Well, I’ve had a bit of time to digest and discuss the Academy Awards. I think the gathering consensus is that the writing/producing has been much better in recent memory. Even if there are people out there (not me) who loved the poplocking to Best Original Scores.
Nevertheless, the show was more than carried for me by the epic battle between the battle epic and the battle indie. Avatar vs. Hurt Locker.
Not to knock Hurt Locker, because it is a deserving film and I was glad it won. But I do think Avatar was hampered by the new preferential voting system, which penalizes more divisive movies. And certainly the older Academy membership thought Avatar‘s use of stereoscopic was innovative enough to give it the cinematography award over movies that were shot more in the real world. But they ultimately couldn’t reward the world’s biggest movie with the world’s biggest movie honor.
Avatar had a deeper message than most blockbusters, but it’s characters were one dimensional. Compare to Hurt Locker, whose characters seemed to leap from real life (and, if the lawsuit against screenwriter Mark Boal has merit, did). Anyway, Avatar didn’t need the Academy’s validation. The Hurt Locker, as the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner (ever? – people keep throwing out this statistic, surely adjusting for more than inflation), it could use some help getting audiences.
As I wrote when I first saw it, the subject matter is a turnoff. Which is too bad. But I was wrong about one thing in my original review. I called Hurt Locker a movie ten years ahead of its time, a sober look at a war that is too close and too continuing to see clearly. The Academy didn’t see it that way. They ignored the bandages and ripped off the scab. Good for them.