Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Baby Mama" inexplicably overlooked by Oscars

Am I wrong, or was every single Oscar except Supporting Actor awarded mistakenly?

I guess in some sense the whole point of watching this ceremony, which I did not do, is to feel superior to the Academy's choices. So I will not make a big thing of this. But still. I hated that Slumdog movie down in my bones, hated it so much it ruined my whole weekend a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile Laura and I watched "Baby Mama" tonight and we declare it pretty good. Cute, you know, and funny. And it was not even nominated! What a travesty... Okay, maybe not a travesty, but it is the most recent example at hand of my general aesthetic proposition that funny and cute is better than self-serious and cheaply manipulative. And if there is one thing that virtually all the Oscar-nominated films and roles have in common, it is that they are all cheaply manipulative and utterly self-serious.

But then again I barely watch movies, what do I know.


Nicole said...

Why did you hate SM so much? I haven't seen it yet . . .

Rob said...

Well I'll admit that my anti-SM reaction was somewhat out-of-proportion. But I really did not like being forced to sit through torture scenes and emotional manipulation just to get to a saccharine conclusion. I felt like it was the sort of movie that tried to make you feel "uplifted" by first making you feel gratuitously terrible, and to me that is just cheap, amateurish storytelling.

I also felt that "Paper Planes" was put to better use in "Pineapple Express," in SM it was sort of jarring and misplaced.

Erik said...

I am mostly with you on your assessment of Slumdog Millionaire, Rob. But I must admit that it did have the best cinematography of the films selected. It was used in a very poor story with an awful thesis (if there even was a thesis), but hey, it was pretty.

And the Sean Penn pick just oozed politics over art. It's a real shame, Rourke deserved that award a billion times over.

A very disappointing night all the same.

Michael said...

I dunno Rob, it's nice of you to let Jackie Harvey guestblog and all but I really don't get the criticism of this film. Slap "gratuitous" on the first act of virtually any movie and then the storytelling comes off as sloppy. Did we really need to sit through the gratuitous destruction of Alderan just to give poignancy to the Death Star being blown up? Did we really have to see DeNiro's parts in Godfather II (also poverty porn?) to appreciate the ongoing drama of the Corleone family?

I thought the torture scenes were hard to watch too, but also that they were probably realistic. The torture provided a context in which the picaresque parts of the film could be seen as light-hearted fun instead of, you know, criminal acts.

I was confused however at the Academy just giving the one statue to Danny Boyle for Best Direction on a film which he co-directed (which also completely de-fangs Rushdie's criticism btw). I could be wrong but I don't remember Boyle even thanking Loveleen Tandan in his speech.

The other two Oscar season movies I really liked were the Wrestler and the Reader, both of which I would argue had plots that were more contrived than Slumdog Millionaire's. Tried to watch that Benjamin Button movie, but wow, was that awful, maybe the last 2/3 gets better but I doubt it.

You really didn't like the love story in SM?