On "Snubs"

I usually write a brief post regarding the Oscar snubs each year (I believe there’s an article in the Constitution that insists they are referred to as “snubs”), and so does every major media outfit. It’s such an easy piece, because a lot of times there’s six or seven “deserving” nominees for each category, so you can chastise the Academy for missing out on one or two nominees without mentioning which nominees you would have done without.

I’d like to do an experiment to see if the Academy nominated the other candidates, whether movie sites would still write the exact same article with different names, but without easy access to mind-altering drugs, I don’t know how I’d pull it off.

The big story this year was in the "Directing" category, which skipped most of the heavy hitters – including the two people most likely to win the award – to nominate Austrian Michael Haneke (who I’d never heard of until a week ago, but is now being referred to as “someone always considered one of the masters of the medium”) as well as first-time director Benh Zeitlin. It’s a strange category, and I don’t know who wins it.

So, rather than just complaining about other people’s picks, I’m gonna make my own selections for each of the categories. This sounds like fun! And not like a ton of unnecessary work or anything.

Let’s start with the big category:


Best Picture

Actual Nominees
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

My Picks
Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

You may think this is a sneak preview of my “Favorite Films” list, but it’s really not. There’s three or four films in my top-ten list that don’t shout “Best Picture!” at me, but I still liked more than almost every film I saw this year. We’ll get there later.

These lists aren’t that different – I pulled Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Les Misérables, while adding Moonrise Kingdom and Skyfall. My problem with the nominees isn’t that the wrong films were nominated, just that there were a few less deserving of nomination. I haven’t seen Amour yet (and probably won’t), so that choice is just supposition, but I’m not someone who tends to be intensely impressed with angry-conversations-in-living-rooms movies.

By the way, whoever does the PR for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild deserves a substantial pay raise. Beasts (which cost less than $2 million to make), made only $11 million, while Amour has made only $300K so far. Neither film was remotely considered for Best Picture nod three weeks ago. That’s an incredible turnaround.


Actor In A Leading Role

Actual Nominees

Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Denzel Washington in Flight

My Picks
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
John Hawkes in The Sessions
Denzel Washington in Flight 

And… that’s it. I don't have a problem with this category, frankly. If I have to stick in one more to fill in the nominations, I’ll add Hugh Jackman back in for Les Misérables. Lord knows the man committed to the role.

Actor In A Supporting Role

Actual Nominees
Alan Arkin in Argo
Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

My Picks
Javier Bardem in Skyfall
Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Scoot McNairy in Argo
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

I don’t understand all the attention Arkin gets for Argo – he gets most of the laughs in the film but carries none of the weight that the other actors are asked to. I’d rather pick McNairy, who is deeply unnerving in the film. In fact, I’d rather take a number of nominations over Arkin – Samuel L. Jackson for Django, or Dwight Henry for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Frankly, I’d have taken the CGI tiger from Life of Pi over him.

Honestly, I thought a lot of movie companies did a lousy job promoting their actors in this category. Haven’t seen any buzz for Jeff Daniels in Looper or Mark Duplass for Safety Not Guaranteed. Not to mention the complete lack of buzz for Ezra Miller in Perks of the Being A Wallflower, or Eddie Redmayne’s star-making turn in Les Misérables. Or at least three different people in Moonrise Kingdom. Instead, we have five previous Oscar winners going head-to-head. Not a lot to root for there.


Actress in a Leading Role

Actual Nominees

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beast of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts in The Impossible

I don’t have any problem with this list. I haven’t seen Riva’s performance in Amour, but there’s no one I’m screaming for in this category. Supposedly Marion Cotillard is incredible in Rust and Bone, and Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea, but I haven’t seen either film. Though apparently in Rust and Bone, a killer whale eats off Cotillard’s legs, so you better believe I’m gonna check that out.


Actress in a Supporting Role

Actual Nominees
Amy Adams in The Master
Sally Field in Lincoln
Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables
Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

My picks
Amy Adams in The Master
Samantha Barks in Les Misérables
Sally Field in Lincoln
Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables
Helen Hunt in The Sessions

Once again, not a lot of difference here. I don’t know how Jacki Weaver managed to snag a nod for her tiny part in Silver Linings Playbook other than that there’s not a lot of competition this year. I did a web search to see if I missed anyone, but most of the focus is on Nicole Kidman missing a nomination for The Paperboy or Maggie Smith for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, neither of which I saw.



