This morning the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences announced the following eight films had been nominated for Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards which will take place on February 28th:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
I have seen none of these pictures. This is quite unusual. Even in this era where up to 10 films can be nominated for Best Picture, I have usually seen at least one or two of the movies nominated. But not so for 2015. In November, I very nearly went to see Spotlight which tells the story of how The Boston Globe broke the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. The night I was going to see it was the same night of the Paris terrorist attacks. I stayed home in no mood to watch any movie and haven’t felt the need to see it since.
I have heard good things about both Big Short (yet another Michael Lewis book nominated for Best Picture; his books The Blind Side and Moneyball have both received Oscar nomination for Best Picture in recent years) as well as The Revenant. But I haven’t felt the motivation to go see them. A few months back I saw a coming attraction for Room which revolves around the part of a mother and son held in confinement in a room with the mother telling the son that this room represents the entire universe, a universe from which they will have to escape. An interesting plot to be sure, but again I haven’t not felt the overwhelming need to see it.
Then there is what I fear is going to become the annual complaint of African-American themed films as well African-American actors and directors being snubbed by the Academy. Last year it was the MLK biopic Selma; this year it is the hip-hop group N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta of Compton. I am sure we will soon hear from Al Sharpton about it and I am also sure we will hear about it on Oscar night from host Chris Rock.
Now it might be the case that Straight Outta of Compton is a better film than the eight which have been nominated. But I don’t know because I haven’t seen that one either nor am I particularly interested to do so unless someone were to ask me along.
My main reason for not seeing these films isn’t about Hollywood’s reactionary leftism. To be sure, I am probably less inclined to see a movie with Mark Ruffalo (who is in Spotlight) because he actually blamed Republicans for Benghazi a couple of years back. But my main reason for not seeing these movies is because movies simply aren’t as good as they used to be.
Does anyone remember which movie won Best Picture last year? How many of you can do it without looking it up online? In 25 years from now, let alone a year from now, I doubt anyone will remember which movie won Best Picture in 2015.
I don’t think any of the films nominated this year stack up with past Best Picture winners like Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, On The Waterfront, Lawrence of Arabia, Midnight Cowboy or The Godfather (both Part I & II).
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