Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BAFTA Nominees for 2007

<-- Yes, Helen. It's nearly time to pass on the tiara (or... mask rather, made in Britain) of Best Actress in a Motion Picture. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts have announced their nominees for the films of 2007 and the next "best actress" will be either Queen Elizabeth Blanchett, Juno (not named after the town in Alaska), Edith "Cotillard" Piaf, Julie Christie or the still-rising Brit superstar Keira Knightley as "Cecilia". How the reheated leftover that is Cate Blanchett's Golden Elizabeth is still besting the likes of Amy "Enchanted" Adams, Savage Laura Linney and in this case Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart is beyond me. I just don't get it. Please to explain.

You can see the complete list of nominees here and if you click here they'll even read them to you. The British are so hospitable. It was a very good day for No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, American Gangster (!), La Vie En Rose, This is England, The Bourne Ultimatum and Atonement among others. But I'm not typing them up because I'm already tired of awards season. Bring on the Oscars and let's wrap this up.

97 comments:

Cagatay said...

Not only those, she also beat out Helena Bonham Carter, which is weird as BAFTA is known to love rewarding its own products. (Come on, they took every single opportunity to nominate Atonement and gave a bunch of nods to Control, which everyone else ignored this year)

Catherine said...

The BAFTAs seem pretty decent this year. I'm not a fan of Ikea Knightley, so boo for her. But overall, 'tis good. Especially with this other Jonny Greenwood nod. Yay!

They're infintely better than the IFTAs at any rate. I think that's the ceremony I'm supposed to get excited about.

Peter said...

How the reheated leftover that is Cate Blanchett's Golden Elizabeth is still besting the likes of Amy "Enchanted" Adams, Savage Laura Linney and in this case Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart is beyond me.

Well in this case, I'd imagine the movie's British-ness helped out quite a bit. In general I agree with you though.

Anonymous said...

Bring on the FB Awards and let's party!!!!!!!

Marcelo - Brazil.

Ryan said...

It's great that Paul Dano finally got recognized for his work in There Will be Blood.

mrripley said...

no idea but if she gets a nom over keira or laura i will give up,do u think she will.

they missed sam riley for actor in control which is a shame and stephen graham for this is england which nat still one of 2007's best esp him.

Jaydawg2089 said...

Yeah, Anon 12:25! The FB's are way cooler than the BAFTA's! And this is coming from a guy who wants a BAFTA one day... and a FB...

JS said...

They're using the same host as last year?

Ian McKellan will not be pleased.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nat, I'm ready for awards season to be over. It is getting really boring.

Nick Davis said...

Have we noticed the big Boo to Amy Ryan? Kind of fascinating. I'm not against Amy Ryan — I think she's marginally better than some of the BAFTA nominees — but I still appreciate the shake-up.

Worst nomination: maybe Elizabeth: The Golden Age for production design? Are they kidding? Did the hypnotic futuristic-gekko costumes distract them from how blank and tacky the sets generally were? (And all the American Gangster love baffles me, I must say. Whereas I don't care for Atonement but I can see the arguments in its favor, I just don't understand how one would watch AG and feel that it was one of the year's best pictures, works of cinematography, feats of editing, etc.)

Rural Juror said...

I am in love with these nominees. Seriously.

Jeremy Heilman said...

Nick, Amy Ryan wasn't snubbed. She couldn't get a nom because Gone, Baby, Gone wasn't scheduled to be released in Britain in time to qualify.

G said...

NIck Because IMO it American Gangster WAS and it was also IMO better than the Entirely OVERRATED Ass Departed. What baffles me is how ANYBODY can put the mediocre Michael Clayton on any freaking list that is WHAT baffles the hell out of me. Just because YOU don't like something that doesn't mean somebody else won't.

Zee said...

(And all the American Gangster love baffles me, I must say. Whereas I don't care for Atonement but I can see the arguments in its favor, I just don't understand how one would watch AG and feel that it was one of the year's best pictures, works of cinematography, feats of editing, etc.)

And people wonder why we have awards shows simply for African Americans , gee hmmm... Maybe because people have ENTIRELY different views of films.


How the hell is Johnny Depp and Amy Adams getting freaking attention for a one note performance??? But of course if they were Black ohh they don't deserve it What the f ever.

Ric said...

HOw could La Vie En Rose beat out the movie 4 Weeks .... for a
nomination. The movie was a mess.

Cotilliard was the only excellent part of the movie.

NATHANIEL R said...

zee while I can understand your frustration (we all get a little peeved when films we love get slighted by others) it sounds like you've been watching the political discourse on television lately --those annoying talking heads can make anything about race and not everything is.

american gangster's generic quality has nothing to do with the fact that much of the cast is black. I personally blame it on Ridley Scott who is white ;) I can't see him in that picture at all and I like him as a director. Harris Savides who sometimes does great camera work (elephant, and even this year in zodiac --much more interesting lighting than the job he did for american gangster) wasn't exciting me like he usually does. It was just unspecial --how is that up for cinematography over say DIVING BELL AND BUTTERFLY and JESSE JAMES and ZODIAC, etcetera...? it's odd.

Jake said...

HERE COMES PAUL DANO!!!

Anonymous said...

14 NODS FOR ATONEMENT!!! Finally! At least the Brits know what's up. Love that Paul Dano made it in, Keira/James lead nods, Cate's double nods, "Bourne Ultimatum" and Paul Greengrass, Marion Cotillard, and the nods for "The Lives of Others"/Ulrich Mure :(. These will almost certainly end up being better than the Oscar nominations.

Zee said...

No it actully comes from having conversations with people about the recent NAACP awards nominations. Which doesn't ONLY nominate Blacks , but others as well. It was really annoying.

My point about people having different views on film is because the Urban crowd loves American Gangster. Are they wrong?? No Are they Right? No. It's fine if you didn't like it, there are tons of films that I don't like. I didn't like BladeRunner , but I can understand why some people do. Unless this is Norbit, I don't understand why people are shocked that AG is getting some attention.

Zee said...

Can't Comment on Jesse James or Diving Bell I haven't seen either.

As far as the cinematography in Zodiac, I didn't think it was more or less special than the cinematography in American Gangster.

NATHANIEL R said...

ok. gotcha.

but this happens every year. people are always shocked when everybody else loves movies they don't.

like me for example: i'm utterly shocked that all of these academies aren't totally embarrassed to be putting THE GOLDEN AGE on their ballots. I mean, really...

Anonymous said...

these nomines are HOT. catherine, have you even seen atonement? i don't like ikea either, but at least see it before you say "boo for keira."

Anonymous said...

Cate Blanchett earned both of her nominations here, and hopefully the Academy will follow next week. I'm glad for "American Gangster" too. I'm bummed that Angelina and Vanessa Redgrave missed out on nods. Don't know if I'd have voted for Keira or not (love her though, but I think all the actresses in "Atonement" should have submitted supporting), but I would have replaced Kelly MacDonald with Vanessa Redgrave really easily.

Zee said...

I guess that's why it's best to have your own awards and you can honor the movies that YOU like. The celebs can be there in your imagination.lol

Nick Davis said...

@G: Thanks for pointing out my mistake about Amy Ryan. I forgot about that delayed release in the UK.

@G and @Zee: I realized that I sounded like a twit to you, but I think I'm agreeing with you: the appeal of some films/performances seems especially baffling if you aren't one of the people in its camp. I don't mean that American Gangster "is" bad, but that I personally can't see what's special about it, and part of that problem for me is that I haven't heard a lot of strong cases made for its cinematography, editing, etc., even as it continues to be nominated in those categories. (By contrast, I've heard exactly why people who like the Atonement music and editing and cinematography like it, even though I personally wasn't impressed.) I get that AG has fans and that no one is definitively wrong or right, but I wish more AG fans would make clearer what they see in it, so I could grasp that perspective. Right now it's verging on Chocolat to me: a movie that no one I know, of any particular stripe, ever speaks passionately about, but it somehow keeps showing up on lists.

Anyway: didn't mean to impose my POV on everyone (I meant the opposite, and I really am curious), and I certainly don't think this is about race (we've hassled out a whole other thread about that), but I'm sorry if I wasn't clear, or I sounded like I was just being a d*ck.

Anonymous said...

Catherine I support you, Keira Knightley "Overracted actress"... I hope the Academy doesn't get another nomination for a mediocre and pathetic performance

But these nomiantions doesn't affect the Oscar nominations because the poll close two days before the Golden Globes? Only this Tuesday we know if "atonement" is beloved or not by the AMPAS...
Two years ago "The constant gardener" (Playing at home) received more nominations than the favorite and only received four nominations... Or the love of "united 93" and only received two nominations...