Actual Nominees
Amour –
Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild –
Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi –
Ang Lee
– Steven Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook
– David O. Russell

My Picks
Argo –
Ben Affleck
Django Unchained –
Quentin Tarantino
Life of Pi
– Ang Lee
Moonrise Kingdom
– Wes Anderson
Zero Dark Thirty
– Kathryn Bigelow

It seems crazy to drop Spielberg from this list, since I currently think he’s going to be the winner here, but I think that his best decisions about the movie were all done as a producer – landing Day-Lewis, Field, Jones, etc., not to mention getting Janusz Kaminski to shoot the film. As a director, he really steps back and lets his actors go to work. It’s a good directorial decision, but not a tough or flashy one.

My only holdover is Ang Lee for Life of Pi – the movie I hope wins this category this February.


Other Categories

I’m pretty – maybe even “very” – happy with the nominees in other sections. I was glad to see Roger Deakins land a cinematography nominee for Skyfall, and was pleased to see the Academy managed to nominate five deserving animated movies. I noticed both “Snow White” movies got costume design nods, which is the kind of correct decision the Academy never makes. There’s finally five songs in “Original Song,” and they had the sense not to nominate that dumb Jon Bon Jovi song. 

I was psyched to see John Kahrs’ gorgeous short, “Paperman” get a nomination, since I’m hoping it marks a return to form for Disney in the realm of hand-drawn animation. I thought the technical categories went to a nice blend of Argo/Life of Pi/Skyfall/Zero Dark Thirty, and there weren’t any nonsense nominees in the visual effects category for once (The Avengers had to get nominated somewhere).

Even the screenplay categories are pretty good. In “Original Screenplay”, the only one I’m not wild about is the Flight script, so I would have jammed Looper or Safety Not Guaranteed in there. I think Life of Pi is perfectly deserving as an adapted screenplay nominee, but unlike Lincoln or Argo, there wasn’t much work to be done to transition it from book to script. The best bits were already there. Am I insane to watch Joss Whedon’s Avengers script in there? I will admit that I probably am.

 All in all, a pretty good collection of nominees this year, with only one category having an obvious miss. And while a couple of the acting nominees seem set in stone already (count on Day-Lewis and Hathaway as locks, with a strong possibility that the Globes and SAG awards will clarify the other categories – my early guesses are Tommy Lee Jones and Jennifer Lawrence, with Emmanuelle Riva as possible spoiler), but no obvious selection for Best Picture, which makes things more enjoyable.

If you were in my shoes, you'd feel strange too.

A few years ago, I spent the fall in Los Angeles at a one-semester film program, where I got the chance to intern at a major Hollywood director's film company. I can't describe how important I felt when I discovered where I was going to get to work.

Of course, my internship there was glamorous in name only. The director was out of the country shooting a film most of the time I was there, we only met a few times. I spent the semester doing normal internship duties: reorganizing files, photocopying scripts, getting coffee, getting lunch, running errands around town on my bike, and making 6,000 phone calls to CAA and ICM to ask whether Alexander Payne or Roberto Orci might be available to do a rewrite on an unnamed screenplay or not. I spent the rest of the time surfing the net. It was not the most exciting job I've ever had. The food was pretty good, though.

Still, occasionally (very occasionally: in my four months at the company, I think it only happened three different times) I got to do what's called "coverage;" where I'd read a book or a script no one else felt like reading and write up a short summary and recommend whether or not the company should consider doing it. If I liked the script, someone else might end up looking at it, if i didn't, it probably wouldn't get looked at again.

