Thursday, December 30, 2010


Every year, the same old drill.  Rules, either seemingly abstract or utterly invented, come into play to damper into certain film's eligibility in certain categories.  The first cause of this rant comes in the form of the Writers Guild of America, who will announce their nominations next week.  Year after year the WGA disqualifies films because they don't comply with the rules of their organization-- screenplays written by non-members or non-affiliates.  This years unacceptable include:
  • The King's Speech
  • Toy Story 3
  • Winter's Bone
  • Blue Valentine
  • Another Year
  • The Ghost Writer
  • Nowhere Boy
  • The Way Back
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Love & Other Drugs
  • Made in Dagenham
  • Green Zone
  • Biutiful
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • How to Train Your Dragon
That's a lot of movies right off the bat out of running.  Some, like The King's Speech and Toy Story 3, need not worry, Oscar will have their backs-- The King's Speech is likely far and away the frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay.  Others, like smaller, richer, less lavishly lauded films-- like The Ghost Writer, Winter's Bone and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, or Blue Valentine, which has had little precursor love as of late-- could have used WGA nominations to build up steam for actual Oscar nominations.  Those two in particular would be awesome if Academy-approved.  I get that rules are rules, but this feels discriminatory-- why shame good films because their writers aren't members of your guild; seems unfair and unjust.  For a little backstory, no film has won a writing Oscar without a corresponding WGA nomination since 2002-- Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her, and no film has won Best Picture without a WGA nomination since 2000-- Gladiator.  Makes me kind of sad to think of an awards body (just like a constitutional amendment) limiting the possibility of a film-- should not all films be treated equally.

The next tangent is perhaps more complex and has do with the music department of the Academy.  Recently a decision was made to bar the original musical scores of True Grit, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan from Oscar nominations.  The rules of such, I think, are highly suspect and perhaps reason enough for the Academy to end music-driven Oscars altogether-- they clearly have little eye (or ear) for it, and suck at it (here's my own bitterness coming out after they ignored Bruce Springsteen's great song for The Wrestler in 2008.)  The Fighter and The Kids Are All Right were deemed ineligible because there were too many pop songs intermingled with original music (kind of like the 2006 Oscar winning score to Babel?!)  True Grit and Black Swan were disqualified because their original scores were deemed to dependent on other sources (Grit was influenced and intermingled with hymnals and Swan was infused with Tchaikovsky.)  Of course, a greater question is asked, why wouldn't a film like True Grit feature music inspired by 19th century hymnals, feels fairly appropriate, and how could one do a revisionist take on Swan Lake without some of the composer's inspiring music?  Does that take away from the memorable music originally and creatively composed by Carter Burwell and Clint Mansell, respectively?  It all harkens back to the sad Oscar season day when Jonny Greenwood's interesting and volcanic music for 2007's There Will Be Blood was omitted for the same reasons.  I suppose I beg, or at the very least, kindly ask the members of the Academy, as a loyal and humble servant, why this insanity continues.  Enough with the rules-- I get it, you like what you like and will continue to honor the violin-soaked sad scoring that who've honored in the past, as well as the ballast-prone John Williams-like melodies, but stop with the omissions.  Nominate what you would like, but acknowledge more out there before totally shutting them down!  Either that, or please leave music to the Grammys!

My favorites scores of 2010:
  • Black Swan
  • The Ghost Writer
  • I Am Love
  • Inception (probable Oscar favorite)
  • Rabbit Hole
  • The Social Network
  • Somewhere
  • True Grit
 Tangent completed...

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