Award Season 2012
What is the future?
This is an important question, now more than ever. A case could be made that more has happened in the last 10 years than in the previous 1000. It’s even more true in the context of 100 plus years of cinema history. Things are changing fast and soon we may not recognize the movie going experience. The biggest change is in hand held devices like I-Pads and Androids. Video on demand is becoming more and more accepted. Still, despite video piracy and other affronts, movie box office is till strong somewhat bolstered by income from things like 3-D showings.
The Oscars and other award shows are under siege by thousands of bloggers. As everyone knows,
bloggers may be smart or not but they have no need to adhere to any standards. From my humble perspectives, as someone who cares about the history of film, I see many positive and negative influences at play. The biggest problem is that studios are less concerned with quality and intelligence and more interested in meeting the demands of youth demographics. They continue to play the Oscar bait game but with almost nonchalant detachment. Everyone knows that the best films are rarely the most successful. Some bloggers would probably prefer if the Oscars and Gold Globes and their ilk would go away forever. Some would even say they are worthless. Some would say critics are worthless.
On top of everything is the demand for attention and the constant distraction by the frivolous
and silly. The internet is crammed as are the cable networks. Actually some of the best work being done today is on television but it is hard to find it sometimes. With such proliferation of content, it is hard to focus on those things that are meaningful, innovative, momentous and important.
We are at the earliest stage of the award season where film festival awards start predicting what films might be in contention to be the next classic. It is a little early to make any meaningful predictions but one film in particular seems like a major contender. The Master from director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood) seems like the work of a master.
It also seems to be bringing redemption to actor Joaquin Pheonix who seemed to flame out and self destruct a while back with a phony documentary about his desire to be a rapper. The director seems to have channeled all the insecurities of the actor into a searing portrayal.
Another story of redemption is the career of Ben Aflleck whose first two films as a director were
nearly perfect and seems to have another winner with Argo, a true story about terrorists.
Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild are two films already in release that are contenders. Big Budget blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit can usually make it to the big show. There are literary classics like Wuthering Heights , Anna Karenina, On The Road and Les Miserables which are solid Oscar bait. Two presidential biographical films are on tap, Lincoln and Hyde Park on Hudson (with Bill Murray as FDR). Amour, a foreign film about Alzheimer’s disease riveted and wowed the Cannes film festival. Zero Dark Thirty about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and from the director of The Hurt Locker clearly has a chance. Life of Pie, a story of a boy and a tiger on a rowboat by the great Ang Lee has blown away people who have seen it.
This just a first attempt to bring attention to possible greatness but there are so many possibilities.
I will list a few more titles now but we will have to go into depth at a later time. There is End of Watch (Jake Gyllenhaal), Arbitrage (Richard Gere), The Paperboy (Nicole Kidman) Not Fade Away( Soprano’s David Chase first feature), The Sessions (Helen Hunt), Killing Them Softly (Brad Pitt), Seven Psychopaths (Writer-Director Martin McDonagh and Colin Ferrell), Silver Linings Playbook (Director David O. Russell, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence). I’ll stop now because it is months away before we will know if one of these or a player to be announced will be the big winner.