A half-hour ago Sao Paolo entertainment journalist Guilherme Genestreti asked me the following question: “The 2014 Academy Awards seem to be the most disputed in the decade if we consider that five of the nine best Picture nominees have been awarded by the guilds (SAG, DGA, PGA, WGA). In your opinion, why is there a lack of a clear consensus for a Best Picture winner this year?”
My answer: “There was only one grandslam, socially-reflective auteurist super-flick that will be watched and pondered decades hence, and which clearly deserves to win the Best Picture Oscar, and that’s The Wolf of Wall Street. But the old, calcified and conservative Academy membership is too smug and reactionary to get this. They basically like to give awards to movies that make them feel emotionally comforted and which validate their own feelings of self-worth (like Crash) or echo their core emotional feelings, and no Best Picture nominee has movie has really done that this year.
“Gravity is a superbly-crafted amusement park ride. 12 Years A Slave, a stone masterpiece, is regarded as torture porn by those few Academy members who have bothered to watch the DVD screener. American Hustle is a flavorful and spirited but is mainly about liars with bad ’70s wigs and clothing. Her is one of the most affefting movies about being in love ever made, and dynamically attached to the here-and-now, but the old Academy farts don’t relate to the cyber nature of it. Philomena is about an old lady trying to get to know her deceased gay Republican son.
“No one movie has really delivered that special schwing that Academy members want to embrace and cuddle and champion. They’re not hip or perceptive enough to realize what a blazing diamond the Scorsese movie is and so Gravity, God help us, is probably going to win. It’s ridiculous, but what else is new?”