing that takes up nearly half the year. Even if one did ignore all of those sins and just viewed them as a reflection of the taste of Hollywood’s elites then…ye gods. Every year they find new ways to ignore great movies and reward bland or mendacious crap. To view them with disdain is probably the only rational reaction.
And yet, I think the Oscars really do mean something and hold an important place in our cinematic culture. Almost in spite of themselves, the Oscars matter. The more easily defensible reason to love the Oscars is because they encourage the general public to engage with the quality of movies. The Oscars taste may tend towards middlebrow melodramas and biopics, but they still ask anyone watching to ask what movie they preferred and why. Actual critical analysis, of course, should not be based around a horse race mentality. And it’s even more reductive to presume that there can even be a “best” movie. Personal opinions and judgments cannot be reconciled with a term that absolute. [Read more…]
Andrew Rostan was a film student before he realized that making comics was his horrible destiny, but he’s never shaken his love of cinema. Every two weeks, he’ll opine on either current pictures or important movies from the past. Today he’s joined by fellow film student Alex Bean to opine on the 87th Academy Award nominations.