Rick’s Journal  (MY FILM CAREER)

Oscar Madness, Oscar Sadness

In this Oscar week my belated discovery of Ben Fritz’s article in the Wall Street Journal gives me nothing to cheer about.  Writing about the 6,000 plus members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Fritz says:  “…some of them don’t see all the movies they should, and some even lose track of the ones they do see.”  Fritz reports further:  “One Academy member said he never got around to ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’…Another said she didn’t see ‘Dallas Buyers Club and watched only about half of ‘Her.'”  Are you depressed enough?  There’s more.  “A third said that after watching ‘Gravity’ in September, he was certain it would be among his best picture choices.  But by the time he voted in January, he had forgotten about it./’So many movies came out later that were top-of-mind,’ the person said.”  These are people who have a say in whether Joaquin Phoenix is nominated?  Whether Matthew McConaughey’s achievement is better this year than Leonardo di Caprio’s?  Did these people not nominate Emma Thompson because they forgot what movie she was in?   —  It is enough to make a serious moviegoer weep.  Does the Academy need more serious moviegoers as members?  (Ben Fritz, “They Could Have Been Contenders,”  Wall Street Journal, 1/17/14.)

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High school.  Just after lunch.  I was back early, and so was Carol who sat at the desk behind me in home room.  I saw that she was filling out a printed form and rudely asked what she was doing.  She calmly told me she was filling out an Academy Award nominating ballot.  She casually explained that her uncle worked in what she called the industry.  She said he wasn’t very interested the final product, movies, and usually sent her his ballots because she was such a regular moviegoer.  I swallowed my shock and moral indignation so that I could ask her about her choices.  She told me her first choice as best picture and when I said, ” But it hasn’t played here yet, you haven’t seen it,” she replied  —  once more with that maddening calm  —   “I know, but it’s supposed to be real good.”  That film which Carol chose and which I never liked won the Academy Award that year as best picture.  A film I liked very much, and still regularly watch, did  not.  I still get mad with Carol every year when I read about dumb nominations, dumb gaps and dumb Academy members.  I like to think that in these days and times this could no longer happen; but the quotes from members in the WSJ have me ready to believe the worst.

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Have you seen Touki-Bouki?  Don’t miss it the next time it comes round on Turner Classic Movies.  I found it at my local public library.  It is also available at amazon.com.


See you at the movies,

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