Good for Kelly Macdonald (Underrated actress, better that Knightley)

NATHANIEL R said...

anon 3:19 how did Cate "earn" the nomination for E:TGA? I mean, how did she earn it more than Angelina Jolie, Amy Adams, Tang Wei, Anamaria Marinca, Laura Linney, Nicole Kidman, and about 5 or 6 other people...?

I'm not trying to "attack" so much as figure out how people see this as one of the 5 very best of a very strong year for actresses. I don't get it.

Do we really have to nominate acclaimed actors every time they appear on screen? I wish awards bodies could be more discerning. All performers, even Meryl Streep, aren't one of the five best every time.

It's like the automatic nomination for PSH in Charlie Wilsons War. The way it looks from a non-fan perspective is this: Before anyone had seen a frame of the movie he was certain to be among the 5. That's kind of bogus, whoever you are, dont you think?

nick thanks for piping in. I hope everyone understands that nobody here is really trying to attack anyone else (well, except the occassional drive by anonymous trolling). Most of us just really love discussing the movies with people we both agree and disagree with.

Life would be boring if we all agreed on everything

Kamikaze Camel said...

"These will almost certainly end up being better than the Oscar nominations."

Agreed. The Academy won't dare with This is England any noms, they've turned their back on Atonement and The Lives of Others is ineligible (granted, they gave the movie their foreign language Oscar - deservedly - but Muhe, the screenplay and the direction are all awards worthy). And plus we've got not Into the Wild to stink up the joint.

Zee, I wrote about the NAACP awards recently. I have nothing against them, but I thought it was silly that they wouldn't nominate something like Hairspray - which is all about racial tolerance and embraces black culture - yet they will nominate I Am Legend, which isn't at all about black culture (it merely stars an african-american) and American Gangster, which seems to show black people are thugs and drug runners. How is that showing the advancement of black people in the arts (as their website states)?

Or is it because Hairspray is a girly gay musical?

Kamikaze Camel said...

"The Academy won't dare with This is England any noms,"

should be "The Academy won't date give..."

and "And plus we've got not Into the Wild to stink up the joint." should be "And plus we've got no Into..."

amir_uk said...

Regarding American Gangster - while I don't think it's a Great film, I did like it more than most I think (it's my number 12 of the year). I really enjoyed Harris Savides' framing and lighting on the film (marginally more so than in Zodiac) - he has a nomination from me this year.

But I also truly believe it was one of the very best edited films of the year. The film really moves, it has "snap" because of Pietro Scalia's intelligent work (not to mention Ruby Dee's excellence in her scant few scenes).

Anonymous said...

Blah. Why do they love American Gangster so much? And no Sam Riley for actor? I hope Sam Morton wins sup actress.

Blanchett for the razzie for Elizabeth: The Golden Age of Camp!

Anonymous said...

I prefer a thousand times the performance of cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth : The golden age" than keira Knightley in "atonement"... Yes, she has fans but she has many detractors. i'm one of them and I saw "Atonement" for confirmation of my theory: Keira Knightley sucks!!!...

Arkaan said...

1. As an avowed Cate Blanchett fan (who often gets brassed off at Nathaniel's dismissals), I've gotta say I'm rooting against a nod for The Golden Age. Partially because I fear the epic backlash that could engender (see Kidman's win for The Hours for a similar example), but really - I don't think Blanchett's ever given as ineffective performance. This, I should add, is coming from someone who would give her six oscar nominations thus far, so I'm pretty rabid as a fanboy. She clearly tried her best to match the film's tone but failed (I'd argue the same for Samantha Morton - who completely missed the boat; and Clive Owen, who was left stranded by the plot turns. Geoffrey Rush, strangely, emerged unscathed). Hell, I don't think she's ever been as bad as she was when she finds out SPOILERS..about Abbie Cornish's pregnancyEND SPOILERS.

2. I'm supporting Knightley all the way, though. No, it's not on the same ground as Christie or Marinca, but her performance devastated me.

3. No Sam Riley? Bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I just thought that Cate Blanchett delivered a great performance in "The Golden Age"? Why does that require some damn page-long explanation? Maybe I just liked it over some other main contenders? That is possible, and what's annoying is shaming people and shaming different awards-giving bodies that have (and continue to find) worth in her performance. Cate Blanchett's worth the double nods that she'll likely receive next week.

NATHANIEL R said...

thanks Arkaan for explaining. that's what i'm talking about. even people we like... they can't always be at their best.

anonymous --you don't have to explain why you love a performance. we all love what we love. I'm not trying to shame anyone. Believe it or not, I was asking from a genuine place. I'm curious as to why people find it better than Kidmans, Jolies, Marincas, Weis, Knightleys, Linneys, etcetera...

if anyone else cares to speak up I am all ears.

Zee said...

Zee, I wrote about the NAACP awards recently. I have nothing against them, but I thought it was silly that they wouldn't nominate something like Hairspray - which is all about racial tolerance and embraces black culture - yet they will nominate I Am Legend, which isn't at all about black culture (it merely stars an african-american) and American Gangster, which seems to show black people are thugs and drug runners. How is that showing the advancement of black people in the arts (as their website states)?

Or is it because Hairspray is a girly gay musical?
__________________________________
How is Hairspray Gay???lol.

I don't understand why they didn't support Hairspray more. I complained about that too. I don't think many people knew what it was about i.e. didn't see it. Not to say that the NAACP didn't. I mean Oprah thought it was about Hair. A lot of my Black friends ( before watching it) thought it was about Hair too.

@Nick also

American Gangster shows the downfalls of that lifestyle. I mean in the end Frank Lucas didn't end up on top or anything. I especially liked the last scene where it shows the " new world" Frank Lucas doesn't fit in anymore. I've actually had plenty of conversations about this film with the young Black youth in my community and it was very insightful. I mean guys like Frank Lucas ( not him necessarily) don't think about 20 to 30 years down the line, are they still going to be selling dope in their 40s and 50s?. Even the late rapper Tupac got emotional when he turned 22 because he didn't think he would live that long. What happens when you are no longer "In" and is considered Old School? This film brought about a lot of questions about that sort of lifestyle. Frank Lucas was a business man, he helped his family etc, but he also destroyed lives etc. Popular movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas ( both very good films and IMO better than AG) didn't really show the effects of drugs on the community. So I can understand why AG was honored because it is a cautionary tale.

As far as the NAACP honoring it, why shouldn't they? I mean all movies can't be sugarcoated. They shouldn't just ignore the performances and work did on AG because it shows some Blacks as drugdealers. Especially if there is a lesson in the movie. I can see if the movie glorified it.IMO it didn't. Some Blacks are drugdealers, some Whites are drugdealers etc. There's good and bad in every group.
______________________________
How is that showing the advancement of black people in the arts (as their website states)?
_________________________________
I think IAL shows the advancement of Black people in the arts. I mean 20 years ago Will Smith would NOT be starring in a movie like I Am Legend. I think the statement (in terms of Film )means just advancing and getting better roles in Hollywood. Every movie doesn't have to be about racial issues, "Why Did I get Married" had nothing to do with race either.


I have problems with their. nominations too. Stomp the Yard..WTF.I also had issues with them giving an award to Isaiah Washington last year. I honestly rarely watch the NAACP awards.

My problem with some of the complaints about the NAACP is that some people say that it's racist and if there was an awards show that only honored Whites it would be considered that way. My point is ( not to mention the many years ago when minorites were overlooked) that there are awards and honors for people of all ethnicities including Italian-American , Polish-American, Irish-merican etc. There's an Asian Excellence awards show. There's also an awards show for Latinos. I mean they may not be as visible as the NAACP, but if you want to make them visible speak out.

Zee said...

No one ever bothers to look at the African American Film Critics Awards, which IMO is better than the NAACP. Here is their list.

1. Great Debaters
2. American Gangster
3. Talk To Me
4. Gone Baby Gone
5. No Country for Old Men
6. Michael Clayton
7. Juno
8. Sweeney Todd
9. Things We Lost in The Fire
10. There Will Be Blood



Don Cheadle won Best Actor, Marion Cotillard Best Actress. Ruby Dee Best Supporting and Chiwetel Ejiofor Best supporting for Talk to Me. Kasi Lemmons won Director and The Great Debaters was their top film.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

I was intrigued at the nominations. Mostly because this makes the race for that fifth spot purely between Blanchett and Knightley now.

Jolie's snub here probably will have zero effect on Oscar. If it does, I'll be incredibly surprised since they seem to like her (1 win already) and everybody else Stateside has rightfully nominated her.

I was surprised at the lack of Sweeney Todd love. I thought it was actually ineligible like Gone Baby Gone before I saw the almost throwaway nominations of costume and hair/makeup.

I love to see them throwing more candidates in the best supporting actress, even though Morton doesn't have a chance in hell.

Kamikaze Camel said...

And then again with the Hairspray snub. Obviously race is playing a part in movies like The Great Debaters and Talk to Me getting on the list so why not a movie that got better reviews than them?

