Sunday, February 25, 2007


Well, after last night's passionate post on why Babel was sure to win Most Picture, I'm setting down to a taste dessert of crow pie. However, as readers of that post also know, if I have to be wrong, this is the kind of wrong I like.

When Marty Scorsese said that this was the first movie he ever made with a plot, he was dead right, and tonight Hollywood rewarded him for it. The Departed was the only big industry movie nominated for Best Picture, and it had enough of a Scorsese edge to make it more than just boffo box office. Those movies don't win without perceived depth, per BP losses by Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. So that may have taken it over the top.

Also, while the advertising was anything but overt or gauche, word is that The Departed had the largest Oscar ad campaign budget by far. To top it off, per last year's post about the power of the DVD screener in the Oscar results, unlike with Crash I don't think voters saw The Departed on DVD for the first time. I think they saw it in the theater with everyone else, but then watched the movie a second or third time on their screener, reliving the pleasure of the movie with undiminished returns.

For me the greatest joy of the night was watching Marty come onstage to accept the Best Director award from his friends since 1970, including Steven Spielberg at arguably the top of his artistic game, Francis Coppola back in the directing business, and George Lucas having completed his Star Wars mission.

The four top Hollywood filmmakers of their generation, all independents within the system in their own way, the Mount Rushmore of American cinema.

For tonight, wrong is right.


Gus said...

"Steven Spielberg at arguably the top of his artistic game"

Yeah. You're gonna have to argue this one for me.

swainchampagne said...

The whole thing was a big helping of snore pie with yawn sauce! So Marty won...was it really the best picture? No. Why does everyone look back at a career and not at the performance. Wasn't it a give away when those 3 has-beens came out that Marty was going to get it? Where was Ang Lee?

And how did Jennifer what's her name win over Cate Blanchett? It was almost embarassing for the industry...they'd rather vote for an actress because they couldn't take the wrath from their CHILDREN for not voting for her.

Ellen?...about as entertaining as a house plant.

Mark Netter said...

Nothing like post-Oscar vitriol!

To Gus, I'm a big fan of Munich and Catch Me If You Can, as well as the alien attack scenes in War of the Worlds (which I believe was Spielberg's bringing the U.S. "death from above" in Iraq to American moviegoers just as 70's horror films brought the horrors of Vietnam to screens back then). He's not just making new Indy's, he's taking new risks with content that similarly successful filmmakers don't even try.

As for Swainchampagne, I'm wondering what you felt was the better best picture? And just wondering if you saw both Dreamgirls and Notes on a Scandal -- I didn't see the latter, although Cate had been rewarded as a Supporting Actress two years ago for The Aviator, and her next win if there is one should be a full-on Best Actress, IMHO.

I also thought Ellen was fine, more Carson than Stewart or Rock, very funny on America voting for Al Gore. The biggest problem with the show always seems to be one too many montages, two too many musical numbers, and always a crazy costume piece.

And judging by Oscar history, Best Supporting Actor is very often given to a well-loved, overdue industry veteran, while Best Supporting Actress very often goes to a female newcomer. You may not agree with those choices, but that's the way the Oscars work. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

Yow! This is a tough room.

Mark Netter said...