Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And the Winner Is . . . Who?

I love the last weeks of December, not because of the holiday hoo-ha but because it's the official start of the annual movie awards frenzy. To be honest I don't really care who gets nominated and who wins or loses, but I like the hysteria of it all. It's enormously entertaining to watch the parade of desperation as Hollywood pats itself on the back, and I like to imagine the un-nominated flinging themselves onto the floor in drunken heaps while they curse themselves for taking those roles in indie films when they could have cashed in by appearing in the latest Steven Spielberg or James Cameron epic.

Also, I like to see the dresses.

I used to pay attention to awards as a way of deciding what I should see. I tried, for instance, to see all of the Oscar-nominated films and performances, and the 10 best films of the year as named by the National Board of Review. In recent years, though, the various awards bestowed on Tinseltown's exports have served less as guides and more as a reminder of my rapid descent into pop culture cluelessness.

For instance, here is a list of Golden Globe nominations in the major film categories. They were announced Tuesday morning by John Krasinski, Justin Timberlake, and someone called Diane Kruger (more on her later).


The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
Up In The Air


Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious


Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
George Clooney in Up In The Air
Colin Firth in A Single Man
Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Tobey Maguire in Brothers


(500) Days Of Summer
The Hangover
It's Complicated
Julie & Julia


Sandra Bullock in The Proposal
Marion Cotillard in Nine
Julia Roberts in Duplicity
Meryl Streep in It's Complicated
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia


Matt Damon in The Informant!
Daniel Day-Lewis in Nine
Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days Of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man

Of the 10 nominated films I have seen 1: Julie & Julia.

Of the 20 Best Actor/Actress nominated performances I have seen 3: Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia, Carey Mulligan in An Education, and Colin Firth in A Single Man.

In my defense, a lot of the nominated films just came out or haven't even opened yet. So I still might get to Up in the Air and Nine, or perhaps The Last Station and It's Complicated. But probably not. Well, maybe Nine. That looks interesting. And I could be convinced to go to The Last Station, but only because of Helen Mirren and the costumes.

The rest don't really appeal to me, although I'll probably put them in my Netflix queue. Except for Invictus. I love me some rugby, but you'd have to pay me a lot to sit through that one. Oh, and The Blind Side. Just not happening. Come to think of it, Precious and The Hurt Locker look like bummers, so I might skip them as well. And Avatar? Really? No.

But the others are total maybes.

I used to really love awards shows. I watched the Oscars every year and was angry when my favorites were snubbed. I debated with my friends who should win and (even more fun) who shouldn't. But somewhere along the line this enthusiasm turned into indifference. Actually, I can pinpoint the exact moment the Oscars were ruined forever. It was watching Gwyneth Paltrow accept her Best Actress award in 1998 for the wretched Shakespeare in Love while Elizabeth's Cate Blanchett clapped politely in her seat and we all wondered what the hell had just happened.

Since then I just really don't care anymore. I can occasionally be drawn back in for a moment, such as when Jennifer Hudson was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her work in Dreamgirls. I wanted her to win. Not because she gave the best performance (ironically, that would probably be the once again overlooked Cate Blanchett for her work in Notes on a Scandal) but because it made a good story. Last year I was rooting for Mickey Rourke in the Best Actor race even though I was supposed to want Sean Penn to take it for playing gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk (which he did).

Side Note: I am soooooo sick of people winning awards for playing real people. Sure, it's nifty that you can recreate So-and-so's voice and mannerisms, but whatever. I'm more impressed when you can make me care about a character I didn't know before I sat down in the theater. So thank you, Mickey Rourke.

This year may pose a problem. Part of me wants to see Gabourey Sidibe, the newcomer who reportedly brings Precious to life, stand up there in some gorgeous gown holding a little gold man. Again, it’s a great story. But I actually saw An Education and said that Carey Mulligan should get an Oscar, so I feel I should sick with her. Then again, Helen Mirren or Emily Blunt could change my mind. But not Sandra Bullock. I love her, but come on. Not for what looks like a movie of the week.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. I'll probably just watch the pre-show to see the dresses.

I think this indifference is part of a larger waning of interest in pop culture in general. I still keep up here and there, but I admit that I'm not nearly as intrigued by it all as I was even 5 years ago. More and more I listen to the radio and think, "Who's that?" Frequently Patrick and I will see some current heartthrob or starlet interviewed on the morning news shows and have absolutely no idea who it is or why we should care. And to be honest, we don't care. A week or so ago someone called Blake Lively was the guest host on Saturday Night Live. Patrick and I had no clue who she was or why she was there. We still don't. We couldn't be bothered to google her.

Another example: Diane Kruger. As I mentioned earlier, she was one of three presenters who announced this year's Golden Globe nominations. I did google her, because I assumed she must be Someone Big in Hollywood to be given such a responsibility. Turns out she was in Inglourious Basterds, which explains that. Also, she has apparently been dating actor Joshua Jackson since 2006, which explains why he never returns my calls and for which I must dislike the little tramp.

I suppose this happens to every generation. I remember my parents wincing every time Prince or Cyndi Lauper came on the car radio. Now when I hear some 15-year-old raving about Daughtry I roll my eyes and think, You have no idea what real music is. Similarly, I don't get the fuss over the new wave of movie "stars." Robert Pattinson? Megan Fox? Give me George Clooney and Cate Blanchett.

What's that you say?

I am not old. You take that back.

Okay, I kind of am. I suppose it is time to get out of the way and let the kids have their turn in the spotlight. But they better keep the noise down. I'm trying to get some sleep.


Politicalmark said...

Go see Precious. Really. If for no other reason than Mo'Nique's final scene. The movie evolves from its initial despair into a tale of self-reliance and triumph (he says in his best movie critic voice).

kathequa said...

I agree as to the demise of the Oscars. I think we can both agree that I don't need to bother with discussing Gwyneth and her fake tears acceptance speech and ill-fitting dress, but I digress..anyway, Ellen Burstyn was robbed that year as well for best supporting actress in Requiem For a Dream. Dame Judi Densch got it for, yes, Shakespeare in Love for all of her 7 minutes in said film. SO disappointing.
Sidenote: Inglorious Bastards was really good. It was Tarantino getting back to his roots. It's worth seeing if you liked True Romance and Pulp Fiction.