The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2008
It’s weird to think I actually agreed with the Academy. But don’t worry, it’s only to a point. I only agree with them based on what they chose from the nominees. I’d have nominated a totally different set of films. But isn’t that how it always is?
This counts as a landmark year in terms of Best Picture history. This is the year that changed everything. Who’d have thought that all because of a comic book movie the Academy would change a system that had served them fairly well for 66 years. Granted, it was a long time coming. The Academy was mired in a boring Baby Boomer-lead set of years, where the boring, conservative fucks that were dominating the mindset of the country were essentially the major voices in the Academy. Don’t get me wrong, Hollywood is more liberal than the rest of the country, but you can see the lack of creativity in the choices as the years went on. The older people get the more they revert to “tradition” and just lost touch will the younger group of films.
Overall, I can’t totally fault the decision-making in the 90s, since, a lot of the Best Picture nominees were actually pretty good. But in the 2000s, there are a lot of boring, typical “Academy” choices that really give you the sense that the majority of the members were clearly over 50 and were losing touch with things. Things came to a head in 2005, when the younger generation really were like, “Okay, this is too much,” and sort of took over. Then you had that run of nice films from The Departed to No Country for Old Men and then here to Slumdog Millionaire. However, through it all, you still saw Old Hollywood rearing its ugly head. None more obviously then when The Reader, a film almost nobody thought was a worthy Best Picture nominee, beat out the likes of The Dark Knight and Wall-E to take that final spot. I didn’t feel as strongly about Dark Knight as a Best Picture nominee as everyone else did (mostly because I liked Wall-E more, but it’s still a brilliant film), but in terms of this list, I’d definitely have included it instead of The Reader. But, its exclusion from the nominees was a big letdown — you could actually see the President of the Academy’s dismay when they went they announced Frost/Nixon as the second nominee. (more…)