Zee, the thing with the NAACP is that they say in their own society name that they are about the advancement of coloured people. If Hairspray doesn't represent that idea better than Gangster and I Am Legend then I don't know what does. Which is my issue. I just don't get it at all.

Do you have a blog at all?

Anonymous said...

It's funny that you guys are all up in arms over what awards the NAACP gives out, like you really care about black-themed films and the awarding of them to begin with. It's their award to do with as they please, and if they found more worth in "American Gangster" than they did in "Hairspray", then so be it.

mel said...

Why does Keira's nomination here "put her back in the race"? Her nomination here was expected, it is BAFTA after all. And frankly, with the lack of love for Atonement thus far, she's the most unlikely nominee from that film.

As much as I hate to admit it, Cate Blanchett will get nominated for Elizabeth the Golden Age. And IMO, it will be undeserved.

Zee said...

No Kamikazee I don't have a blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Zee on this, regarding American Gangster. Whether you personally loved it or not, a lot of people did like it (it's currently #159 on the IMDB, which suggests it isn't quite as big a disappoiment as oscar bloggers and awards forum types would have you believe). It's generally considered well made, well acted ect ect, and the reviews were strong. It may not be your cup of tea, but it's annoying to hear people act as if a big "shock" to see it recieving attention. No it isn't. I don't see what's special about Michael Clayton, but I can see why it's getting awards attention.

It's shocking that Denzel Washington, just voted America's favorite movie star for the 2nd year in a row, has never starred in a Best Picture nominated film (though he has a supporting role in A Soldiers Story in 1984), when I could think of several of his films that merited a nomination. It makes me question if black themed films are held to a different standard. Mediocrities like Finding Neverland, Seabiscuit, Gangs Of New York and many others are nominated every year, but something like Ray gets nominated, and suddenly AMPAS has dropped it's usually "brilliant" standards by nominating a standard musical biopic about the blind black guy. Didn't hear that much complaining when the equally formulaic Walk The Line picked up a Best Picture nod the next year though.

So I guess that American Gangster will join Cry Freedom, Glory, Malcolm X, Devil In A Blue Dress, He Got Game and The Great Debaters (yes, it's Best Picture calibre, despite it's formulaic nature) in the list of Washington pictures that were held to a higher standard than the likes of Finding Neverland, A Beautiful Mind and Seabiscuit, those groundbreaking Best Picture nominees of recent years. American Gangster and The Great Debaters are better than all 3 of those films, imho, but when it comes to black themed films, the rules to to shift.

john

Anonymous said...

Well, in this case... I find better performances in Tang Wei, Carice Van Houten, and especially an incredible like Laura Linney... In comparation of Blanchett in ETGA these performances are better, I only say than I prefer Cate than KEira, but in comparation of Cate than Laura, Tang wei or Carice I prefer one of them, and I forget Amy Admas who gives by a possible cartoonish caracter an amazing and human princess in new York...

Examples, Nikki Blonsky and Tang Wei gives, for me, the best breaktrough female performances of the year. At the Globes I prefer tang Wei for BEst Actress (Drama).

Like you I prefer for the fifth spot Laura inney but for me, Cate is OK, not better than the first movie but she's still good

Kamikaze Camel said...

er, John, Walk the Line did not get a best picture nomination.

Anon 8.59, Reversed racism is just as bad as the regular kind.

NATHANIEL R said...

john,

there is ample enough evidence to suggest that they don't care about black films as much as they do other types of films (which many attribute to the demographic breakdown of their 6000ish members) but it's a stretch to say that the griping about Ray was something unusual. That type of film gets griped about every single year when it gets nominated, black or white

;)

there was a lot of rejoicing in some quarters when walk the line was passed over.

Zee said...

Kamikazee, how do you know it was racism though? Different films appeal to different people. None of the Black film sites put Hairspray in their top 10 list. So maybe they didn't care for the film much. One of the sites actually reviewed the film and liked it, but not enough to put on its top ten list. If the Academy doesn't nominate American Gangster or The Great Debaters or Hairspray are they racist ( well maybe about 15 years ago)? I'm sorry I just don't buy the whole reverse racism thing, there's no such thing. Racism is Racism whether it's towards Blacks , Whites etc.

Different films appeal to different people, which is why we have so many different award shows.

Anonymous said...

It's not "reversed racism" at all. They voted on what they wanted to acknowledge in the end, and I respect that. I'd take "American Gangster" over "Hairspray" anyway, so it's not nearly the exaggerated situation that you're making it out to be. It's lame and fake outrage.

Anonymous said...

I remember plenty of media outlets and awards bloggers going "Where's Walk the Line in the best picture lineup?" that year, and a lot of that had to do with the media thinking that a populist film based on a famous white musical legend would make the lineup if "Ray" did the year before. And the reality of it is, the same people that couldn't wait to get their claws out on "Ray" were the first to champion "Walk the Line", when both films played by the exact musical biopic playbook. It reeks of double standards, and it's seen everytime that a black-themed film that is perfectly fine for BP consideration is thrown under the bus come Oscar time, while mediocre films that appeal to AMPAS's old white contingent sail through. People like and respond to what they know, and that's never going to change, but acting like there's no double standard at play is foolish and short-sighted.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:36 pm is spot on about the "double standards".

I'm sorry, but awards sites forum types and blog posters had their knives out for American Gangster before they even saw the damned thing, imho. So this lame "fake outrage" nonsense about why a popular box office success with prestige names attached and good reviews is getting awards "attention", is lame and disingenous in the extreme. On places like Awards Daily, Hollywood Elsewhere, Goldderby and even this blog, the campaign against AG began months before the film came out. Was it because the film was arrogant enough to call itself "American Gangster", which is a pretty definitive title. Maybe. Or was it the Scarface themed posters that got people's goat. This was a film marketed to appeal to the "urban" demographic, though it had significant crossover appeal, thanks to it's stars. In the real world, many people love American Gangster a damned sight more than they do many of the other films getting an easy ride and a free pass to a Best Pic nom.

Anytime a film is aimed to have a major appeal to blacks, you can count on the internet nerds to get indignant (Dreamgirls being a recent example. I didn't even care much for the film, but it was no better or worse than many Best Pic contenders in recent years). They knew American Gangster was bulletproof, commercially speaking (it's still the only hit "prestige" drama of fall 2007) and that rappers and their ilk would probably worship the movie regardless of whether it got good reviews or not, so the negativity started early. Same reason it's trendy for white folk online to hate on Scarface these days, since it's been adopted by the "urban crowd" (ie, black folk).

This is not to discount those who legitimately didn't care much for the film. But when people online are acting as if American Gangster getting a Best Pic nod (not even a win, just a nod) would be some kind of all-time worst Oscar decision, my alarm bells go off big time. Why not pick on Michael Clayton for being nothing but a jumped up John Grisham movie with pretensions. Off the top of my head, I can think of a dozen less accomplished Best Picture nominees than American Gangster in the past decade alone, including The Departed (yes, I'm going there).

The Departed winning Best Picture, to me, is the equivalent of Training Day winning Best Picture. They are both well acted commercial thrillers, above average films, with not much depth, thematics or content. In fact, I think Training Day is a slightly better film. Both films had ridiculous contrivances (Training Day falls apart in it's third act), but The Departed had more plot holes and inconsistencies than swiss cheese. Yet nobody bats an eyelid when this incredibly flawed and shallow thriller wins Best Picture. Had Training Day been nominated for Best Picture, let alone won, it'd be a sign of the Apocalypse for internet types. Affirmative action gone wild (just like Denzel winning Best Actor for the movie, according to many). Black themed movies get routinely thrown under the bus wehen it comes time for Best Pic consideration, not just by AMPAS demographics, but from the majority of white film geeks that populate awards film sites and blogs. It's one of the reasons it's so incredibly hard for a films about blacks to get best picture nods, even when they seem like typical AMPAS fare (most of the un-nominated Denzel Washington films mentioned in another post fit the bill). Nobody complains if yet another tedious and unoriginal British period piece gets a Best Pic nod, but if Hustle And Flow got nominated for Best Picture (and it was a perfectly fine film), we'd never hear the end of it. It always seems like when a black movie is a possiblity for a best pic nod, "it'd be the worst decision EVER". So I'm not surprised by this faux outrage for American Gangster. Reminds me of when people said The Hurricane didn't deserve to be nominated for Best Picture due to "historical inaccuracies", and that complaint worked, and it didn't get nominated. And two years later, the gave the Best Picture award to a historically inaccurate biopic about a white guy (A Beautiful Mind).

