So, I’m not going to mouth off about this too much, but:

Slumdog won Best Picture and Best Director (amongst MANY others – some deserved, some surprising).

Now I’m torn about Best Director. I absolutely adore Boyle, and I think he’s one of the best directors out there, but he just has NOT made a remarkable film. Of all of his films that are closest to greatness, Trainspotting is it. I love Shallow Grave, and I think 28 Days Later is easily the most intelligent zombie related film you’ll ever see. So, on that basis I suppose we can say he ‘deserves’ it. But then, what about Aranofsky? Pi, Requiem, The Fountain, The Wrestler? Doesn’t he on that basis ‘deserve’ it? Either way, I can’t argue much about Boyle. He’s a really good director, so here’s to hoping he sooner rather than later makes a mind-numbing film.

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire.

That left me gobsmacked. I should’ve expected it, but fucking hell. Now make no mistake, I like the film, but Best Film means a film that changes you, that inspires you, a film that when you watch a decade from now will still stir whatever is inside of you. SDM is good, but it is NOT that.

The Wrestler was that, maybe even Milk. But Slumdog? Maybe I keep missing what the ‘criteria’ for Best Film seems to be. I mean after all, Crash won it a year or two ago as well didn’t it? Good, but not great films. There were times when SDM was obvious and almost seemed to charter Bollywood territory – and not good bollywood. It seemed to also be packaged for Hollywood specially (I dunno if that was Boyle’s intent or not).

Not to mention that two of this year’s best movies weren’t even nominated; The Wrestler and Gran Torino.

Best Actor: Sean Penn.

Again, as with Boyle, Sean Penn is a fantastic actor, and probably ‘deserves’ an oscar in his lifetime. This year, though, Mickey Rourke was so far above his competition it wasn’t even funny. It really, really rankles my mind sometimes.

I can only hope that this time around Rourke intends on staying around…


12 thoughts on “Oscars

  1. i think slumdog’s appeal was the fact that most of the west has not seen bollywood flicks as often as we have. essentially, for all its look, the escapism and wholly unrealistic fairytale story are the kind of things you just don’t see in the west.

  2. “Good, but not great films. There were times when SDM was obvious and almost seemed to charter Bollywood territory – and not good bollywood. It seemed to also be packaged for Hollywood specially (I dunno if that was Boyle’s intent or not).”

    My thoughts exactly. It was just another Bollywood movie, but in english.

    It is sad that The Wrestler did not win anything. For me that movie was as close to perfect as it gets.

    Hell, even frost nixon or W. were way better than slumdog!

  3. I wholeheartedly agree. SDM was good, but not that good. Even Hollywood flicks have that feel-good genre in the running, why not pick them if you’re going for a feel-gooder?

    A movie is supposed to make you think. It’s supposed to move you beyond question of your own judgment of life, it’s supposed to offer you more than you previously thought.

    In what way exactly did SDM offer Bollywood or even Hollywood? Mark Twain, Shaw and Dickens did it years ago in their novels.

    If SDM had a better ending, maybe, a more of a reality shock.. the boy gets killed in a Hindu-Muslim riot like his mother, or his own brother shoots him, or Latika disappears forever and Jamal becomes a millionaire yet hates his money forever or something… that probably would’ve made it better.

    But ending it with a chorus dance on the railway station? Too Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.

    Anne Hathaway was brilliant, she deserved it – but Winslet deserved it more. I wouldn’t have said that if she were nominated for Revolutionary Road – but she left me speechless in The Reader. That was a disturbingly powerful performance.

    On a positive note (ironically so) at least they appreciated Ledger .. and yay. Wall-E won too.

  4. KK: I think you’re spot on there. For them, that sort of escapism exists only in stuff like Narnia. Even their animated stuff isn’t bollywoodish (Bambi!?#$!).

    Nabil: True. But atleast Boyle got some recognition I suppose.

    Minerva: Throughout the movie I was waiting for exactly THAT. For something bad to happen; something that’d given it more meaning and more realism. I was actually stunned at the happy ending because it was not what I expected. I’m sure we’ve all seen films that have exaggerated happy endings, but for some reason or the other it didn’t work with SDM. It just felt like someone had taken you for a ride.

    I feel really bad for Rourke and even Aranofsky. I think bubs over at 5rs says that Aranofsky’s films are too depressing, maybe that’s why he keeps getting overlooked?

  5. Afronsky should have gotten the award in my opinion. But I was rooting for Sean Penn. Micky Rourke is all plastic surgeried.

    I mean how would you know how is he acting when you cannot see any expression on his face? he just looked plastic all through the film!

    One actor who should have been nominated was Ralph Fieness for The Reader and I think Anne Hathaway should have gotten the award. Her character was the most layered one out of Changling’s Angie, Dobut’s streep and reader’s Winslet (Haven’t seen the performance of the fifth actress)

  6. You know what you’ve ended up doing?

    I’ve begun to list all my favorite directors in my head.

    Top choices include Coppola, Stephen Daldry (I adored The Hours), Marc Forster, Ron Howard and Aronofsky isn’t there, really. Requiem has been critically acclaimed and all.. and this is just personal choice I’m talking about here.. but I really think depression isn’t the problem. It’s a style, an enigmatic, captivating way of choosing to bring things to life. Like Finding Neverland or The Godfather. These are powerful, saddening yet beautiful movies. Could call Requiem a beautiful movie? I can’t.

    I also agree with you when you say that Hollywood does a more real job with feel-gooders. Like Little Miss Sunshine. Or Dream Girls. Or even The Reader. They humanize people, bring them to a more complex level and explain them to the masses. Now that is a freaking brilliant strategy to pull off. SDM didn’t do that. It was mainly a slumdog story, a basic cliche and the happy ending just didn’t cut it for all the millions of poor people still fishing their way through shit and whatnot to get an autograph from their favorite stars.

    That reminds me of the Russell Peters clip on bollywood movies. Do give it a look-see!

  7. dood, i gotta see a SHIT load of movies, man. cant wait for the torture to end.

    i agree with you – slumdog was a good movie… but, er… i dunno if it was a great movie. perhaps the western audience found it more amazing and “life changing” and eye-opening etc etc. (speakiging strictly from a story point of view) but for us here in the sub-C, it wasn’t… er.. devastatingly new. and i hated the bollywoodization at the end of the movie. though it added a certain character and merit, it was a bit of a sour taste for me. i was my movies not ending with a song and train dance, thanks.

    gran torino – dood, my stephen colbert facebook fanpage guy has been plugging the shit out of that movie. i wanna WATCH!

    trainspotting was brilliant. but we all know commercialised glammor ala the oscars will barely give due credence to the brilliance that are cult movie like trainspotting and velvet goldmine.

    btw, have you seen ewan mcgregor and charlie boorman’s long way round? you’ll love it, i know you will! 😦

  8. minerva:

    I’d call The Fountain beautiful. But it was a bit contrived; not for everyone. And I certainly can’t have a go at anyone for not loving The Fountain either. 😦

    I think Aranofsky and Paul Thomas Anderson are absolute geniuses. Both of them have made movies that’ve vastly affected me (Requiem, Fountain by Aranofsky – Magnolia by PTA, a movie everyone should see).


    haha, I have the Long Way Round torrent on my hard drive for the past couple of months. Just can’t get around to downloading it. 😦 Will do now though!

  9. i know! stories like slumdog have been done better in bollywood. and it was not best movie deserving at all. i just really loved benjamin button.

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