Friday, December 19, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Texas Critics

Perhaps you've noticed that I haven't posted the results of several film critics awards the second they've come in. It's because there are too many. But I finalized info on my Oscar pages this morning. Texas was the latest thorn in my side. I ask the following in all sincerity: Are there really enough film critics working in the State of Texas to justify three separate critics organizations: Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and Houston each with their own? Should all these laid off film critics you keep hearing about be relocating to the Lone Star State?

What's worse is that these three Texan entities don't have different aesthetics. Oh sure there are disagreements in Best Picture: Dallas (Slumdog), Houston (Benjamin Button), Austin (The Dark Knight). Yet all three of them agree on Heath Ledger as Supporting Actor (The Dark Knight) and Anne Hathaway as Best Actress (Rachel Getting Married). In other categories they have 2/3 agreement. Why not just form one Supersize Texas Association of Critics (STAC) or somesuch? Wouldn't their opinions have slightly more weight that way?

Here in NYC, the publishing capital, we only have 2 film critics organizations that claim a "place" in their title (NYFCC and NYFCO). If in New York, where you can't throw a bagel without hitting a critic, we can only justify 2...

I'm glad New York keeps it simple. Could you imagine? The Bronx Film Critics Association (BFCA -wait that acronym is in use), the Greater Association of Long Island Critics (GALIC), The Upper West Side Film Critics Association (UWSFCA). The Upper West Side Film Critics Association Online (UWSFCAO) Staten Island Critics Circle Organization (SICCO), Washington Heights Hispanic Association of Critics (WHHAC), East Village Association of Critics (EVAC). I mean where does it end? Central Harlem Online Independent Critics Everlasting (CHOICE), Freelancers Union Critics Kircle (FUCK). Exactly!

Madness.

Do you think Houston thinks they can kick Dallas/Ft. Worth's ass? You know Austin thinks itself a total hipster and above the fray. Which it kinda is... but still. It's not like Austin's choices truly rocked the fringes. For that you have to go to Toronto -- Wendy & Lucy as Best Pic. Rachel Getting Married in three categories... Woot!

And while we're filling in the blanks, there's also Phoenix which honored Benjamin Button and Las Vegas which went with Frost/Nixon and not just in Best Picture. All over the place it won. That's its first (and probably last) win for Best Picture. But at least it ain't Frontrunner Millionaire. On a more humorous note, despite the Slumdog SAG ensemble nomination (grrr - a prize for the casting directors ability to find cute children?) the cast is still unknown to many. Over @ MovieWeb for example, they think the great male actor Irffan Khan is actually the pretty if blank female star Freida Pinto and they also think that Frieda Pinto is Frieda Pinto while she is simultaneously Mia Drake. Oops.

In other news... Utah joins Austin in lauding The Dark Knight as Best Picture (with Rachel Getting Married as runner up? Interesting if inconsequential... it's really too bad Rachel has been faring so poorly outside of Anne Hathaway. But history will be kind to it long past the Frost/Nixons). They give director to Pixar's Andrew Stanton for WALL•E. They went totally populist.


updated Oscar pages
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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW! I CAN SEE ANNE HATHAWAY GETTING MORE AND MORE ATTENTION EVERYDAY, SHE IS CLEARLY THE RUNNER UP...IF NOT THE FRONTRUNNER

E Dot said...

I have a problem. I'm a huge advocate for 'Slumdog'. I saw the film, I gushed over it, I loved it, and I promoted it to everyone I know (the PR office should cut me a check). However, I'm slightly irritated that it's getting annoyingly overhyped. Why do you think that is? I need a cinematic psychiatrist....

Maybe I'm angry that 'Milk' isn't getting the attention it deserves? Maybe 'Slumdog' didn't affect me like I initially thought? Maybe it's because the Oscar race for Best Picture has suddenly become dull?

Whatever the reason, I don't like it.

Kevin D. said...

Quick question, without having seen "Slumdog..." yet, is it really all that oscary? It didn't look it from thr trailer. I'd all but written it off months ago until all the critic's hype happened.

NATHANIEL R said...

it's not traditionally Oscary other than that it's "inspiring" and they're suckers for "triumph of the human spirit" narratives. Plus it stars cute foreign kids --they love that for Best Foreign Film ;)

the strange thing --that Nick talks about in the comment du jour sidebar -- is that people seem to find it so "cute" and "warm" and whatnot when it reality it's quite sickening for a good portion of the running time. But after Braveheart and No Country and The Departed and whatnot the Academy doesn't seem to mind extreme violence in their favorites

Robert said...

I know what you mean E Dot. Once a movie becomes an Oscar winner (or nominee for that matter) it can really only disappoint. So much of our reaction to movies are tied to expectation.

I think of Gladiator which I saw when it was released, expecting mindless action and was pleasantly surprised to find it well acted and competently made. Didn't deserve the Oscar of course, but I still like it. But I understand how those who saw it after it was declared Best Picture can think it's absolute crap.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that happened with Slumdog this year.

Cengiz said...

Hey Nathaniel. Wanted to let you know that Jonathan Nolan was nominated for an Oscar. It was for Memento (awesome movie). I noticed it said "Never Nominated" in under your screenplay predix. Just wanted to let you know.

john said...

Love those pictures Nathaniel!

adam k. said...

Hey Nat, don't forget about the violence in Gladiator. And ROTK, if that counts. Hey, M$B was all about women beating the shit out each other in the boxing ring.

It's actually tough to find best picture winners that AREN'T super-violent.

Bailey said...

Am I the other one tired of hearing about this stupid Benjamin Button movie?

I liked the plot better when it was on Mork & Mindy, sans Brad. Ugh.

Hayden said...

I'm so happy for Annie. <3

Sean P. Means said...

Utah critics "went totally populist"?

How is voting for Mickey Rourke and Melissa Leo for lead-acting honors populist? (And, yes, I'm a Utah movie critic.)

NATHANIEL R said...

well dark knight & wall3 for pic/dir. that's as populist as movie awards get. But i'll give you Leo & Rourke ;)

and who said i meant it as an insult?

mrripley said...

who is the actress fontrunner i just don't know!!!!! they all have puluses and minuses - no one is clearly leading the field like years past for example mirren or witherspoon,i like it but it is a little odd.

RJ said...

DFW is a major metropolitan area. Houston can suck it.

NATHANIEL R said...

rj i take it your a texas man?

my first bf ever lives in Dallas but I don't get Texas. Last time I was there it was on a flight layover and I got scared because I was standing next to about 40 evangelists in matching yellow t-shirts.