The point is, the double standards are clear as daylight, for anyone who wants to see them. Inferior or average films that appeal mostly to white people always seem to get a much easier ride come oscar season. I know plenty of film literate black and latinos who cannot see the appeal of films like Little Miss Sunshine or Sideways, or why those films "deserved" Best Picture nods. Or why a British Television movie (which is what THE QUEEN was. It certainly wasn't cinematic) with good performances, gets a an easy Best Picture nod, with little faux internet "outrage". But they can't spend all day on the internet whining about it. Those films say absolutely nothing to many of them, while something like American Gangster does. Yet nobody is required to explain why every year, people go head over heels for "quirky" little "indies" about eccentric white people drinking wine or attending child beauty pagents, that are quickly forgotten a few years later.

Nate

NATHANIEL R said...

Nate,

I appreciate your passionate comment but I'm saddened that you think my knives were out for AG before I saw it. But even if they were (lord knows i'm as vulnerable to pre-screening perceptions as any human being is) I can assure you it wasn't because the film was "black" --though I'll give you that I don't typically respond well to the "gangster" thing. But that's true for me across the board: white, black, hispanic, whatever.

I've always questioned the Hollywood tendency (and audience tendency) to really worship negative characters. You see it time and time again in mob, mafia, even serial killer movies. I mean, one only has to look at the way the Corleones or Scarface are viewed to realize that people really and truly admire criminals and believe them to be very honorable at least within their "codes". Part of the appeal of Hannibal even I think is that people somehow view him as "honorable" --not coming after Clarice Starling or what have you.

It's strange to me ... and i've never pretended otherwise. But, again, it has nothing to do with race.

I think Denzel Washington is an amazing actor (again: not predisposed to disliking his work) but I thought he gave one of his worst performances in that movie. I just got nothing from it.

and furthermore it's not "outrage" so much as "huh?"

to make a long story short (too late) My opinion about AMERICAN GANGSTER I come by quite honestly.

and I think you're quite wrong to think that more HUSTLE & FLOW nominations would have angered people. I think a lot of people would have been proud of the Academy for going in an interesting direction with that: certainly people were happy to see that as a surprise SAG nominee for "ensemble"

Anonymous said...

I want to get involved in this spirited discourse (or semi-heated debate) about race. I have to agree with a great deal of what "Anonymous" has said in his post.

I think Little Miss Sunshine did get the Best Picture nomination because it was a movie about quirky White people. If you watch that film, there's very little that's good about it. It's just not a good movie. It's corny, and not in a good way.

But you know what, most people who vote for Oscars are White. It's not entirely their fault that they prefer to reward films that feature White themes, or actors, or whatever. I'm Latino, and I think my background informs my work as a critic. I want to see Latinos nominated. If most of AMPAS was Latino, we'd see mostly Latinos nominated. It's the same thing with movies getting made about minorites: there aren't too many minority screenwriters or media executives greenlighting our stories, so they never get made. But that doesn't mean White people are Lucifer and his horsemen. All it means is that until minorities gain in numbers, we will always be outnumbered.

That said, I think what "anonymous' has said is true. It's true about the "Michael Clayton's" the "In the Bedroom's," The LIttle Miss Shitain's (I mean, sunshine), among many others.

Washington was terrific in "The Hurricane."

Anonymous said...

Nathanial; Washington couldn't give a bad performamce on a bet. I thought his performance in American Gangster was easily among his best, but then again, I liked the movie. Subjectivity is is bitch, and so is hyperbole. If you really want to see Washington at his "worst" (relatively speaking), I'd recommend Virtuosity, Heart Condition and Carbon Copy. And he wasn't exactly "bad" in those films, but the movies and screenplays were terrible enough to even make him look uncomfortable.

I thought you were unfairly dismissive of The Great Debaters (without having seen it)in some of your articles. I find that sort of dismissive attitude toward black themed films endemic and almost "insitutional" on blogs like this and various online forums. You claimed to have skipped it because you thought it was this year's "Bobby" and you learned your "lesson" from "trusting" Denzel behind the camera with Antwone Fisher. WTF! I was gobsmacked to read that. Antwone Fisher is no earth shattering masterpiece, but it's a perfectly solid debut feature with a cracking central performance by Derek Luke. You make it sound like Antwone Fisher was Norbit or Big Momma's House, and that Denzel as a director was the spawn of Uwe Boll. If you're writing Washington off as a director completely because of Antwone Fisher, I suspect your tolerance for black themed films that make some attempt to be intelligent and emotionally honest is limited. The Great Debaters is very good movie, and significantly better than Antwone Fisher. It's also about 100 times better directed and acted than Bobby, imho. It's a bit predictable as is the nature of these flicks, but emotionally honest, not too saccharine, and wonderfully acted. You'd know that if you actually made the effort to watch it before deciding it was a piece of shit. Who knows....try watching it. You might be pleasantly surprised. Or you may hate it and decide it's too "earnest" for you. Who knows.

I think you are a touch naive in believing a Hustle And Flow Best Picture nomination would have gone down well with internet types. The most widely derided and hated Oscar win online of that year (aside from Crash) was the Three-Six-Mafia song, "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp", from the film Hustle And Flow. It's not like anyone passionately gave a shit about anyone else winning the Best Song Oscar. They were just offended at the thought of a bunch of black rappers singing about pimps won, even though the song perfectly fit the context of the movie and it's central character (who was, y'know...a pimp).

If the "fans" can get that cheesed off about a song winning for the movie, I'd rather not find out how Hustle And Flow would have been treated had it got the Best Pic nod.

Nate

Bianca said...

I knew I wasn't the only one who thought the Departed wasn't that good. Jack Nicholson mentors Matt Damon's character to put him in jail. WTF?? Since the film is called the Departed everyone dies at the end.WTF. Way too many plot holes.

Everyone is already rooting for the Joker in the Dark Knight. So should we not want to see that one too?

Let's not forget about how outraged the online film community were when Denzel, Halle & Jennifer won Oscars. Calling Jennifer's performance one-note , but are now rooting for Amy Adams one-note performance in Enchanted ( something that Jennifer did before on a Disney Cruise ship). WTF. I don't think Al Pacino deserved to win in 1992, but where was the outrage in that besides the Black community???

People likes what they like, but there is considerable outrage when it comes to Black themed movies or performances by Blacks. I don't think it is necessarily blatant racism, but unintentional racism.

Zee said...

Nate,

I agree with you for the most part, but to be fair many people on some forums have it out for Michael Clayton. Calling it "shitty" "mediocre" among other things.

People ( Online Oscarwatchers) did have it out for AG before it even came out some even saying that "oh this is a gangster flick for Black people"

People had a heartattack when The Great Debaters got a GG nomination and most online bloggers were saying that it was becuase of Oprah. Yet, they barely made a mention of Across the Universe's nomination.....and on top of that The Great Debaters got better reviews.

Yes, there is a double standard, but like anon@11:04 said most of the Online Oscar bloggers, AMPA members and critics are White. They are going to campaign for the films that appeal to them whether it be Juno, The Departed ( many people in the urban crowd that I've encountered didn't even like this film)or Little Miss Sunshine...and let's not mention the majority of films on those AFI lists.

I even see this in future Oscar Predictions for next year. Maybe they don't realize that Benicio del Toro will be in a biopic or that Spike Lee's Miracle@ St. Anna is coming out this year or Viola Davis is in Doubt ( everyone always put Amy Adams down instead of her, but Viola has the better part imo). Maybe they don't realize that Kerry Washington has some movies coming out this year. Maybe they don't look for films that have Black ,Latino or Asian casts or they don't think they are Oscar worthy ( before seeing them).

I definitely can't fault anyone for not wanting to see a movie, because I have no interest in seeing The Diving Bell And the Butterfly or Into the Wild at ALL. I thought the Queen looked boring , but I can't say they were bad because I didn't see them.


Like I keep saying there is a reason for the variety of award shows.

Bryce said...

Stop being nice.lol. Point Blank Oscar bloggers and the people who visit these sites think that the Urban crowd has bad taste in movies and that their (Oscar loggers & co.) taste is high maintenance as someone on another site said “These types of movies appeal to the lowest common denominator” So the fact that a lot of people in the Urban crowd didn’t like the Departed, Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Clayton just confirms this idea. We can’t see the greatness in these films. Here’s another one “Black people eat, sleep and drink Dreamgirls” I know a lot of Black people that didn’t even like Dreamgirls. Fact, if a Black themed movie gets in or a performance by a Black person it is always overrated and undeserved or there are cries of affirmative action (by the online community). Forget about the countless overrated and undeserved Oscars won by Whites. There are people who hated Crash, but these same people went to see In the Valley of Elah. This is why I rarely visit online Oscar sites. The people who visit them ruin it for me.

We better stop before they call the police, because we're attacking them.

Anonymous said...

People had it out for American Gangster before it came out, but they’re so freaking excited about Body of Lies & Public Enemies. Typical

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:16 Am


LOL!

