Yesterday’s “Oscar Bait Movie Is Over” piece, which arose from a discussion I had yesterday morning with Boston-based movie critic Jordan Ruimy, was easily one of the most revealing, finger-on-the-button sum-up pieces I’ve posted over the last year, if not the past two or three years.
Because while it began as a discussion of why The Post never got traction in the Oscar race, it wound up describing a major seismic shift in the way younger Oscar voters are seeing things now, as opposed to just five years ago when the old boomer-farty Oscar-worthy standards still applied.
Here are four comments, posted by Rosse Veneziano, filmklassik, Dr. New Jersey and Joe S. They re-articulate the basis thesis and sum it up nicely:
(1) RossoVeneziano: “There’s a new paradigm of Oscar baitness now, and The Post just doesn’t fit it. At all. Oscar-bait now means indie, socially relevant, ‘woke’ (or whatever new slang definition you wanna use for the same concept). Lady Bird and Get Out are 100% Oscar baits. No big-budget entertaining movie will ever win Best Picture again. Titanic today would never win. Never.
“Because Oscars are the new Spirits. Technical, artistic achievement means squat for the new-generation Academy. Best Director is the ceiling. For Best Picture they want politically charged messages and they wanna take a stand, and identity politics definitely drives their votes.”
HE insertion: Hence the head-scratchy Get Out fervor.
“The Post has the message but lacks a crucial element: identity. New members vote FIRST for the person — the movie itself is secondary. A vote for Lady Bird is mainly a vote for Gerwig, a vote for a woman to win it all. No one sees Spielberg as a revolutionary icon as he’s just another rich white guy. Uncool.”
(2) filmklassik: “A bit cheeky to say ‘never ever again’ (because who the hell knows), but yeah, in this particular cultural moment it is all about Tribal Identity. And what’s disturbing is, we have a whole generation now for whom Tribal representation is, to use one critic’s word, numinous. The under-40 crowd has invested Race, Gender and Sexuality with a kind of cosmic significance. It doesn’t mean a lot to them — it means everything to them. Indeed, much of their conversation and writing seems to always come back to it.”
(3) Dr. New Jersey: “A difference is I don’t think anyone making Get Out was thinking ‘Hey, this is Oscar material’ while everyone making The Post was thinking that very thing.”
(4) JoeS: “In a way, that actually reinforces RossoVeneziano’s post. Nobody was thinking Best Picture when Get Out came out last February. But then the whole indie vibe took over the landscape and it was cool to inflate this pretty good horror flick with social commentary into the awards discussion.”