One of the pieces I read was Aron Ralston's book, "Between A Rock and a Hard Place", the memoir of the hiker who had his arm trapped by a falling boulder in southeast Utah and was forced to saw his own arm off. It was a fascinating read - Ralston isn't the world's best writer, but it's certainly gripping reading to hear someone talk about what it was like cut off their own arm. Still, I recommended against adapting it for a movie for a number of reasons:

First and most importantly, it's not that interesting a story. There's the one money scene, where Ralston cuts his arm off, but the rest of the time, he's just a guy lying against a rock. He lies there, trying to extricate himself. He tries to find a comfortable position. He tries to stay warm at night. He listens to a Phish CD. He drinks his own urine. It's interesting to hear about, it's not all that exciting to watch.  It's like Castaway, only without a volleyball to talk to and and, y'know, Tom Hanks stuck under a rock. It's not all that exciting.

That means that most of the movie has to become about flashbacks, and whenever you hear someone say "most of the action will take place in flashback," red lights should be flashing all over. Plus, I don't know what you'd flash back to - there's no love story, nor is there a period of time in Ralston's life that he would think back to in order to figure out how to escape. He lies there until his arm dies, then he cuts off his arm. And... scene.

Second, while there's other interesting parts to the story, there aren't many. After Ralston cut off his arm, he returned to hiking, but he doesn't spend a lot of time on it in his book, and I don't blame him. Not to make light of his injury, but losing an arm below the elbow doesn't seem like it would be a gigantic disability in hiking (though it doesn't sound fun), and it's not like anyone reads that and says "well, that's just incredible!" A blind guy hiked the Appalachian Trail. If someone wanted to make a movie about that, I would certainly approve.

If you've read this far, you've got to be wondering what it is that made me bring all this up, and the answer is that apparently not everybody agrees with me. Danny Boyle's next film will be 127 Hours, which is the Aron Ralston story. He's working on the screen play with his writing partner, Simon Beaufoy (they wrote Slumdog Millionaire together), and James Franco has been cast as Ralston.

First of all, let's admit that if you were going to have a director to tell this story, it would be Boyle. He's capable of making almost sort of film - his resume includes such wildly varied movies as Millionaire, Millions, Trainspotting, Sunshine. A survival story in the desert would be cake for him. Plus, the man just won the Academy Award for Millionaire, a movie built entirely around flashbacks, so this should be right up his alley. So it's not impossible that 127 Hours ends up being a very good movie.

Though naturally, I'll be rooting against it. I've spent my time as a blogger perpetually being one of those voices complaining about how movie executives are short-sighted, passing over good stories to make crappy movies, because, I dunno, they're stupid and tasteless people or something.

There's a story from a couple years ago about how at one point or another, one movie studio had managed to pass on all five of the Best Picture nominees for that year: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Sideways, Ray, and Million Dollar Baby. I wonder what it was like for those executives as that story broke. Everyone thought that they were idiots, people who ignored cultured, intelligent stories to make raunchy comedies and bad horror flicks. Probably some of them don't have jobs now as a result.

But really, how interesting does the story of playwright J.M. Barrie actually sound? Why would you ever think that it would be a moneymaker? The life of Howard Hughes doesn't seem like a winner either - a guy who built airplanes but eventually locked himself in his house and pissed in jars doesn't seem like the feel-good story of the year. Sideways is the story of two guys who go on a pre-wedding trip to wine country. Million Dollar Baby is a sports movie that you come out of feeling sad. None of these sound like movies that audiences would flock to see (and, as it turned out, none of them were). Maybe I'd have passed on all of these, too.

One way or another, I have a feeling that I'll be watching 127 Hours closely over the next year or so. If it succeeds, I'll feel humiliated, if it fails, I'll feel vindicated. As if this film somehow represents everything I understand about moviemaking. Maybe it does.

Claire pointed out to me that even if the movie's a success, my choosing not to recommend the book might still have been the right decision. If I'd written a glowing review of the book and pushed for the company to do it, and for some reason the company had chosen to listen to me (highly unlikely), who's to say it would've ended up in as good a situation as it did? Even if both Boyle and Franco had signed on, four years ago their careers weren't as high-profile as they are now and there's a considerable less chance that this movie gets made. Four years ago, I was just a guy who read a book and thought it wouldn't make a good movie. My opinion didn't matter than, and it doesn't matter now.

Though if 127 Days ends up being a failure, you can count on me to be just insufferable.

Why Avatar shouldn't win (but probably will anyway).