That's so true. I can already see the future now for BODY OF LIES. The online oscarwatchers will be claiming Ridley Scott bounced back from the alleged "disappoinment" of American Gangster, and that he deserves to win his best director Oscar for this. You won't get many people complaining that BOL doesn't deserve oscar consideration because it's a "generic CIA/middle eatern thriller", even though it'll probably resemble a bunch of similar themed films like Syriana or The Kingdom in tone and content (which would probably be pimped for Oscar consideration if Dicaprio had the lead role instead of Foxx). But of course, American Gangster isn't oscar worthy because it's has familiar and "generic" qualities (hardly surprising considering it's a genre movie. Gangster movies are reknowned for breaking new ground) Obviously, Dicaprio will deserve a best actor nod for playing a squinty eyed CIA agent with a trendy goatee, while Crowe will be much better in BOL than he was in American Gangster as well, so it'll be an "outrage" if he's snubbed.

Fuck, that storyline is so predictable, I could write it myself.

As for PUBLIC ENEMIES, expect those who claim to be sqeamish about "gangster" movies and their tendency to "glorify" gangsters (something I appauld American Gangster for not actually doing that much) to got batshit crazy at the sight of Christian Bale and Johnny Depp playing cops and robbers, just like they did for the The Departed. And expect people to claim Depp deserves to win Best Actor for playing John Dillinger , even though I', 99% certain that there is no way Depp will be able to come close to Warren Oates definitive portrayal of John Dillinger in the 1973 film DLLINGER.

Of course, both PUBLIC ENEMIES and BODY OF LIES will be pimped to high heaven by online oscarwatchers as potential masterpieces, months before release.

NATHANIEL R said...

OK guys. the generalizations need to stop.

seriously... if you want to complain about people's tendencies to review things before they see them, you probably shouldn't do it yourself. It's pretty bad for to complain about people ALWAYS doing something and then characterizing people as ALWAYS doing something.

We hear what we want to hear. there's always things to piss everyone off within awards season. If you want to take offense to things, you will. I do myself you know. I see sexism and homophobia like they're big red flashing lights while other people ignore them. You see racism with big red flashing lights and I think... well, AG is just a mediocrity.

you know? we all interpret what we read differently.

but I don't want to be blamed for what other sites are ALREADY predicting for next year's Oscars. LOL.

i don't do that until this year's are over. I mean, jesus, slow down.

and yes, VIOLA DAVIS's role in DOUBT is way better than AMY ADAMS role in DOUBT, provided they are true to the source material. But you never know...

Viola Davis is awesome. Would love to see her tear into that role.

and Nate yeah, I was unfairly dismissive of The Great Debaters, it's true. But I seriously hated ANTWONE FISHER. and not because it was black. gah! Because it was dripping with sentimentality and ridiculously self-aggrandazing. I mean who writes an autobiographical screenplay about what a wonderful person they are? Ugh.

The only great part of that movie was VIOLA DAVIS who did more in 2 minutes than most actors can do in 2 hours.

VIOLA and we've come full circle

Anonymous said...

It's not about "flashing lights" and it's not about "hearing what you want to hear". It's about the way things are, point blank.

I'm neither gay nor a woman, but I am always on guard against homophobia and sexism (and they are as rampant online, as racism imho). It's called being perceptive, and not just being concerned about your own race/sexuality/whatever. I'm not going to patronise women and gays by telling them that that they are imagining things or "it isn't as bad as you think it it. stop being so sensitive". It's there, and it's bad. I'm a straight black male, and I'd be lying if I told you that homophobia and sexism wasn't very prevelant in online hip-hop forums, among black and white males. It's there, and I don't have to be gay to acknowledge it and find it distasteful. I take offense to casual homophobia and sexism because I'm a human being. And I see it all the time. It's not in my remit to not be bothered about it because I'm a black man, and can only be sensitive to black man stuff.

You don't have to be black to realise how consistently black films and performances are regarded as overrated/unworthy/affirmative action choices, among the online oscarwatching "community". But you do need to be perceptive. It's been going on for years, and shows little sign of abating. As someone who has spent several years online oscarwatching and on film forums, I'm saying straight up that racism is persistant among online film communities and oscarwatchers. It's just one of those things

Maybe you are one of those who genuinely think AG is mediocre (though I do remember you having little enthusiam for watching it beforehand, but maybe that's down to your "anti-gangster" thing in general). That doesn't change the fact that it got strong reviews, great box office and has a great "oscary" pedigree behind it. And lots of people in the real world like the movie a lot. In reality, it should be a no-brainer for an Oscar nomination for Best Pic, no matter what your personal feelings about the film are. I thought BABEL and MILLION DOLLAR BABY were both overrated shite, but like numerous films every year that I don't like, they get nominated every year on good reviews and pedigree .People just accept that, and don't lose much sleep over it. American Gangster is the only film this year (aside from The Great Debaters) that I've seen people almost foaming at the mouth at the mere possibility of even getting nominated. I'd understand if some critical bomb with oscar pedigree like ALL THE KINGS MEN or ELIZABETH THE GOLDEN AGE somehow had shots at nominations based on their pedigrees, buyt why is anyone losing any sleep at the thought of American Gangster getting a best picture nod, even if you don't like the film. At worst, it's a typical AMPAS "populist" nominee (good reviews, oscar pedigree cast/crew and made lots of cash). Nothing new there.

It's not easy to seperate racial agendas (conscious or unconscious) with those who wanted to like the film, but genuinely didn't. So maybe your are copping some unfair flack. But the fact that I saw lots of rooting against American Gangster in the online oscarwatching community long before the film was released ("the black gangster film" and "they'll finally be able to stop worshipping Scarface") is enough for me to know that many people weren't going to watch the film with an open mind. C'est La Vie.

Fair enough about Antwone Fisher. But I don't think it was quite as sappy as you, but I take your point. It's not a film I particularly loved either, but I thought it was a decent rental. But I can see why you wouldn't be a fan. I think The Great Debaters is a huge improvement though. It's pretty conventional, but 5 or 10 years ago, it's very much they type of film that would have be favored to win the Best Picture award, though tastes have changed. Washington's directing skills have improved a lot, but I'd like to see him get edgier scripts to work with. His grasp of atmopshere and period with The Great Debaters reminded me of Frank Darabont on The Shawshank Redemption.

Nate

Anonymous said...

"Antwone Fisher" was fine. It didn't deserve ten Oscars or anything, but it was no travesty, and holding that against "The Great Debaters" just b/c you "knew better" than to give it a proper chance is straight up prejudice no matter how you try to spin it to make yourself look better. I loved "American Gangster", so I hate how it's been routinely dismissed by so many white bloggers and critics as a glossy, genre, populist exercise. There's so much worth to it, and for my money, it was well worth the time and effort to see the film, and I'm glad that it was a substantial hit for both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Would I give it best picture or anything? Probably not -- I've seen some doozies lately films wise, but if it's nominated on Tuesday, I'll cheer it on still.

Lily said...

I'm White and I do see what they're saying. They are NOT saying that you can't criticize or dislike a film because Blacks are in it. They're saying that being OUTRAGED over a black-themed film getting a nomination or a Black performer winning when you're not outraged when similar movies with White casts are. I do see this a lot, maybe not on your site, but it is rampant among the online community. Like Zee said people were going batshit crazy when The Great Debaters got a nomination ( most people have not even seen the film). Even over at the andthewinneris blog he said "How much you wanna bet that The Great Debaters came in last" but he didn't have much to say about Across the Universe's nomination which had NO precursers by the critics and The Great Debaters did.

About Body of Lies and Public Enemies, There are plenty people that are extremely excited about these two films, but these same individuals were unfairly dismissive of AG when they heard about that one.

Yes, a lot of people have it out for Michael Clayton, but will there be outrage over it if it gets a nomination?? I bet there will be a heap of outrage over The Great Debaters or AG getting a nomination.


I don't think anyone is trying to say people are racist, but it is more covert racism or unintentional racism than anything else, people don't realize they're doing it, but they are.

There is always some controversy when a Black performer wins,the only exception is Forest Whitaker, but Jennifer Hudson took the heat for that one.

BTW Bianca Critics have called Amy Adams performance one note.lol.

Anonymous said...

American Gangster isn't oscar worthy because it's has familiar and "generic" qualities (hardly surprising considering it's a genre movie. Gangster movies are reknowned

SO TRUE.

Eastern Promises imo is just as generic and breaks no new ground.

Zee said...

I do like your site and I'm not trying to say You're racist or anything, but I'm just giving my opinion on what people may not notice.

I'm not saying your oscar predictions were like that, I was just stating what I see on various blogsites etc.

