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.
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.
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...".
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.
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!