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How the Oscars Screwed Up: PART TWO - The Films that Didn't Deserve to Get Nominated at the 2010 Academy Awards!

  • Mar 6, 2010
Since I've already done a list of films that should have been nominated for the Oscar, but weren't, I decided that a follow-up list should include those films that were nominated, but didn't deserve it.
Inglorious Poster
Quentin Tarantino has been called the "Scorsese" of his generation and it's a title that he deserves for the most part. In general, his films have a violent energy, witty dialogue, clever camerawork, and humorous references to other films. With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino moved outside of his usual gangster and exploitation genres and wandered into the realm of historical fantasy. Now, I won't complain about the fact that the film is histoically inaccurate, because that would be completely missing the point. However, I will say that it's extraordinary that the film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. Based on what I saw, the film is Tarantino's weakest direction yet. The opening scene may be one of his best, both as far as the writing and the direction go, but from there on the story just falls apart into a violent revenge fantasy that lacks the usual intelligence and humor that you would expect. I understand the psychological importance of revenge fantasies, since they help us to cope with our anger and move on. The issue here is that Tarantino was not directly affected by the Holocaust and he's not the right person to tell a story of Jews seeking vengeance on Nazis.
District 9

While I liked District 9, I am truly amazed that it was nominated for two of the biggest awards at the 2010 Academy Awards. In general, science fiction is a genre that has been overlooked by the Academy, along with the horror and fantasy genres. And it just baffles me that of all the great science fiction films of the past decade, that this is the film that the Oscars would choose to acknowledge. Now, District 9 was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay, but honestly I don't think many people have even seen the short film that it's based on. Another issue I have with this nomination is that the story isn't at all original, not when compared to other better sci-fi films. The film is also nominated for Best Picture, which is a slap in the face to many small independent film directors whose films were overlooked. The only reason this film has received this much attention is because Peter Jackson produced it and AMPAS felt bad that his last two films were critical flops, so they're over-compensating.
See the full review, "When Humanity Is the Real Monstrosity...".
The Blind Side
Wow, I don't even know where to start with this one. First of all, anyone who has even seen the trailers for this film could tell you exactly how the story will unravel. This has to be one of the most clichéd plots in film history. First of all, the film totally falls into the most sappy and predictable sub-genres. You have the "inspirational" inter-racial relationship story, the "inspirational" sports story, the "inspirational" outcast overcoming adversity story, and the "inspirational" rich white person coming to be the savior of some poor, afflicted black person story. Okay, so not only is the film painfully predictable, but also hypocritical and racist. Haven't we seen this film a dozen times before? And it's neither well-acted or well-written, so, how the heck did it get nominations for Best Actress and Best Picture?

How this film managed to score both Best Animated Feature and Best Picture is beyond me. I love the Disney/Pixar films, but this one was a disappointment and I just don't see how anyone can justify the many nominations it earned. First of all, the story is thematically uneven as it attempts to shift between serious drama and slapstick humor. Then there are the underdeveloped supporting characters. I realize that typical Disney film villains are usually two-dimensional, but this isn't meant to be a typical Disney film. It's a Pixar film. So, then why does it feel so unimaginative, unoriginal, and overrated? Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed UP, but it doesn't live up to the hype that it has received. Not by a long shot.
The Princess and the Frog (Single Disc Widescreen)
Isn't it funny how ABC, a company owned by Buena Vista, is hosting the Oscars and this year two films from Disney, also part of Buena Vista, are nominated? Personally, I'm shocked by UP's two big nominations and the fact that this film, which was vastly inferior thematically and somewhat racist, was also nominated for Best Animated Feature. When compared to the Disney films of the past, this film is pretty much forgettable. The only memorable thing would be if it won the award. After all these years of Disney films being overlooked because of their commercial nature, the Oscars have nominated an artistically devoid film... and for what? To make up for their failures in the past!

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March 18, 2010
I think criticizing a film for being cliche isn't something that exactly works, in my book.  In a world where almost everything has been done before, I think execution is far more important than the idea in and of itself.  Many of my favorite films, for example... aren't very originl in the slighest.  The Lord of the Rings, for example, is hailed as being original (the books, not the movies) but in the end it was actually just a complete retelling of an opera that had been done hundreds of years before that Tolkein happened to stumble on.  I forget the name, but I'll find it for you.  I can't think of a movie that I've seen since I've been born that I couldn't look at and think to myself, "This has been done several hundred times before."  Maybe not in film  but certainly in other walks of life.

As far as Tarantino goes, though... he's always written and directed what he wants to do and damn anyone who likes or doesn't like his project.  On the other hand, so much of Inglourious Basterds isn't even the revenge portion.  It's putting the pieces into play.  Kill Bill engaged far more in fantasy than Inglourious Basterds ever did, I think.  But I don't think Tarantino should be disallowed to make a film just because he wasn't personally affected by the holocaust.  He's making a film not trying to teach any sort of lessons or anything like that.  But more than that... there's so much of the film that isn't even violent at all.  Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill (though that goes without saying) were far more violent than Inglourious Basterds, which spends so much time in the middle putting forth a lot of dialog and story exposition.  That's not to say it isn't violent, only to say that... compared to what he's done before Inglourious Basterds is much more sutble in its violent nature.  It isn't really until the end that there's a lot of violence going on.