Like, Nate I'm not oblivious to the homophobia & sexism in both Black and White communities. When I see it on blogs anywhere I call them out on it. Now look at it this way if there was always major outrage whenever a film about gays or a gay performer winning ( Now I do realize there are not many films about gays or not many gay actors winning anything) then what would you think?

Now I am excited for Public Enemies,but I was also excited for AG. BOL -well I'll wait for a trailer.

Anonymous said...

Of course, both PUBLIC ENEMIES and BODY OF LIES will be pimped to high heaven by online oscarwatchers as potential masterpieces, months before release.
-----------------------------------

NO those are already called Revoultionary Road and Austrailia. I have to admit your entire post was funny. Even if you were prematurely judging them.

Bryce said...

You said you don't like Gangster Pics , but if I'm not mistaken isn't Jesse James one of the first gangsters? Were you eager to see that one??

Liz said...

Anon 5:29 hands down for the funniest post ever and I love both Johnny and Leo, but that was funny as hell.

Anonymous said...

Well, Laramy Legel from ropeofsilicon liked AG better than The Departed.

"The Departed isn’t near as good a film as this but as it’s not based on a single character it somehow seems cleaner upon reflection."


Anyway I do remember comments on this site about some of the films mentioned. "I will throwup if AG gets nominated" Not I will be dissapointed or I didn't like AG , but I will throw up.WTF

" I have no iota whatsoever in seeing AG" I'm pretty sure that person saw Eastern Promises and Jesse James.


"How much you want to bet that both The Great Debaters and American Gangster gets in" In regards to the GG.

"The Great Debaters WTF" in regards to the nominations the next day. I bet the person didn't even see The Great Debaters.


I'm pretty sure there would've been more , but some courageous posters called them out on it and it stopped.

"AG will not be a classic or remembered for years to come" and the Departed Will? WTF. Not Remembered by you, but that doesn't mean it won't be remembered by others. Besides I guess you can predict the future.

Somebody else noted about the recent Diversity in the Academy and for sure there will be Blacks nominated. Not that there will be Asians nominated or any other minority , but Blacks nominated ( But of course Asian actors or movies about Asians the few that exist never get the same types of outcry, because they're the model minority).

NATHANIEL R said...

I appreciated that this issue raised such passion and I hear you on perceptions being rooted in realities.

I know that that's true.

I just think it's complicated with movies. Because there are quality issues and perception of quality issues that have zero to do with race but then it looks like they do because race might be a factor in a particular movie.

but i'm sorry about this one ;) I have to get this off my chest:

anon yeah, that eastern promises sure is generic: self-loathing queer mobsters, diary of a dead pregnant girl, nude bathhouse knife fights. god if i see any more of these clichés

ok. end of me being snarky!


i know it's just part of the territory but I wish people cut me a little slack for some of my pre-judgments and understand that I understand that pre-judgments are just that. They're silly. we all have them. They don't represent real opinion but imagined opinions based on previous opinions. But if you wrote about movies every single day, you'd end up writing some unfair snarky things, too.

and I hope y'all at least appreciate that my site is much less this way than others (since I actually usually write about things I'm either excited about or that I have actually seen... most movie blogs spend all their time on movies in production about which they have no other information than their own imagined prejudged opinions and what the PR folks hand them.

Zee said...

It's okay Nathaniel, your site definitely isn't the worst and you're right we all have preconceived notions of films.

Anonymous said...

I have seen many nude knife fight scene specifically in Jail movies so yes that is a cliche.

Nick Davis said...

I'm hearing a lot of these points and appreciate this discussion, and I get that it's important for people to call other people out on their blindspots even/especially when it's uncomfortable to hear. But it's hard not to feel as though Nathaniel and his readers are taking a big hit or at least an unfair proportion of blame for problems that sound much more pervasive on other sites—which I know a lot of us don't even patronize, in part because of those very problems of ignorance and huge generalization. I know nobody's hands are clean, but I come here (and not to RT or IMDb or David Poland or whatever) because the site is so much more ecumenical and characterized by good-faith disagreement than almost any other site around.

So I guess it's the "always"/"everybody"/"nobody" rhetoric in a lot of the above posts that really turns me off, especially when it comes (not exclusively, but often enough) from so many "anonymous" posters that don't seem to be around for the rest of the year, so it's hard to take these arguments as seriously as they deserve (even though, just speaking for myself, I am listening and thinking about what people are saying). I don't mean to speak for Nathaniel, who's already speaking for himself anyway, but to use some of the examples above, he was way more down on A Beautiful Mind than on American Gangster (as were tons of people on this site — find me more than a handful of Beautiful Mind fans around here), he's been plugging for Kerry Washington since 2001, and for Viola Davis since she was a stage actress only (and in a big way since 2002), and Lupe Ontiveros and Tony Leung and Gong Li forever, etc. etc., and he was a big Hustle & Flow supporter. There was all kinds of disagreement among everyone on this site about The Queen and Babel and Little Miss Sunshine and Dreamgirls. He champed Raising Victor Vargas in theaters, so that people wouldn't wait till DVD. He writes up movies like Brother to Brother that I'm sure rarely even cross the widest possible radars of many/most Oscar-focused sites, and rarely get cited in online discussions of "black film" (not nearly as much as the straight-white-guy-produced, straight-white-guy-written, straight-white-guy directed American Gangster). He publicizes more international (and not just European) cinema than almost any site that's as Oscar-invested as his is. Inside Man was a huge hit around here, and I'd argue that it's a way more dexterous, less predictable movie than AG, which I haven't heard anyone "froth at the mouth" about so much as not get that excited about. Cate Blanchett's likely nod for E:TGA: there's some frothing.

And yes, AG handles hugely important themes (as Ryan Adams, among others, is at pains to point out), but "important themes" don't always make for a great movie. Otherwise, we'd all be cheering stuff like Rendition and Lions for Lambs, and who among any of the commenters on this blog is doing that? I think AG is edited a little more rigorously and shot a little more carefully than Ridley Scott's last few movies, but let's think about those: I mean, A Good Year? Kingdom of Heaven? Matchstick Men? Black Hawk Down, which had its technical virtues, but was also racist as all get-out? Is it any wonder that after a run like that, there are weekly filmgoers who are suddenly not looking forward to "the new Ridley Scott movie" as much as they might have been when he was coming off Alien and Blade Runner? Does American Gangster really get across a whole heck of a lot about the kingpin-as-antihero that New Jack City didn't already put out there in 1991, when Oscar didn't even think about Wesley Snipes' incredible performance or the editing or the cinematography (both of which AG duplicates here and there), because it wasn't a big expensive movie produced by Brian Grazer and directed by Ridley Scott and sold as "prestige"? (No, Snipes lost out, along with the whole amazing ensemble of Boyz N the Hood and Samuel L. Jackson in Jungle Fever, so that Nick Nolte could get nomm'd for crying on Barbra Streisand's shoulder, and Robin Williams for being Kooky, and Tommy Lee Jones for reviving lots of hateful "Southern Faggot" stereotypes in JFK, and Jessica Tandy for being an old wise-ass, and Jack Palance for being an old wise-ass in a Billy Crystal movie. So yeah, I definitely get Academy racism.)

I'm not trying to neutralize the sharp and passionate points that have been made, but the minute I start hearing that "every Oscar blog" or "the internet community" only ever delivers one message, or that XYZ film got a "free pass from everybody," or that there's only one "factual" motivation for not wanting to see a certain movie or not loving it once you have seen it, I'm as put off and inclined to disbelieve as it sounds like a lot of these posters are when they start hearing praise for Amy Adams or Michael Clayton or The Queen (which, incidentally, I kinda liked, kinda liked, and didn't really like).

Sorry to rant. Not trying to "win." Don't see this as a fight. Great points about everyone making snap judgments about movies we haven't always seen, or all of us occasionally going for the quick zinger or instantaneous brain-fart instead of the fairest, most fully formed thought. Sorry if I sound defensive (and Nathaniel, I'm really not trying to speak for you.) But I did need to say all that.

NATHANIEL R said...

nick is it wrong that I started to check out when you got to Viola Davis. Is it too much to ask that Viola rewards me for my fandom somehow after all these years. Maybe an interview?

visions of Viola are dancing in my head

anon you've seen tons of nude fight scenes in movies. Please do send me the titles ha ha. gotta rent those. ;)

Kamikaze Camel said...

I do think a lot of black people have terrible taste in movies, but plenty more white people have taste that's just as bad or worse. I mean - jesus christ - how did Alvin and the Chipmunks get to $200mil? It's not racist to say I'm predesposed to hating Who's Your Caddy or whatever Tyler Perry is bringing out, but some people seem to think it is. I'm predesposed to hating anything Adam Sandler brings out too, but I'm not racist towards white people. Am I? I don't think I've ever liked Rob Schneider, but I'm not an antisemite.

Geez.

And the "reverse racism" comment earlier was about that not about anything to do with Hairspray or whatever.

