Thoughts on the Oscars

It seems very odd to me that the 50th Grammys, the 50th Daytona 500, and the 80th Academy Awards would all fall in the same year, indeed the same month.

I watched two of the three, and the broadcasts of the latter two made sure to reflect on the historic nature of the moment. Before the presentation of the acting awards and Best Director, the Oscars showed montages of presentations and acceptance speeches past.

I honestly don’t have much to say about the awards themselves, though I am glad that, for the most part, the awards themselves are the focus of the Oscars, unlike some awards shows I know.

I did see one interesting tidbit on Tim Dirks’ Filmsite: Every one of the Best Picture nominees could be classified as an independent, low-budget film. In fact, by Dirks’ count this was the third straight year where the Best Picture nominees were bankrolled outside the big-budget studio system.

There has always been a disconnect between the popular films and the critically-acclaimed best films that win Oscars. Could we be seeing the start of another disconnect – one that could start seeing big studio films disenfranchised from the big awards at Oscar time? Could the Oscars start doting over indy films like mad? Could it become little more than a film festival?

Not to say the nominees were overly artsy, or even unpopular. Lord knows I’ve seen plenty of ads for Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, or There Will Be Blood. From what little I know of them, those movies deserve every inch of praise they get. There’s no real danger of Best Picture going to a film as artsy as, say, The Seventh Seal in the near future.

Well, at least let’s hope not.

In any case, this seems as good a time as any to plug my 100 Greatest Movies Project, an attempt to present the definitive list of greatest movies by combining all the lists that have come before. It will be a celebration of the history of film and a chance to find out what really makes a great film. If you consider yourself a movie buff, a true movie buff that appreciates true greatness in film, consider writing for the Project (with full credits) and bringing some of the great films to life. If you’re interested, e-mail me at mwmailsea at yahoo dot com or comment on this post.

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