I've started hearing rumblings that, despite the Academy's controversial move from 5 nominees to 10 , the Oscar for Best Picture has been sewn up. When the Oscars are presented - more than two months from now - it is apparently all but assured that Avatar will walk away with the award.

A month ago, before I saw the film, I would have found the idea hysterical. Two weeks ago, after I'd seen the film and had time to digest it, I would've thought it highly improbable; Oscars aren't given to movies like Avatar, they go to gritty films with handheld cameras and movie stars wearing minimal makeup. A week ago, I'd have argued - forcibly - that it was extremely unlikely, saying there are more deserving and more prestigious films in the running, and Avatar will be swept aside, forced to be content with a possible Best Director win for James Cameron.

Today, I'm forced to concede that there's no stopping momentum. It's not just that Avatar's box office has reached obscene levels, it's done so at an unparalleled rate in movie history. The film was released on December 18th, and this Monday - 18 days after its release - Avatar became the third highest grossing movie in world history, with over a billion dollars. In terms of box office, that's just an impossible rate of revenue.

Let me put that in perspective for you. As a teenager, I became a giant Star Wars fan.

(I'll pause to let you to all gasp in shock)

Thank you. Now, every Star Wars fan who came of age in the 90's knows this one fact: that while Titanic is the highest-grossing film of all-time, if you adjust for inflation, Star Wars moves ahead of it. This piece of information rights the world of Star Wars fanboys.

Unfortunately, it's only half the story - Star Wars isn't the only film that moves up, and even though it does move ahead of Titanic, Gone With The Wind moves ahead of it. So there's no getting around the fact that  a love story set in the background of a historical epic where lots of people needlessly perish is the top movie of all time no matter how you slice it.

(Side note: the adjusted box office is a fascinating list to peruse. Titanic drops all the way to sixth, behind The Sound of Music, E.T., and The 10 Commandments, and the #2 movie on the list, The Dark Knight, drops all the to 27th, behind, among other films, Doctor Zhivago, The Exorcist, Snow White, The Sting, The Graduate, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, Grease, and Thunderball. It's also behind Star Wars: Episode I, a movie that - despite being released in 1999 - has an adjusted box office of $623 million, versus an original box office of $431 million. I found that mind-blowing.)

Soon, all of that isn't going to matter, because in 18 days, Avatar blew all of that out of the water. The #2 movie on the international box office list, Return of the King, opened in December and closed in May. Titanic opened in December and closed in September. These movies had legs and that's how they made their money. And in 18 days, Avatar was only one spot behind.

That's why it's a lock that Avatar is going to win the Oscar for Best Picture. No voter wants to seem out of tune with the rest of the world, they despise being labeled elitist (they don't mind actually being elitist, of course, but the accusation bothers them regardless). Avatar is a cultural force, and you don't go against cultural voices, not even for unsettling war movies or George Clooney's gravelly introspection. Not even if you think that it shouldn't win the award.

And you know what? It shouldn't win. It shouldn't even really be in discussion.  It's a great movie, and deserves all the accolades it's receiving for cinematography, for imagination, for being a groundbreaking piece of cinema. You could even argue that those are the same reasons we value Citizen Kane and name it the finest movie in American history. But Kane wasn't just the next step in film history from a technical perspective, it was groundbreaking in terms of story structure and narrative. No one had ever made a movie that told a story quite like that before, and the cinematography, the tecnical breakthrough, they all enhanced that. And sure, a dragon-taming sequence would probably have livened up the film, but there's no reason to point fingers at this stage of the game. It was a film perfectly conceived and precisely executed, a textbook lesson in smart, incisive filmmaking.

You can't say that about Avatar. For all its innovation, the film employs the most straightforward, unoriginal script ever to be a serious Oscar contender. It's been called out for being nearly identical in story to a number of environmentally-conscious films, including Dances With Wolves (which won a Best Picture Oscar) and Fern Gully (which did not). Just for fun, you can check out this piece some wag wrote comparing the Avatar script to Disney's Pocahantas, which turned out to be more damning than when Spike Ferensten made "The Curious Case of Forrest Gump."

