Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Slumdog and the Oscars

Who hasn't done it?  Imagining yourself giving the acceptance speech for the highest award in your field.  It just so happens that my career path is one that, if your lucky, will lead to the mother of ll award shows - THE OSCARS.

But let's be serious, it's not just about luck, is it?  No, politics have a lot more to do with it I'm afraid.

Bardem and Swinton winning for supporting actor and actress, both foreign actors, winning in the same year... coincidence?  I think not.  It was a strategic move just to have Bardem nominated for supporting and not lead, since No Country for Old Men is a very evenly played piece, but he would have been up against a slew of very popular American Actors (and one Danish-American actor, but who noticed him anyway?).

And long as we're on the subject, do you know how the Oscar nominees and winners are chosen?  A lot of people don't really get it.  They think the Academy is just some random group of people.  Basically, you have to be invited to join the Academy to be nominated or to nominate.  Then only people within a given field get to nominate their peers, i.e. editors vote for editors, actors vote for actors and so on and so forth (there are only 15 fields), except for Best Picture which everybody gets a say in from the beginning.  But when it comes time to vote the winner, EVERYONE in the academy gets to vote! 

OK, so anyway, I have seen three of the five films nominated for Best Picture... and I'm going to try and see The Reader before Sunday but we'll see how that goes!  I'm not as interested in Frost/Nixon, because I heard it sucked from people whose opinions I respect.  

I just saw Slumdog Millionaire yesterday with a friend and it was awesome!  The editing was awesome (side note: I have seen 4 of the 5 editing nominees, and Slumdog is one of them as it should be, but the others I saw were good as well... but I still hope Slumdog wins).

Here's what I liked the most about the editing, along with the camera work: they weren't afraid to take some risks.  Now, maybe it's because I recently saw one of the worst rom-coms ever twice (don't ask), but I am so bored with Hollywood editing!  It's like, over the shoulder, over the other shoulder, long shot, medium shot, close up, cut on even beats never break 180!  I'm so bored with it!  

A lot of the grammar of cinema is such because it helps to make a film appear seamless and lets the audience forget they are watching a movie.  But sometimes filmmakers seem so concerned with this that they ignore the film calling out to them to be different.  Slumdog definitely had the whole forget-your-watching-a-movie thing in the bag, but they broke rules while they did it.  
I want to be Chris Dickens when I grow up... who also edited Shaun of the Dead, btw.


Auntie Knickers said...

We watched THE VISITOR last night and it was every bit as good as you said, although it made me very angry (which may have been the idea). I do not yet understand editing, so I don't know if it was the editor or the director whose idea it was to have the (imaginary? perhaps) scene where Richard Jenkins would ask Tarek and Zenab back to the apartment be left out, and you just see the next day. Maybe that's why I should watch deleted scenes? Anyway, thanks to you I've probably seen more nominees than in many recent years so will be watching with some interest. I may try to see The Wrestler before Sunday night.

Onkel Hankie Pants said...

I thought leaving that scene out (actually, cutting short the scene where he meets them on the street) was brilliant. Remember the three principles of stage directing: Pacing,pacing, pacing.

Sisterfilms said...

Yes, pacing is what it's all about especially in a film like the Visitor. To bad Jenkins didn't win, but Sean Penn's speech was so nice (not quite the right word..), I think it made up for it.