Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar reflections

Well, the Oscars have come and gone, and with few surprises, the big one being that the Facebook movie was leading going in, expecting to take the top prizes with the exception of best actor. 

Going in, Social Network had won 10 awards out of 16 for best picture while King's Speech had 4 awards for Best Pic going in. But the Academy voters went to the underdog in a sense, awarding King's Speech Best Picture as well as writer and director and actor.

Social Network won writer, music and film editing. 

So why did everyone go for the King?

Well, this is my theory; 

David Fincher is a good director but has one characteristic that I felt was negative, his movies are very dark and without feeling. Not saying they're bad, but they are pretty cold and remorseless.

I liked Social Network but felt it was about greed and betrayal with no real caring for any of the characters who were calculating and greedy. The only element I found that balanced it was Sorkin's screenplay which began and ended with Zuckerberg alone after being rejected by two women.

It made me feel a little sorry for the character, after all money can't buy love.

But that was made up by Sorkin, who must have seen that otherwise nobody would care about anybody in the film. In fact, he did say at a screening I attended that he "borrowed" a lot of Citizen Kane. If you remember, Kane was an unlikeable character and the only thing that mattered at the end was  - "Rosebud", the sled he had in childhood.

And we all know what Rosebud really meant but it's not relative here.

Whereas, King's Speech was the classical struggle to overcome great odds and also being inspirational.

There you go - greed and betrayal vs overcoming great odds. I figured the younger Academy members would go for what some of their generation considers admirable in the way of values while the older members would go for the classic handicapped character overcoming obstacles.

Think My Left Food, Rainman, Beautiful Mind, Shine  and many others.

And basically, that's what happened. Sorkin won for best adapted screenplay and he deserved every bit, he is a great writer and one who values of the writing craft.  And David Seidler won for King's Speech.

Thirty-five years ago I had a brush with the Academy awards when my former partner, Phil Borsos and I made a short film called Cooperage, about a barrel factory. We came to Los Angeles with a 35mm print and got the Los Feliz theater in Silver Lake to screen it for a week.

That's what was necessary to qualify for the Academy Award nominations.

It's mostly a technicality; you really don't need an audience, you just have to have it screen at a legitimate movie theater in Los Angeles. How does that work with no audience?

Well, maybe a little audience. We got the projectionist to put up our short at the very end of the movie that was playing. So, as the audience were filing out, our short started. Some would turn around and watch the 15 minute film, while others left.

After each screening we would pick up the 35mm print and take it with us to the motel. We did this for one week and it qualified and was entered into the 1976 Academy Awards.

We made it as far as the final handful of shorts being considered and were in the finalists but never made it to the bigtime. Still, it was a lot of fun to even be considered, as they say.

That same year we won the Canadian equivalent of the Oscar, the Genie and won awards at Athens, Sydney, Chicago and New York. Also an award for Cinematography, for both myself and Tim Sale.

Phil made another short that was an Oscar finalist but sadly he passed away in 1995 at the age of 41.

And my chances at the Oscar are more remote than Charley Sheen's.

Ah, life...

(Thurs: Packaging Ghostkeeper)

No comments:

Post a Comment