Mar 7, 2006

The Golden Half-Naked Baldheaded Man Awards 2006

The Golden Half-Naked Baldheaded Man Awards, better known by its official name (the Academy Award) or its nickname (the Oscar) has come and gone, and no big surprises, save the Best Picture, the racially-driven Crash.

Like the years before it, everybody more or less knew who was going to win (they all have been winning awards for two months now), and everybody knew what to expect. Jon Stewart, the venerable host of Comedy Central's popular "fake newscast" The Daily Show, emceed the event.

Did the viewers watch?

Yeah, but not so much, and not for the reasons many "legitimate" media critics would surmise; i.e. Jon Stewart. Considering that the Academy knew exactly who Jon Stewart was and what he did, what the hell were the media expecting to see at the Oscars? Were they expecting him to sing and dance like Billy Crystal? Did they want him to just spout out anti-administration jokes left and right (um, well, right)? This is the Oscars, not The Daily Show. Two entirely different things. One that takes itself too seriously and one that knows and acknowledges that its a fake newscast.

The Oscars are the second dullest, most pretentious awards ceremony out there (sorry Academy, the Grammys still have you beat). The Academy honors movies that they like
So, the Oscars' ratings were down this year . . . except for males 18-35 and urban audiences, surprisingly two groups that aren't really known for watching these award shows.

But the reason I feel for the decline in viewership is one that, apparently the Academy must have oversighted.

Nobody saw these movies.

Can I say that again, because I don't think they heard me.

Nobody saw the movies nominated for the Golden Half-Naked Baldheaded Man Awards. Sure, some folks may have checked out Walk The Line, Hustle and Flow, and Crash, but a bulk of the nominated movies weren't seen by a mass number of people.

Brokeback Mountain was perhaps the most lauded movie in award season, but do you know at least five people who saw it? Same for Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, The Constant Gardener, Transamerica, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Munich, The New World, or June Bug. That's not me saying that they aren't good films, because a handful of them probably are.

I'm just saying that nobody saw them.

I wasn't expecting to see a Batman Begins or Revenge of the Sith to be nominated for best picture or anything (though I did felt that King Kong was at least worthy of a nod in that category since it was a beautifully-made and well-written movie), but I think that some of the movies that at least a handful of eyeballs have seen should have been nominated. I know they call them "popcorn movies," but at least people go out of their way to see them. "Popcorn movies" don't win the Academy Awards because, well, they're for peons, people beneath them, in short, you and me.

Speaking of you and I, one theme I noticed was the "return to the theaters" one aimed towards the viewing audience. The Academy don't want you renting and buying DVDs (we already knew they didn't want you BitTorrenting them either), but they want you to enjoy the theater experience. They want you to buy a $10 matinee ticket, a $7 tub of popcorn, a $5 soda, a $3 candy bar that would cost about a buck in a regular store, watch a barrage of commercials, and endure ignorant people that interrupt everything with cell phones and loud talking. Per person. In short, spend about $80 to see a movie on average, not including the price of gas to get there and back. Meanwhile, you could rent a movie or two within months from its theatrical release (or, if you're willing to wait a couple of weeks, watch it on demand), pop a bag of popcorn, and sit back and watch a movie over and over again for a tenth of that price.

It's not that people want to wait until a movie comes out of DVD to see a movie. It's just that people don't want to waste their time and money to go out of the house to see something that they're not going to like. Last year's theater receipts were the lowest in a long time for one reason and one reason only. There weren't that many movies that people actually wanted to watch. Every other movie was either a remake or a sequel, and half of the other movies were abysmal comedies, horror movies, or lackluster dramas. Not really anything to spend $80 on.

Perhaps more people would go to the movies if studios would create movies that people would want to go see, and not just another tv show-turned-movie franchise (though Serenity was an AWESOME movie that you should buy or rent right now if you haven't seen it). People want escapeism from the norms of reality. People want to see the fantastic, the strange, and things that could never ever happen in real life. We see reality every day around us, and we want to escape from that. Why do you think the highest-grossing films were the highest-grossing films? You're not going to see an intergalactic rebellion, a candy-maker torturing naughty kids, a man dressed in a black, bulletproof bat costume, giant wererabbits, alien invaders, a wizards' tournament, or a cabinet that transports kids to a mystical land in real life. Heck, you're not even going to see a psychotic killer who torture folks with death games for fun either (at least, I hope not).

When it comes to movies, reality is overrated. When it comes to award shows, so is the Oscars.

By the way, notice I didn't talk about the animated awards. Well, that wasn't worth talking about to be honest. The Best Animated Movie category is a joke and has been a joke since it was created. Aside from segregating animated films from live-action films in the best picture category (Beauty and the Beast really scared the Academy when it was nominated for Best Picture, and The Lion King, which was scores better, and future titles to come began outdoing live-action fare, yet they were being kept down because animation "ain't acting," which is why you don't see voice actors getting nominations in the four acting categories), they only honor three films, which is insulting to the entire animation industry. I'm not saying that I wanted to see Robots or Madagascar in the category as well, but at least it would have been a more balanced movie selection.

The Best Animated Film category is a joke, and it should either be outright abolished or actually doing something constructive and giving the category a greater strength with the addition of three more categories:

- Best Actor in an Animated Film
- Best Actress in an Animated Film
- Best Character Animator

Then, and only then, will I give the Best Animated Film category more reverence.

1 comment:

Melon which rhymes with said...

Don't forget the Golden Globes.

Oh .....hooray next year is going to be a hoot.

Golden Globes to Add Animation Category

"Next year's Golden Globes will offer a new category when the awards are announced in January, 2007.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association voted last month to establish "Best Animated Feature Film" commencing with "The 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards" in 2007, it was announced today by Philip Berk, President.

Eligible films must be "feature-length (70 minutes or longer) with no more than 25% live action. If less than eight animated films qualify, the award will not be given, in which case the films would be eligible for Best Picture. Otherwise they would not be eligible for the Best Picture category. The category will be limited to three nominations per year."

"The members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association have recognized several animated feature films in the Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) category in recent years, including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story, and Shrek," said Berk in making the nnouncement. "Animated features have become an important component of the studio lineup so there was an overwhelming consensus that this new category be created."

The new category of "Best Animated Feature Film" brings the total number of Golden Globe Awards categories to 25 in addition to the Cecil B. DeMille Award."

Yeah right! important component? If it was so important to the film industry why not let them be eligible for Best Picture? Oh and the dreaded three nominations each year make it sooo much more prestigious.

Off topic:
Thanks Jeff for your nice comments on my blog. Keep fighting the hard fight against crappy things like this :D