How important are these so-called "Winter Olympics" anyway? Could anything, even 80+ years of international winter sporting tradition, possible justify dragging Oscars discussions on for so goddamn unbearably long?!
Sorry. Excuse us a second while we scrub the glaze off our eyes.
So…"Brokeback." Johnny Diaz at the Boston Globe talks to the two Emerson students who made "Brokeback to the Future." And then there’s the New Yorker cover (a wag at Gothamist drawls that "’Brokeback Mountain’ references are soooo 2005"). John Patterson at the Guardian observes, semi-seriously, that "it warms the heart to note that these are officially the Gayest Oscars Ever":
"Brokeback Mountain" really is the movie of the cultural moment, and gay cowboys are an irresistible metaphor for the state of gayness in the US. Religious right leaders decided not to dignify it with a boycott, aiming instead to let it rot in the multiplexes. It wouldn’t have made a whit of difference – most Americans have passed their sort by. "Brokeback Mountain"’s broad-based acceptance proves it, and in this instance Hollywood is far closer to the mainstream than the media gives it credit for.
LA Times columnist Al Martinez presents a kind of average Joe, "I winced a few times but hey! young people like it, and that’s great" look at the film, while Tom O’Neil at the LA Times‘ Envelope hints darkly, and somewhat oddly, at a possibly homophobia-based "Brokeback" backlash amongst Academy voters:
The academy is comprised mostly of straight white guys with white hair
who know it’s intolerable to bash gays in lavender-friendly, liberal
Hollywood. But I really don’t think it’s that in any large way.
Instead, I think it’s the same frustration non-Jews feel when there’s a
glut of Holocaust films leading the Oscar pack in Jewish-friendly
Hollywood. They want to exclaim, "Enough already with the Holocaust
films!" This time I suspect many straight Hollywooders â€” who are
totally cool with gay people in general â€” are fighting the urge to
shriek, "Enough already with the gay persecution films!"
Peter Howell at the Toronto Star ponders the same issue:
[I]n all the discussion, I have yet to see anyone asking whether the movie represents a genuine shift in public attitudes towards homosexual unions, or whether it’s just another passing fad.
Part of me thinks it may prove to be the latter, because the reaction by supposedly liberal Hollywood towards the movie has been oddly conservative, almost to the point of Red State redneckery. There have been little whispers throughout the Oscar campaign that many older Academy members not only aren’t going to vote for Brokeback, they can’t even bring themselves to watch the damn thing, even though they’ve all received personal DVD copies of it.
Andrew O’Hehir at Salon announces his own prize: the "Liberal Guilt Awards, otherwise known as the Guilties." Ah, Salon and its long tradition of acting unbearably snide towards the Oscars â€” as if the awards were ever anything but bloated and self-congratulatory. But O’Hehir’s piece is a very funny read, particularly when he gets to clear winner "Crash": "I had high hopes for that scene when it appeared they might have to
shoot Sandra Bullock‘s eterna-whiny rich-bitch character. After that,
it was all downhill."
The New York Times‘ Dave Carr points out the truth about the "indie Oscars": "Sunday at the Oscars, directors, actors and producers from a handful of small films will pick up the majority of the big awards. The winners will talk about courage, about independence, about the women and men who were willing to step forward and triumph over the big Hollywood machine. So they will be sticking it to the man. Except, of course, they are the man." He doesn’t think that we’re in a new age of Important Indie Films, more that we’re entering the era of the Niche Film, and that that’s what the studios will have to figure out a business model around.
David Thompson at the LA Times thinks that the Oscars need more than Jon Stewart to connect to the kids these days: he’s cut sound, costume and art direction, song, the shorts, the docs and the foreign films, and push technical achievement and promotional campaigns. Oof.
Sharon Krum at the Guardian writes about the "Queen Kong" billboard on Sunset and Cahuenga, which lists the disturbing statistics that "Women directed only 7% of the top 200 films of 2005. No woman has ever won the best-director Oscar. Only three have been nominated."
At the Observer, Paul Harris tries to explain Jon Stewart to the British, while Emma Forrest has an interesting, if frustrating piece on the "Paradise Now" situation: she brings up some worthy points about the film’s aestheticizing of its lead potential bomber while also presenting what seems to us to be a clear personal bias under the guise of a straight news report.
+ For ‘Future,’ Emerson students parody until the wee hours (Boston Globe)
+ The pink vote (Guardian)
+ A molehill to a ‘Mountain’ (LA Times)
+ Is secret homophobia fueling a possible ‘Crash’ upset? (LA Times)
+ Howell: Willie singing a different tune (Toronto Star)
+ Introducing the Guilties! (Salon)
+ The Big Man Still Reigns in Hollywood (NY Times)
+ Oscar needs a high-tech remake (LA Times)
+ Beware! Queen Kong is coming (Guardian)
+ The Oscar for best satirist goes to… (Observer)
+ Suicide bomb film set to shake Oscars (Observer)
+ Cinematical Oscar Predictions: Pin the Oscar on the Donkey (Cinematical)