I saw the film as it was meant to be seen - in an IMAX theater, in 3-D, with a crowd of people - and someone asked me later that night what I thought of the movie. I replied that I had, that in fact I'd loved it, but with reservations. Avatar is a film about scope, it's a film to be experienced in the darkness of a giant theater, it's a movie that imposes on you its sheer magnitude. But if I'd never seen it or heard about it, and ten years from now I was to stumble on it on cable late at night, without any previous knowledge of the film or the technology it took to bring it to the big screen, how soon would it take me to change the channel? Ten seconds? Fifteen? Would it even be that long?

(side note: when I turned the question around on the guy who asked me what I thought, he told me he'd loved it and thought it was fantastic. "And you know why?" he asked. "It's because of the great character development." I loved that answer - not because it was right, but because it simply couldn't have been any more wrong)

It's a funny comparison because in 1977, there was a movie called Star Wars (hey! We're back here again!) that dominated the movie landscape and broke all the box office records. But when the Oscars rolled around, it didn't win Best Picture - that award was won by Woody Allen's Annie Hall, a tiny romantic comedy few people had seen in theaters. Fortunately for Annie Hall, we were right on the cusp of widespread consumer of acceptance of cable, so many voters had a channel called the the "Z" Channel, which had gotten the rights to broadcast the movie and simply ran it into the ground. And that one channel swung an Oscar race.

Prior to Avatar's release, I read an interview with Cameron where he mentioned this very battle. "I remember being outraged when Star Wars lost to Annie Hall," he says. "I thought, 'Well, that's ridiculous. Star Wars changed the face of filmmaking, and Annie Hall's a nice little film.' I like Annie Hall, but I thought that was outrageous."

It's quotes like this that make me understand and like Cameron more, because to him the Oscars aren't about acting and storytelling and emotional impact, to him the awards go to the films that are game changers. And Avatar is certainly that. But movies like Avatar are what we mean when we call something a "popcorn" movie. It's not an insult, there are some movies worth plunking down in the theater with a lukewarm, greasy bucket of the stuff, there are some movies you don't have to see on a date or to learn about issues or to be deeply emotionally moved by, some movies are just fun.

And that's really what the cinema's about, right? We go to enjoy ourselves.

But that's not what the Oscars are, at least to me. The Oscars honor the best movies, the movies that change minds (or at least soften up the ground a little bit), that give us stories that last for generations, not movies with stories we've seen a million times before and know what's coming long before it comes. Not movies with special effects that will lose their glamour as computers improve, until the site of them makes us giggle fondly and say "remember this?"

Not movies that pale in comparison to films like The Hurt Locker, which so unsettled me that I called my Marine brother that night just to  talk to him about it, and discovered that I simply wasn't emotionally capable of discussing it with him. I didn't know how to put words together about it, I just knew that I didn't want him to go to Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere he'd have to live like that.

Not when we have a chance to honor substance over style.

Not if the voters have any guts.

Not this year. I hope.

What's Really Wrong With Oscar Night

Last month, the Oscars were watched by 32 million people, an all-time low. This is remarkable for a number of reasons, but here are the two main ones:

1. One of the major reasons the writer’s strike ended when it did was that everyone wanted the Oscars to still take place. What better way to welcome entertainment-starved viewers back than a big, flashy telecast?
2. Even considering cable, there was nothing else on. The Oscars was the most-watched broadcast that night, but Fox snagged the second spot with a "Simpsons" re-run. NBC was just running "Law & Order" re-runs all night. Everyone gave up on the night, surrendering to the Oscars outright.

Journalists of all shades have given all sorts of theories for the struggles of the show, from the low-brow (“It’s so boooooring!”) to the over-thought (“We already saw Jon Stewart host once, so there’s no curiosity factor for Middle America”), without ever really giving thought to the accusations. Consider: the Oscars have always been this boring, and the highest rated Oscars of all time was Billy Crystal’s sixth time hosting. He won an Emmy for the performance.

No, allow me to explain, once and for all why the Oscars are sliding so dramatically these last few years: it’s the movies that are nominated. They don’t interest the viewers.

Ha! You almost clicked away there, didn’t you? That’s not a very interesting point. The idea that the films nominated are not in line with what America in general is watching is not particularly new. The solution is not that the wrong movies are being nominated, after all what popular movies would you nominate? Spiderman 3? Pirates of the Caribbean 3? Shrek 3? I thought not.

