In 1978, the 50th Academy Awards presentation took place in Hollywood. I didn’t watch them (I was less than ten years old) but I still have resentment for that year… a resentment that has been renewed thanks to watching the Oscars last night.
You see, the clever Woody Allen comedy Annie Hall took home the Oscar for Best Picture of 1977. A number of people who read this blog were born in the eighties and nineties, so there’s a good bet that many of them have never heard of that film. I guarantee they have heard of one of the movies that Annie Hall beat that year, though.
Star Wars CHANGED the motion picture industry. It showed that a meaningful story, good characters and amazing visuals can make of an impactful motion picture experience. The fine folks of the Academy, though, just couldn’t see it. Above and beyond being an great motion picture, Star Wars was also something else – innovative.
Innovation in film is what nurtures creativity. Hollywood has grown so lacking in it, though, that we are now going into a summer with the most sequels in history. There are a dozen or more reasons behind this, but lack of acknowledgement for true innovation by a filmmaker’s peers must play into it.
Last year Avatar lost out to The Hurt Locker. This annoyed me as a pretentious move on in order to try to break up the “boy’s club” for the Best Picture Oscar. Politics decided that winner; not innovation.
James Cameron’s work on Avatar changed the film making (and viewing) experience again. While (like George Lucas) Cameron enjoys the endless monetary profits of his venture, the Academy’s failure to acknowledge how much of an impact that movie had on the film industry and the art of film making by giving it Best Picture shows that they fail to see the importance of innovation. Why push the envelope if your peers won’t pay attention?
Thus, we get another Final Destination movie.
This year, The Social Network was up for best picture. While different than my previous two examples of Oscar follies, it is still VERY innovative. You see, the film didn’t “dumb down” aspects of a technical story for the sake of the audience. Computer movies have a way of making the tech jargon simplified (Wargames) or bordering on fantasy (Hackers) because, let’s face it, when those films came out people wouldn’t understand it otherwise. The Social Network was innovative by holding up a mirror to our society and SHOWING our own innovations in life. It took that first step into accepting how much we have all changed through our own technology which, if you think about it, is a very bold move.
Like it or not, you’re reading a blog and there’s a chance that you found this link via Twitter or Facebook. A decade ago, the only people doing this sort of stuff were nerds who understood those newfangled computer thingies.
Today, though, Uncle Jeb is connected to the internet probably looking up porn on his laptop in his trailer park.
Thus, a movie based on a play took home the trophy instead. I’m sure the King’s Speech is a great flick and I’ll buy it in April and watch it, but it just shows that the Academy is completely out of touch with it’s own creative works within it’s industry.
A BONUS FAILURE this year comes from their forgetting to acknowledge the motion picture contributions of Corey Haim, Peter Graves and Betty Garrett in the “In Memoriam Montage”.
In closing, it’s stuff like this that makes me wish that the YouTube generation would hurry up and change the movie industry the way digital audio change the music industry so the Hollywood can take a kick in the financial ass and acknowledge creativity and (gasp!) innovation again.