I do not enjoy Michael Cieply’s mechanistic, Darwinian New York Times articles on what he sees as the Oscar race. Hugo he decribed last year as a “weak” nominee because of its lack of acting nominations. What DOES that mean? Did it deserve acting nominations? Were the titles in the Ring(s) cycle weak best picture nominations? Cieply is not alone in writing about races and sweepstakes and campaigns while forgetting that the awards have anything to do with achievement. But he invariably appears historically challenged. The awards did not begin when he first became aware of them.
But I appreciated and learned from his article on the obituary segment of what is now an annual television variety show rather than an awards presentation. I was not aware that politics and other issues play a role even in death and deaths in the Hollywood realm of awards, but Cieply’s analysis and pertinent current examples are conclusive.
Incidentally, Cieply quotes an Academy official as explaining that Harry Morgan’s name was omitted last year because “he had been more known for television shows…than for movies.” I’m all for that approach, in general. I’m fed up with newspaper obituaries that ignore real film achievements by a departred performer and mention only the one or two dumb sitcoms in which he or she ended a career.
Cieply’s informative piece is highly RECOMMENDED READING for anyone interested in cinema history and/or its great(s) departed. (New York Times, 2/10/13. “Oscar obituary segment is political, not always fair.”)
NEXT FRIDAY POST, the Ides
See you at the movies,