Monday, January 12, 2009

Whither Oscar?

I, as a rule, do not pay very much attention to the Golden Globe Awards. They are to the Academy Awards as arena football is to the NFL -- third-tier contenders, derided deservingly for their lightweight status.

Still, the huge wins yesterday by "Slumdog Millionaire" could portend for this year's Oscars, the nominations for which will be announced this Sunday. The GGs may be nothing more than a popularity contest of Hollywood insiders, but, well, those same Hollywood insiders are the ones who vote for the Oscars.

"Slumdog" would be a very multicultural choice for a Best Picture, as it has an amazingly diverse pedigree: Irish director and screenwriter with a mostly Indian cast and crew, but with a large American pop culture influence. Somehow, I can't see the septuagenarian Academy voters jumping over themselves to give this movie the top award.

Movies like "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Milk" and "Frost/Nixon" have classic Oscar pedigrees -- big, serious dramas with stars and big-name directors.

There's been a lot of hype about "Wall-E" getting a Best Picture nod on top of one in the animated film category. Anyone who's read my Top 10 List knows that I would heartily support such a move.

But again, I don't see it happening -- only one animated movie, "Beauty and the Beast," has ever been nominated for Best Picture, and since they created the animated film category, it has come to be seen as the proper setting to recognize quality cartoons. It's the same reason why foreign language or documentary films rarely get a Best Picture nomination -- they've already got "their" award.

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