Jordan Ruimy and I recorded a chat three or four hours ago, but the batteries in my recently purchased Olympus recorder died about 12 minutes in….brilliant. But two good things came out of our chat, and they both belong to Jordan, at least in this context.
Oscar-bait movies are regarded askance by younger industry types plus the new guild and Academy members. And this, Ruimy believes, is why Steven Spielberg‘s The Post never caught on. People smelled Oscar-bait calculation from the get-go, and they don’t like the mindset (an “important” story or theme done classy, aimed at 50-plus types, bucks-up stars and screenwriters) and the “game” of it all.
The 45-and-unders looked at this well-written, respectably made prestige flick with two boomer superstars (Streep, Hanks) and said, “Where is it written that we all have to stand up and salute Oscar-bait movies like little toy soldiers every fucking November and December?”
The fact is that two of the hottest Best Picture contenders — Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water and Jordan Peele‘s Get Out — are pretty close to B movies, or at least what used to be regarded as B-level material — a romantic monster flick and a dark horror-zombie satire.
Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (’56)
Jack Arnold and William Alland’s The Creature From The Black Lagoon (’54).
In the mid 50s the forebears of these films — The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Invasion of the Body Snatchers — never had a chance of any kind of Oscar attention, much less respect, but The Creature from the Love Lagoon and Invasion of the White Suburban Obama Lovers are right at the top of the heap today.
Ruimy also believes that Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri may start losing cred due to backlash articles that I, frankly, haven’t paid attention to. One is Matthew Olson‘s 1.8.18 Digg piece titled “Expect The ‘Three Billboards’ Backlash To Dominate All Oscars Talk — Here’s Why.” Another is a Maeve McDermott USA Today piece called “The Growing Racial Backlash Against ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’,” posted on 1.3.18.
And don’t forget Bill McCuddy‘s adamant declaration that “Oscar voters will not pick Aquaman.” Older, grayer, creasier Oscar voters, he meant. The under-45s are fine with Aquaman, as noted above. Ruimy also sees an element of vulnerability in The Shape of Water.
So where does that leave us? It’s possible that both of these Fox Searchlight pieces will lose a cetain amount of steam over the next three or four weeks, and that Greta Gerwig‘s Lady Bird will surge in and take the big prize. Ruimy also believes that Get Out might also surge and scoop up the Best Picture Oscar, but I won’t have it…no!