And you keep trotting out this lame defense. Fact is the Academy loves movies about the performing arts. Recent nominees fitting this description include:
Shakespeare in Love
Then there are the movies with movie industry subplots:
Movies set in California:
There Will Be Blood
The Kids Are All Right
So yeah, there is more than a grain of truth in the “Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood” idea.
You guys are talking past each other. To say that many “movies about the performing arts” have been Oscar nominees is not to contradict the claim that The Artist is the first “movie about movies” to win a Best Picture Oscar.
If being a movie about movies is the real reason that The Artist got Best Picture, then why didn’t any previous movie about movies get one?
So nope, not a lame defense. Hollywood may (not surprisingly) be narcissistic enough to find movies about movies especially fascinating, but that doesn’t explain why they waited until 2012 to hand the Best Picture Oscar to one of them.
“Movies” and “The Performing Arts” are not the same thing. Films about the theater have fared far better than Movies about movies, but it was the latter that was specifically cited for the reason behind the win.
Essentially, Spoke named a ton of movies that were nominated but lost the Big Prize–typically, to something from a different genre (war, domestic drama, biopic, etc) that takes place in a more common, non-California setting. When it comes to nominations and technical/“craft” awards, there has been some recognition–I’ve never denied that. But the fact remains that when it comes to Best Picture, The Artist is an outlier and not a “typical” win for the genre.
And saying that The Artist is the first “movie about movies” to win Best Picture doesn’t contradict the truism that Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood. For example, it’s not hard to see how Shakespeare in Love would tickle industry types without being specifically “about movies.” (Although actually, there were plenty of movie industry jokes in that movie. “The bill, not the billing!” “Give the actors a percentage of the profits.” “But there are never any profits…”)
Thanks, Alka Seltzer and the others who edified me about what I was missing in the movie. This is what I was looking for. While I’m still not overwhelmed, I am enlightened.
I have not read any blogs about Weinstein. Some years ago, I read some articles about him, including one in Newsweek. The man is very, very good and very, very aggressive in campaigning for Miramax films to get Oscars. The Newsweek article basically made the same point as the recent piece in The Hollywood Reporter: "Harvey Weinstein’s push for Shakespeare in Love – which beat Saving Private Ryan in a stunning upset – forever changed the Oscars…“Harvey Weinstein’s push for Shakespeare in Love – which beat Saving Private Ryan in a stunning upset – forever changed the Oscars, bringing a new ferocity to the race…” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-ratings-billy-crystal-academy-awards-290132
You didn’t step on my toes, while I loved The Artist and was thrilled that such an offbeat weirdo subversive movie won, I was rooting for Hugo to win, plus I agree that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which wasn’t nominated, should have won. It’s just that Weinstein is to (some) Oscar bloggers as Michael Moore is to simple-minded teabaggers: they do much good, and get villified for it. It’s silly and tiresome. He’s like the boogeyman, invoke his name/legacy and people make the sign of the cross and hang up garlic.
What’s even sillier is that people only go nuts if they happened to like another movie more, such as The Social Network (which I also think should have won Best Picture) over The King’s Speech (which I thought was wonderful and the hate for it is over-the-top stupid). If it’s a movie they like and want to see win, then he’s great at what he does. Next year, if he gets Quentin Tarantino’s movie Django Unchained or Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie The Master anywhere near Oscar, heads will explode with all the hypocracy.
Oh, and personally I think the voters made the right choice with Shakespeare In Love, since the REAL Best Picture, IMO, The Thin Red Line, never had a chance.
You’re welcome. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, but merely get across what I thought of it. Art is all about communication, so it has as much to do with the receptiveness of the viewer as its actual content. Sometimes I have to be in the right mood to enjoy certain things, or a bit of pre-knowledge can colour my reactions. For example, I watched The Last King of Scotland the other day, and knowing a bit about Idi Amin beforehand changed how I experienced it.
A grain perhaps, but it’s a poor and lazy argument to say that it’s the primary cause of it’s success. The actual content, one hundred minutes of film, is the main reason. As for Weinstein, people are entering conspiracy theory territory if they think he is pulling all the strings here. Take another look at the list of reviews and awards I provided in this post again. If you want to claim he is a big influence on all these independent sources you need to offer some actual evidence, or you are just blowing hot air. (And by evidence, I don’t mean anecdotes.) Bear in mind, any campaigning he does can easily backfire, people don’t like being manipulated.
There are plenty of Best Picture winners that no one sensible actually considers to have been the “Best Picture” of their years (The King’s Speech? Slumdog Millionaire?). I don’t see how this one’s any different.
I doubt there’s a Best Picture ever that everyone agrees was actually the Best Picture. Maybe The Godfathers.
Thank you. The old studio bosses, such as Louie B. Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn, were MUCH more manipulative, and they wielded far more power since they greenlit and bankrolled movies. Weinstein is a producer, not a studio head, but mostly he buys and distributes movies that are already made. He hasn’t a fraction of the actual power the old studio bosses had. Nobody ever brings up their names when bitching about olden days BP winners.
For various reasons, though I love movies and talking about them, I paid very little attention to anything released last year and didn’t watch the Oscars. Therefore, I was virtually ignorant of anything out there when we decided to go to the movies last Saturday night. Knowing the Academy Awards had recently been passed out, I checked local listings and found that The Artist was playing at our art-house theater. I dug up Ebert’s review, was very intrigued, and dragged my husband there (who later admitted that he only agreed to go because he thought it would make me happy). Well. We were both incredibly enchanted and loved every minute of it!
Were we entertainment-deprived and Manos, Hands of Fate would have shown us a good time? Perhaps. But we devoured every instant of the movie, loving the gorgeous visual black-and-white experience, the performances of both Dujardin and the female lead, and the very different pacing and intellectual experience that the silent film imposed. I was compelled to listen to the music and derive meaning from it much more so than any other movie I’ve ever seen. I studied every nuance of every facial expression of every actor to wring every bit of meaning out of them I could. I scoured every scene for visual information that would tell me more about what was going on. It was exhilarating!
So while the story was a mite trite, it was appropriate for the time period and for the medium, which for today’s audiences unfamiliar with dealing with silent movies, was absolutely appropriate. And since when we, today, see a silent movie, we approach it on those terms completely, it was doubly a good choice for silent movies to be the subject matter for a modern silent film.
I agree, if you aren’t appreciating any of this stuff, you just aren’t and shouldn’t be told that you’re some kind of philistine. But I loved it utterly and was completely grateful for the supreme entertainment for my one movie-visit in more than a year!