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You Can Never Trust the Bald, Naked Man.

February 9th, 2009 · 5 Comments


I saw two brilliant, deeply affecting movies this weekend: Gran Torino and The Wrestler. The characters in both films were broken, regretful old men looking for redemption, and the actors who played them both nailed their parts with sublime majesty. It’s no wonder Mickey Rourke is up for Best Actor– he was Randy “The Ram” Robinson. The question is, what the hell happened with Clint Eastwood’s film’s nominations?

Here’s the reality: Hollywood is all about politics and political agendas. It has nothing to do with a reflection of how we as a nation feel about a movie. It’s a friggin’ political rally and only one party gets to vote.

Case in point: The movies up for Best Picture are Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire and Milk. Here is what each of them earned in domestic dollars to date, and combined average film critic scores:

Benjamin Button:     $120M   (B)

Frost/Nixon:           $15.6M   (A-)

The Reader             $16.1M   (B-)

Slumdog Millionaire  $77.4M   (B)

Milk                        $22.3M  (A-)

And the movie that didn’t get one single acknowledgement?

Gran Torino           $120.3M  (A-)

To date, Gran Torino out-earned all the others and received as-good critical acclaim as the highest contenders. So what would it have taken for the film to have gotten a nod– if Tom Hanks played a slow-witted gay Korean? Is it because Clint already cleaned up with two Best Picture and Best Director Oscars? I thought this award went to the best performance, not to whoever they could look at next in line since the best already got their quota of Oscars. Hell, give it to Clint for Best Actor– that’s one he didn’t earn yet.

Seriously, why does the Academy laud mediocre junk? The English Patient?? You couldn’t give it away after the Oscars– Lord knows you never see it on cable. I remember how piles of that dog languished on the rental shelves until they were quietly given the Final Solution. Elaine on Seinfeld got it right:

(At the movie screen) Quit telling your stupid story, about the stupid desert, and just die already! Die!!

How about Crash?? Ooh, topical baby, yeah! Chicago, A Beautiful Mind… Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan– can you believe that?? Who goes back to watch Shakespeare in Love anymore??

Well… *sigh*… the big political Hollywood machine is a lot bigger than you and me. It’s a spoiled, petulant birthday girl, insisting that whatever she says, goes. At least this year I hope the Oscar goes to Mickey Rourke. Of course, I’m looking at it as if this were actually based on merit. I know… what am I smoking, right?

Incidentally, The Wrestler– who NO ONE talks about– has made $16.2M. And the grade? Got a solid (A).

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chris Bigelow // Feb 9, 2009 at 1:54 am

    I couldn’t believe Crash won, so preachy and contrived.

  • 2 queuno // Feb 9, 2009 at 1:54 am

    I used to be upset about Star Wars losing, until Episodes I, II, and III came out.

    I didn’t have a problem with Shakespeare winning, per se — it’s a worthy Best Picture. JUST NOT THAT YEAR. Not against Saving Private Ryan. That’s my beef. It shouldn’t have won THAT year. But it’s a worthy winner, I think.

  • 3 Karron // Feb 9, 2009 at 2:50 am

    That is why I never listen to the critics and I have always though the whole award thing was weird. I mean, here are the very people who make the movies kissing up to each other about the movies. Incestuous if you ask me. ewwwww.

    I haven’t seen The Wrestler, and probably won’t because it isn’t my kind of movie. I LOVED Gran Torino ! Thought it was the best movie Eastwood has ever done. But the movies I like are never nominated, and generally ignored by the whiners and moaners in Hollyweird.

    I get your frustration Dave. BTW, I am so not clued in to the Oscar thing that I didn’t even know anything had been announced for awards. Shrug, who cares anyway besides the money mongers and the elite money makers?

  • 4 David // Feb 9, 2009 at 2:59 am

    I can’t believe I forgot the first and biggest travesty that forever burned my image of the Academy to the ground– when Hanks in Philadelphia beat out Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List. Hanks, a fine character actor, could never do what Neeson did in Schindler’s List.

  • 5 Rock Waterman // Mar 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Well said. Everybody knew The Wrestler should win, but everybody knew Milk would, based on how these things work.

    If Mickey Roarke had played the role as a gay wrestler, he might have had a chance.

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