People of whatever race will get offended due to what they see as a racist comment, and yet they will then turn around say racist comments to other people. It's like, you don't get a free pass to be racist towards me or Nat or anyone else. Nat didn't like Antwone Fisher! Big woopdeedoo! He also didn't like Date Movie, The Covenent, 300, Another Gay Movie, My Super-Ex Girlfriend, Lady in the Water, V For Vendetta, John Tucker Must Die, etc...

Does that mean he's being discrimintory against people who wear masks? Or against female super heroes? Hardly.

And for the record, there are plenty of white-focused movies that the Academy has passed over. If they pass over The Great Debaters today I'm sure it'll be because they didn't like it and not because they're evil racists. The Emperor's Club was ignored several years back too. How wrong was that? :/

It's all such a tricky subject, but if people are going to demonise me or others who I know haven't done anything wrong, then I think i'm justified in defending myself.

Sorry to bring you into it Nat, but you are the central focus here.

Michael said...

Someone said that these days looking forward to the new Ridley Scott films is harder than it was after ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER. Sure. But it's a lot easier than when his last few films were WHITE SQUALL, GI JANE and 1492.

(I actually think KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, MATCHSTICK MEN and BLACK HAWK DOWN are all pretty good. They haven't been enough to get me to see AMERICAN GANGSTER or A GOOD YEAR at the cinema, but I'll check out his next film with Russell Crowe and Leo for sure.)

- The Opinionated Australia

Zee said...

Well, Nick, as you can see I DID say that Nathaniel's site wasn't the worst. Yes, most of MY complaints are about other sites...but people do visit these (throughout the year) sites often and do not post. I do realize that he is a fan of Kerry Washington & Viola Davis. BTW Kerry is replacing Naomi Campbell in Spike Lee's Miracle@St. Anna.

Not to be mean, but your comment started the whole discussion. So the conversation & issue was brought up here and no one said that the entire conversation was about Nathaniel's blog & readers. Like I said before I really like Nathaniel's blog ( Have been reading it for about 3 years now).When people refer to the online oscarwatching community, I'm pretty sure they don't mean every single soul in the community.

Yes there are outcrys over some other movies and performances, but IMHO no where near as much as the Black-themed movies and Black actors/actresses, but let's not rehash that topic.



Nathaniel, well I don't know about anon,but I can think of two. American History X, but it wasn't really a fight scene and Get Rich & Die Tryin ( I didn't really like this movie). Terrance Howard has a knife fight in the shower with a bunch of other men.

Zee said...

Kamikazee Camel,

I'm sorry but your comment makes absolutely no sense to what we were talking about. Maybe you should read what we were saying again. Nick made a lot more sense or understood what we were saying
___________________________________
And for the record, there are plenty of white-focused movies that the Academy has passed over. If they pass over The Great Debaters today I'm sure it'll be because they didn't like it and not because they're evil racists. The Emperor's Club was ignored several years back too. How wrong was that? :/
___________________________________

Um, I just said the exact same thing to you earlier in the thread.

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People of whatever race will get offended due to what they see as a racist comment, and yet they will then turn around say racist comments to other people. It's like, you don't get a free pass to be racist towards me or Nat or anyone else. Nat didn't like Antwone Fisher! Big woopdeedoo! He also didn't like Date Movie, The Covenent, 300, Another Gay Movie, My Super-Ex Girlfriend, Lady in the Water, V For Vendetta, John Tucker Must Die, etc...

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Um who said anything about making blatant racist comments, it's the OUTRAGE over a certain type of film being nominated or certain people winning. Has nothing to do with racist comments ( although they may sometimes occur when this happens)it's called covert or unintentional racism. And who made a racist comment towards Nathaniel???

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I do think a lot of black people have terrible taste in movies, but plenty more white people have taste that's just as bad or worse. I mean - jesus christ - how did Alvin and the Chipmunks get to $200mil? It's not racist to say I'm predesposed to hating Who's Your Caddy or whatever Tyler Perry is bringing out, but some people seem to think it is. I'm predesposed to hating anything Adam Sandler brings out too, but I'm not racist towards white people. Am I? I don't think I've ever liked Rob Schneider, but I'm not an antisemite.
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Um did I say it was?? Nope don't think so
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People of whatever race will get offended due to what they see as a racist comment, and yet they will then turn around say racist comments to other people. It's like, you don't get a free pass to be racist towards me or Nat or anyone else. Nat didn't like Antwone Fisher! Big woopdeedoo! He also didn't like Date Movie, The Covenent, 300, Another Gay Movie, My Super-Ex Girlfriend, Lady in the Water, V For Vendetta, John Tucker Must Die, etc...

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AGAIN who is talking about RACIST comments? It's not about whether you like a film with Blacks in it or not, I personally could care less, but having a HUGE amount of OUTrage when one is nominated and you don't have a HUGE amount of outrage when a White film you don't like is nominated and it is called double standards.

It doesn't matter what you were talking about, but there's no such thing as reverse racism.

Bryce said...

Kamikazee Camel

Did you even read the comments or did you just gloss through them? Or even attempted to understand what were talking about. Like Zee said who said anything about racist comments? Who said the Academy was racist ( although some might be)?

Anonymous said...

I actually thought that this was a good discussion, but I guess if people don't try to understand what the issue is at hand. Things will never change. Kamikaze if you read the comments and took the time understand what the real issue was, maybe your response would then apply to their responses, but it doesn't because its apparent that you don't have a CLUE as to what they are talking about.

Leslie said...

If the Academy doesn't nominate American Gangster or The Great Debaters or Hairspray are they racist ( well maybe about 15 years ago)? I'm sorry I just don't buy the whole reverse racism thing, there's no such thing. Racism is Racism whether it's towards Blacks , Whites etc.
-by Zee

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Um yeah, Kamikazee try reading. The people who typed in comments from others or from this site are just showing the responses of outrage or unenthusiasm about certain films, no one said they were racist comments.

The only racist comments I saw were the ones that Bryce wrote, but they were examples of him saying that people ( oscarbloggers & co)think Black people have bad tastes. Apparently like you, some of them do think that :-).

I agree with Zee who made a racist comment towards Nathaniel? I must've missed that one.

Anonymous said...

Kamikazee Camel response is typical of some online bloggers reponses. We're just playing the race card. You can't talk about or criticize a Black movie , but we can talk about or criticize White movies( Of course NO ONE said this, but this is what you think they said). Of course the Academy is racist when it doesn't nominate a Black person or a Black film ( again no one said this, but this is what you thought they said).

White people HAVE to like Black films or they will be seen as racists ( of course NO ONE said this, but this is what you thought they said, if you were refering to Nate about the Antwone Fisher movie then respond to HIM).


We're racist because we don't want to see a Tyler Perry movie ( I have no idea where you got that idea from, but you are racist if you completely hate the thought of seeing ANY type of movie that features Blacks) Maybe you got it from the conversation about people trying to bring down American Gangster before it even came out, when these same people are oh so excited about Public Enemies which has a similar formula. Then again YOU completely missed the boat on that one.

I honestly think the most covert racist thing that was said in this entire thread was your entire response. Because it shows that you didn't think about what they were saying, you just got all defensive.


AJ- Oh and this issue was brought up on other blogs.

Anonymous said...

This thread makes me glad I'm not American.

Someone having a different opinion on a movie from you does *not* make them racist.

Lots of people thought American Gangster was mediocre. Lots of people thought American Gangster was great. Now let me gaze into my crystal ball...

Oh look! Some people will think Body of Lies is mediocre. Some people will think that Body of Lies is great.

People will have diferent opinions about a film, no matter the subject or the colour of skin involved. Funny that.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:40

AND YOU clearly didn't read anything either, because no one said that.



AJ

Anonymous said...

"I have seen many nude knife fight scene specifically in Jail movies so yes that is a cliche."

Can you please list these films? I want to see them all.

Anonymous said...

Borat
Casino Royale
Get Rich or Die Tryin
American History X


So, yes nothing new.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe you got it from the conversation about people trying to bring down American Gangster before it even came out, when these same people are oh so excited about Public Enemies which has a similar formula."

American Gangster is a Ridley Scott film. Public Enemies is a Michael Mann film. Did it never occur to you that people would be more excited about a Michael Mann film, between the two?

The same goes for people who were comparing AG to The Departed. Dude, one is a SCORSESE film. That's going to make the difference. You're amongst film lovers. Directors are going to play a part more than content.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall Borat and Casino Royale being either Jail/Gangster movies or having nude knife fight scene in them.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:49

Well people are all over Body of Lies, which has the exact same director. Explain that one??

It doesn't matter if it is a Scorsese film some people liked it and some don't. Just because Scorsese makes a film it automatically makes it better?
It's all subjective.


