I am also making plans for how I will handle the Lord of the Rings sweep. A straightjacket may be necessary. For the sake of my blood pressure, I might just grab the clicker whenever it wins something, which is what I did the other night when Rings won the SAG ensemble award; apparently, however, Sean Astin made quite the ass of himself while accepting the prize, and that I am truly sorry to have missed. Maybe I will just tell myself that this is the end of the Rings Oscar madness, and we can all go back to normal next year. However, it wouldn't surprise me if the Rings fans attempt a write-in campaign for Peter Jackson next year as well, even without a new film. Of course, he deserves it, don't you see? It was such a massive undertaking, don't you know?
I don't deny the skill and craftsmanship that has gone into these films; they are indeed incredible technical achievements. Those who have read and loved the books obviously have more invested in these films and apply Tolkien's philosophies and perspective to them, adding a dimension and depth to them that I just don't see. They work fine as escapist entertainment; anything more than that, and I'm at a loss to explain. But these are just my bitter sour grapes here on Oscar Eve; two further ranting and raving paragraphs on the Rings have been deleted, because at this moment, what really is the point to continue the fight? Sunday's results are a foregone conclusion.
Jeff can bite my ass. Not because Lord of the Rings is so almighty fine and perfect. Jeff can bite my ass because watching a movie you loathe sweep the Oscars is sometimes part of the Oscar-watching experience. I hated Titanic. Vladimir and I were discussing this--he was surprised to find that I saw it once in the theater and instantly did not like it. It was not some "Ewww, everyone else likes it!" backlash; I didn't get around to seeing it three months after I'd decided to hate it. I saw it in December, the first or second week it came out, with half my entire family and a row of wailing DiCaprio fangirls behind us. ("Leeeeeoh!" they squealed woefully as he hung onto that debris with ice in his hair. Not even "Jaaaaack!," mind you. You know, if you're so worried about Leeeoh, I can assure you: they pulled him out of the water after the scene was finished, dried him off, and he was fine.)
That was a tough year, moviewise, because I felt like everyone I knew had been swallowed up by pod people. Everyone loved it, everyone saw it sixteen times, and I thought it was badly written and cheesy and melodramatic. I mean, sure, the effects were great, but I couldn't see them because the first half of the movie had caused my eyes to roll out of my head. And it's funny to me now that most people I talk to are sort of ashamed they liked Titanic, or deny they ever did; here's an Ananova poll, for example:
Titanic has been voted the least deserving Oscar winning film of all time in a new poll. And Titanic director James Cameron was voted least deserving recipient of the Oscar for best director. Russell Crowe, for Gladiator, and Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love, were voted the least deserving best actor and actress winners.
(Favorites, in case you're wondering, are The Godfather, Spielberg for Schindler's list, DeNiro for Raging Bull, and Jodie Foster for Silence of the Lambs. What, no Meryl Streep?)
So I'm sorry I was so bitter about it now--not because I feel justified, but because I've come to realize that it's just part of the process as an Oscar watcher. I'd started really watching the Oscars when I was thirteen (1992), and that (1998) was the first year I'd had to watch as a movie I hated took the gold. It's happened again since then, of course, and I didn't even handle it all that well the second time around. What I've finally learned from the whole thing, particularly from running the Digest, is that really good movies and actors survive, Oscars or no. No movie has been ever obliterated from the collective public memory just because it didn't win; in fact, a lot of "losers" become even more fixed in the mind than the movies that actually won. Quality is quality, and if the movie you love is really all that great, you have nothing to fear if it loses.
My point is, maybe you hate a movie now. Maybe you'll be vindicated later, and maybe you won't. But them's the breaks in the Oscar race, sport. Another year will come when I'll have to sit and watch some movie I loathe make a sweep. But I'll handle it a lot better, I think, because I've seen the cycle through a few times now (turn, turn, turn) and I know, in terms of being a fan, that a victory year will come back around. So you can just get over the condescending attitude towards Lord of the Rings fans, pal, because someday you're going to be them, crowing over your favorite nominee finally winning. Not only that, but we Lord of the Rings fans have had to watch the movies lose for two years in a row. And if you're upset that the race is "a foregone conclusion" this year, imagine how everyone felt the year that Schindler's List, a movie so important that it should have just been given its own platinum Oscar and moved out of the race, came out! It's someone else's year to win the ball game, and your turn as a fan will come back around soon. So until then, kindly stuff a sock in it.