First of all, I’d like to apologize to the Academy for
underestimating their boldness in their Best Foreign Language Film nominations
No way did I think that such dark and challenging films as “Revanche” and “The
Baader-Meinhoff Complex” would get in. It suggests that maybe the demographic of Academy members is getting
younger, if not chronologically, then mentally and in terms of taste. Not just bolder, but — dare I say the word? — more liberal.
Reflecting, perhaps, the liberal direction in the country’s politics embodied by
the new President.
Then again, with “Revanche,” I have no doubt that the
FIPRESCI Prize at the Palm Springs Festival put it over the top.
So much for personal delusions. The big question is, what’s with
“The Reader?” Did anyone see that coming? (Answer: Scott Feinberg of the blog “And
the Winner Is.” Bastard!).
Five nominations, including Best Picture
and Director. Could Kate Winslett’s tits have that much clout, even with a
thumbs up from Oprah? Could it be that
the Weinstein Brothers still have that old Oscar magic?
Maybe the Academy checked out the Foreign Language entries and thought, hey, we
can make a dark film about tragic and controversial historical events with
gratuitous female nudity too! Overlooked is the fact that “The Reader,” despite
its pretensions, is shamelessly exploitative of the Holocaust and bankrupt in
its moral reductiveness. If Himmler had such great knockers, maybe we could
have cut him a break as well.
I suppose the reason I’m so annoyed with “The Reader” is because it accounted for three of the six (or is it five?) wrong predictions I made
out of 30 in the top six categories. I say
five because even though I got Best Supporting Actress wrong (Marisa Tomei’s
flaunted nudity beating out Winslet’s in “The Reader”) as well as Best Actress ( Winslet topping Scott-Thomas in “I Loved You So Long”) I did
get Winslet’s performance right, just in the wrong category, while also
predicting that her highly favored “Revolutionary Road” performance wouldn’t
make the grade. So there. I think I should get credited for one correct choice or that.
Also note that the Boston Society of Film Critics, of which I’m a member, once again showed
its prescience (or is it influence? Dream on.) in its awards. Seven out of ten of them proved to
be Academy nominees. One of them, the Best Documentary “Man on Wire,” will be shown
at the group’s Awards Ceremony February 8 at the Brattle Theatre.
One of that film’s producers, Maureen A. Ryan, will be on hand to accept the
award and discuss the film.