The problem is that the wrong movies are being made. Hollywood isn’t making the sort of movies that interest most viewers.

Ha! You almost clicked away again, didn’t you? That’s still not an interesting point. But this one is:

It’s the fault of independent movies. Independent movies are ruining everything.

Didn’t expect that one, did you?

Has anyone been a bigger proponent of independent movies than me? Yes, lots and lots of people have. But you know that I adore independent film, I adore showing a disregard for convention, I dig low budgets and good acting and bizarre camera angles and narratives all out of order and weird, unsatisfying endings. Love it. But it’s ruing everything.

Keep in mind that when I talk about “independent movies,” I’m not talking about, y’know, independent movies. I’m not talking about the sales rep from Columbus who writes a script on his laptop in his spare time after he sold the Miata and shoots it on a borrowed 16mm camera with his friends and a girl they hired from the local modeling agency downtown. I’m not talking about independent movies made by people independent of the film industry. I’m talking about “indie movies,” movies with $25 million budgets made by Warner Bros and Fox starring George Clooney and Rachel McAdams. I’m talking about the new wave of filmmaking. I’m talking about all my favorite movies from the last four years. I think we’ve opened Pandora’s box, and I don’t think we’re getting it shut again.

Look at the five films nominated for Best Picture this year, keeping in mind the studios that released them: No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno, Michael Clayton, and Atonement. Every single one of those movies was released by an “independent” studio, like Focus Features, Warner Independent, or Fox Searchlight. Indie cred and studio money. All (except Juno) had low box offices, yet between DVD sales and rentals and cable sales, all of them will end up making the studios a ton of money when it’s all over, without even having to be a success. It’s a good world to live in.

Now, let’s look at ten years ago, we had Best Picture nominees like Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love, huge movies that cleaned up in the box office. What changed?

The most popular movies in 1998 had to be popular in order to make money, they had to be popular in order to be successful. So there was a different process to making them – if a big-name director wanted to make a film, the film they made had to be palatable to the public. The film had to be meet certain criteria – it had to make sense, it had to have a strong ending, it usually had to have likeable characters. It had to be a movie that the average adult would want to see.

This is painting Hollywood with a broad brush, I will admit – David Lynch has never made a movie anyone close to average would want to see, and there is a long history of hundreds of directors forging their own path. So I’m not saying that filmmakers getting to make whatever the hell they want is all new. I’m saying it’s easier.

Given the option, good filmmakers will always chose the more unique, the more creative way to do things. That’s how they got to where they are. And if someone’s going to give them eighteen million dollars with very few questions asked, it becomes a lot easier to tune out the studio exec going “maybe the guy and the girl should get back together at the end.” When art beats commerce, filmmakers will denounce commerce for all they’re worth.

Once a film gets over a certain price to produce, things start changing. Tony Gilroy, who wrote and direct Michael Clayton, noted “Once a film costs a certain amount of money, the bad guys have to wear black hats.” George Clooney slashed his asking price in order to preserve the $20 million dollar budget, which gave Girloy final cut, a privilege he wouldn’t have had if the studio had invested more money in the picture.

I love this about movies, because suddenly we have dozens of creative, original movies that never would have seen the light of day otherwise. There Will Be Blood would never have gotten the backing it did. Same with Garden State, or Lost In Translation. Little Miss Sunshine and Juno were both Best Picture nominees, would they even have gotten made?

But just a decade ago, we had Forrest Gump, Good Will Hunting, Silence of the Lambs, and Schindler’s List, big movies that weren’t just popcorn – they were good, and they were popular. Everybody watched them and everybody loved them .

We don’t have movies like that anymore. The best movies we have now are small and divisive, and nobody goes to see them. The most popular movies we have are loud and obnoxious, and everyone walks out saying how disappointed they were. There’s no common ground in movies anymore – no one watches or likes the same things, we all just find our own taste. If we ever find something in common to talk about, it’s almost a miracle.

And that’s why, as long as indie movies control Hollywood, no one is going to watch the Oscars. No one went to see the movies in the first place, so why should anyone care?