You do come off as saying however, that Tarantino shouldn't have done this because he's not jewish.  If that's the case then I think you'd actually fit right in with many Academy members of the past who felt that Steven Spielberg deserved no credit at all for The Color Purple (and they made sure to give him NOTHING) because he wasn't black.  The Academy made sure that Steven Spielberg knew that he was NEVER to direct a film about black people ever again.  So I don't actually agree that Tarantino was the wrong person for it.  It was, after all, something he wanted to do in his own little way.  I don't think he put it out there for any sort of social relevance.  I think he did it just because he wanted to do it.  But there was... a lot of humor in it.  

I guess what I'm saying is... I'm not exactly seeing where any of that actually makes Inglourious Basterds a bad film.  Like, what does it have to do with the aesthetics.  You sound like someone who was... well... offended.  I'm not sure if you were (I don't think so) but as far as I'm concerned it still did much of its techniques rather well. 

And I know the most interesting character was the Nazi but I think if you look back through history... it seems like many people are fascinated with Nazi's.  Why, we make it seem like Hitler was some sort of supergenius.  You can normally find a lot more history concerning Hitler than the heroes who actually fought in World War II, it seems.  We seem far more interested in the bad guys than the good guys, even through history.  At least it seems that way to me.  In film, in particular, the bad guys are oftentimes more fascinating than heroes.  Most of us who went to see and enjoy The Dark Knight were much more intrigued by The Joker than any of the other characters, for example.  In fact, I'm almost always more interested in the villains.  So even if Tarantino had strived NOT to make the nazi villain more interesting, I might have still been more taken by him than the other characters.  I don't actually think that's anything new in film making.  The good guys, in my mind, are often the least interesting characters to me.  They're just not interesting to me.  Likable, perhaps (and well developed), but not interesting in the slightest to me.
March 18, 2010
For the most part I agree with you, except for about Tolkien. He didn't base "The Lord of the Rings" on anything. It was inspired by a number of different things, including everything from ancient European mythologies to his love of languages, from medieval legends to actual history. As for the opera, I assume you're referring to Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen", which was only written 68 years before Tolkien's LotR books were published. And Wagner's opera was just a musical dramatization of Norse myths, the same ones that had been part of Tolkien's inspiration. So, to suggest that Tolkien was just retelling an opera is totally inaccurate, if not completely erroneous.
March 19, 2010
My only point was that originality... is hard to find and I don't think cliche is a synonym for "bad" or that something being cliche somehow stops it from being rather enjoyable or even good.  Originality is awesome when it comes around, but it seems strange to me that people get so flustered over unoriginality.  I'm trying to think of ideas that haven't been repeated once before.  It wasn't Wagner I was thinking of, though.  I would've remembered that name.
March 11, 2010
I completely agree with you about "Up". It was entertaining, but definitely not award-worthy. I have no interest in seeing "The Blind Side". I actually saw a humorous review of that film in which the writer said that it was a film about how great white people were. But I digress. At least it only won one award, I believe. Great list. What would you have chosen as 2009's best animated film, instead of "Up"? Are you happy with "The Hurt Locker's" win?
March 11, 2010
As far as best animated film, I really felt that should have gone to "9" which was certainly the most creative out of all the animated films I saw this year, but the Academy didn't even recognize it in the Best Animated category. As for Best Picture, it's hard to say. Most of the films I saw this year fell into the 2 or 3 star category and I've yet to see a 5 star film, so I wouldn't be able to say who I thought deserved Best Picture. I was happy though because out of all the films that I saw that were nominated for Best Picture, "The Hurt Locker" was the best acted and directed. Plus, I'm glad that a female director has finally won. I don't know what took so long.
March 11, 2010
I'm glad that a female director fnally won as well. I haven't seen "The Hurt Locker" yet because I hadn't heard of it for some reason until award season. "9" was a pretty good film. It was indeed far more creative and intelligent than "Up", but even if it had been nominated, sadly, "Up" probably would have still won.
March 10, 2010
It shouldn't be surprising that the Academy nominated DISTRICT 9. It's always liked films that have social commentary in them, plus it had attained a fair degree of popularity.
March 11, 2010
I'm just surprised I guess because the Academy usually ignores sci-fi and fantasy and now since LotR it's giving all these awards and nominations to lesser films in those genres to compensate for the years and years that they dismissed them. I hate that kind of bias.
March 11, 2010
I think it's representative of the generation that grew up on these flic, and also of the fact that an incredibly large number of them are being churned out now. Plus don't forget the social relevance factor on DISTRICT 9. Can't over estimate that!
March 11, 2010
Yeah, but there have been dozens of sci-fi films that tapped that same vein and none of them were given Academy nominations. I personally think it was Jackson's involvement that got their attention and little else.
March 11, 2010
Name me some from the last 10 years.
March 06, 2010
very very nice list! Sadly I think # 4 will win in its division.
March 08, 2010
Unsurprisingly, it did. Thankfully, "The Hurt Locker" won the top 2 awards!
This list was inspired by:
created a list. March 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Any true film fan will tell you that awards don't mean much, regardless of who gives them out. Now, I'm sure most people have seen a film that was advertised …
Watchmen (2009 film) Where the Wild Things Are (movie) Public Enemies (2009 movie) 9 District 9
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