Oscar Comments

Inside Higher Ed invited a panel of film, media, and popular culture scholars to weigh in with some Oscar predictions and analysis, and I’m one of them. I think that what’s interesting about the article is the “taste” question, when the panelists name the film that should win the Oscar, the film they liked best, in part because of the formal and political criteria that emerge in identifying an Oscar winner.

Of course, what I didn’t say in the article is that, as a documentary buff, I’m far more curious about how the best documentary categorty will play out. Iraq in Fragments is an incredible documentary, one of the best I’ve seen on the Iraq War, but I’d be incredibly curious to see the response if An Inconvenient Truth won.

By the way, I caught most of Rory Kennedy’s fascinating HBO documentary, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, last night. I’m not sure I completely buy Kennedy’s Milgram Experiment-inspired thesis that the guards actions can be explained because they internalized the military power structure, but the decision to explore the Abu Ghraib scandal through the testimony of former prisoners and interviews with the guards was an interesting one.

5 Comments »

  1. michael Said,

    February 23, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

    Nice! If they had asked me my inclination would have been to say that the Oscars are a pretty good television show, but as an assertion of taste and judgment they’re a bore. But anyhow, I predict a win for Scorsese as best director; I think the best pic race is too close. I haven’t seen Babel but my fave of the other four was The Departed.

    My favorite part of the Oscars is the montages. Happy watching.

  2. Chuck Said,

    February 23, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

    I think the attempt at tastemaking is interesting even if I’ve rarely agreed with the films Oscar chooses to reward. There’s also something fascinating about watching “Hollywood” represent itself to a wider audience.

    The montages are probably the best part, although I enjoy the “unscripted” aspects as well, such as Jack Palance’s pushup and Cuba Gooding’s speech. Will be interesting to see how the “Thank You Cam” and other interactive aspects are incorporated into the show.

  3. michael Said,

    February 25, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

    Yes, the unscripted moments are great. The Adrian Brody-Halle Berry kiss is another. And I’m sure you play the same game I do trying to read the mind of the director taking reaction shots during jokes and speeches. Oh they just mentioned a black person, cut to Denzel! I love that.

  4. Chuck Said,

    February 25, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

    I think we’d all be disappointed if they didn’t cut to Denzel at that point. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the most reaction shots this year, what with Al Gore being in the audience and all.

  5. Chuck Said,

    February 25, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

    Speaking of which….Ellen’s comment about “international nominees” led to the cut to Rinko Kikuchi. Pretty funny.

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