P.S. I've been among film people for years.
AJ

Keyshia said...

Maybe if everyone would stop trying to defend themselves and actually LISTEN to the song in each and every one of your hearts maybe you would understand what everyone is saying.

PUMPs up Beyonce's "Listen"

Nick Davis said...

@Zee: Totally understood (I don't think you're "being mean" at all!), and I should have been clearer that your comments weren't the ones that were rubbing me the wrong way. I felt that some of the anonymous comments were pot-shots and that they involved some pretty huge generalizations, but I see those as really different comments than what you and Nate and some others were putting out there (even though I know none of us agree on all points). I do actually enjoy being pushed to reconsider my own perspective, and that is exactly what I was hoping would happen when I asked to hear some stronger defenses for American Gangster (i.e. "the comment that started it all"). So in a sense, I at least got exactly what I asked for. What I'm hearing is that a lot of AG fans think it's at least as well-made as lots of other BP nominees of the recent past and has the advantage of presenting important themes and maybe an overlooked chapter in urban history (and no, that is not a euphemism for "black" history) in a way that's highly relevant now. I still feel that the execution of the movie isn't up to the potential in its story and that Scott really drops the ball with some of the technical stuff, and I still feel that Denzel kind of sleeps through it (different strokes) but yes, I do feel exactly the same way about some recent BP nominees like The Queen and Good Night, and Good Luck.

I'm still surprised and maybe a little humbled that it's hard to voice misgivings about American Gangster without being seen as making an insensitive comment or inhabiting a really narrow white-boy-Oscar-blogger viewpoint on films (or at least on films made outside the white upper & middle class framework that is so predominant in Hollywood). Again, I'm not saying everybody took the comment exactly that way or to the same degree, but I get that it's anybody's right to hear it that way if they're so inclined. And I can see why the comment was taken that way by people who really see a pattern in how different movies are perceived and contextualized. I'd still maintain that my qualms about AG, before and after I saw it, weren't about racial or market bias, but it's helped to hold a mirror up and really think about where I was coming from, and to differentiate productive criticism from the knee-jerk responses I was trying to write against in the last post.

Anyway, I've blathered enough, but I just wanted to clear that up with you, Zee, because I really wasn't trying to take a swipe at you or not seem like I was internalizing your critique. (And unwittingly or not, you and some others have certainly convinced me to keep avoiding the sites I was already avoiding. "They'll finally be able to stop worshipping Scarface"?? Jesus!! And I'd never even heard of Body of Lies or Public Enemies, so count me out on those arguments.)

Anonymous said...

kamikazee Camel; Seriously, did you even read most of what was written?

You can dislike any film you want. And so can Nathaniel. Nobody is saying that you have to like a movie becuase it features black people and black themes. I'm black, and I dislike plenty of black themed films. Guess I must be racist against myself.

The main point being discussed is the level of shall we say...outrage and vitriol directed and black film and performers who either win oscars, or are in contention for Best Picture. It often seems dispropotionately excessive, and it happens to almost all of them. And the feeling is that a lot of white themed films and performances that many people might find subjectively average or mediocre, are just "accepted" as nominees and winners, with much less "outrage" and online demonstrations of disgust. Go to the IMDB message board of any black Academy Award winner right after they win, and you'd know exactly what I was talking about (Jennifer Hudson's board was pretty much the hangout for the Ku-Klux Klan after her win, as was Jamie Foxx. And these weren't "subtle" racists either). But mostly, we're discussing the sort of covert or unintentional racist attitudes, that some people may not even realise they are perpetuating. If you don't want to acknowledge this is a problem or an issue, more power to you. But I think most of us are capable of having a civil and respectable discourse on such a serious and often taboo conversation subject.

I thought Nathnial was unfairly dismissive of The Great Debaters, because he hadn't seen it. I thought his reasoning (that he didn't trust Denzel as a director, based on his first flick) was shakey at best, since by general critical consensus, while not neccesarily a brilliant film, Antwone Fisher was a strong and capable debut feature. It's not a film I imagine most people found to be some sort of travesty against cinema. It's at least regarded as a compently put together film. I'd think the same thing if someone completely dismissed Into The Wild as not worth watching, on the basis of Sean Penn's earlier films (ie The Crossing Guard and The Pledge). I haven't liked any of Penn's previous films, but there is no way I'd think it reasonable consider him such and incompetent and poor director, that no film he ever made in future was worth taking an effort over. Directors like Penn and Washington tend to start out competently, and improve with better scripts and material.Questioning Nathaniel's contempt for Washington's direction of Antwone Fisher isn't really a "race" thing, so much as it's a legitimate movie query, since most critics did not find the film to be poorly directed or acted. For me personally, as a director you have to be much worse than Antwone Fisher/The Crossing Guard, to warrant complete disregard in future endeavours. If I held Splash, Cocoon, Willow and Far And Away against Ron Howard (his early, and pretty lame films, but not unforgivably bad in most cases), I'd never have bothered watching him improve on better material like Apollo 13.

Anyway, Nathanial gave a perfectly reasonable explaination as to why he hated the film (self-regarding script written by the title character, overly sentimental tone ect) and I saw his points. There are many solidly directed and acted films that I myself might dislike for similar reasons. And I told Nathaniel that his explaination worked fine for me.So, racist tragedy averted.

Anyway, I don't think AMPAS would be racist for not nominating The Great Debaters. It came out pretty late in the season to gain real momentum and traction, and it's a loaded best picture field this year. Lots of films to choose from and all that.

What I did find racially suspect was the level of hatred and outrage online when The Great Debaters recieved a Golden Globe nomination. This was a film almost nobody had actually seen, but was recieving strong early reviews and had actually won a precusor or two. People had decided that Oprah had bought the film a nomination.

Yet Across The Universe, a film few people care about or particularly rate at all in terms of awards season, gets a Globe nomination for Best Picture, and it slides by without much comment or outrage.

One is a black film. The other isn't. I find the response to both films getting nominated to be highly questionable.

Nate

Anonymous said...

As we speak, and the oscar nominations have just been announced, I'm reading a lovely little thread on the Internet Movie Database Oscar buzz forum, entitled "Why did they have to nominate Ruby Dee?"

A few posters smartly guessed that Dee's " highly respected, but never nominated sentimental veteran" status helped her get nodded(not to mention her SAG nod, and buzz she's had all season), but the thread quickly detriorated into a bunch of posters claiming; "affimative action nomination", "she got nominated because she's black", "they have to have at least one every year", "they had to nominate her so Sharpton and Jesse Jackson didn't come calling".

The fact that people aren't ashamed to be saying these things on public forums, indicates the neccesity of this discussion.It took all of 5 seconds after the nominations were announced, for people to zoom in on the only black nominee as an "affirmative action" nomination.

This is how many of these people think, instinctively. To them, almost every black nominee/winner is an affirmative action quota, and not deserved. If you aren't one of these people, and don't think like that, then you have nothing to be worried about. But these people do exist, in disturbingly large numbers, and it's worth discussing.

Nate

Zee said...

Well, to be honest Nate, most of the imdb posters are shitheads. I was mainly referring to the oscarbloggers and readers ( I realize that this does include some of the imdb posters) who I think would know better.

steve said...

Anon 11:59,

There are no nude knife fights in either Borat, Casino Royale, or American History X (I haven't seen Get Rich or Die Tryin'). Wrestling-for-laughs, torture, and rape are different things. Sure, there's nudity, and it's all about male aggression, but where's the cliche? Just because something isn't revolutionary doesn't mean it's cliched.

Did you really watch that scene in Eastern Promises and think, "Oh, man, another one of these? I know exactly where this is going!"

Anonymous said...

The scene in Get Rich or Die Tryin was very similar to the scene in Eastern Promises. So I can understand where that was coming from, but I didn't think it was generic just wasn't that good.

NATHANIEL R said...

i'll second the comment that Nick made that this comment thread has made me glad that I don't frequent these places you are all talking about. I rarely go to the IMDB boards because it's always always shit talking in there.

like when i expressed concerned about johnny depp's singing in sweeney todd (i saw scenes earlier than the general public) i was suddenly regarded as a

"hater of musicals"

HEE

which would give anyone who reads the film experience a good laugh if it weren't so pathetic an example of how quick people are to talking out of their ass on the internet while not bothering to really read ANYTHING in context before they're already spewing vitriol at other people

anyway...

i had never heard of PUBLIC ENEMY (is that a remake of the Cagney film?) or BODY OF LIES either before this thread started

Zee said...

Body of Lies is the next Ridley Scott film and it stars Russell Crowe and Leonardo Dicaprio. It will be out this year.It's about the CIA.

Public Enemies is the next Michael Mann film that stars Christian Bale as a cop and Johnny Depp as John Dilinger, I think it will come out next year.

I didn't take it as a personal dig? Nick BTW.