The basic goal of Scott Feinberg‘s “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot” series is to infuriate seasoned movie hounds — to goad them into saying “this is a typical Academy member?…where does Feinberg find these idiots?” By this standard today’s voter (from the “member-at-large branch”) doesn’t quite cut it — dim but not epically dumb, sufficiently lazy (he couldn’t manage to see Trumbo and The Hateful Eight) and lazy-brained, and yet he never quite nails it with a truly appalling, forehead-slapping opinion.
Choice quote #1: “I was bored to tears by Brooklyn…this immigrant girl comes [from Ireland to Brooklyn] and everything wonderful happens to her and so what?” This guy wanted Saoirse Ronan to fall for a cute mafia guy, get fired from her job, thrown out of her rooming house, attacked by a mugger, hit by a bus. Plenty of stuff happened to her. No shortage of intrigues and decisions were required. They just didn’t happen to be the usual cliches.
Choice quote #2: “The Martian was entertaining enough and I loved Matt Damon, but it was basically Cast Away on Mars, and you knew where it was heading from the very start.” This is actually dead-on. There’s nothing wrong with The Martian being a smart, formulaic popcorn movie, but there was something very, very wrong with certain blogarooonies saying “it’s so well done, so satisfying, so lovable…nominate this Jerry Bruckheimer film for Best Picture!”
Choice quote #3: “I don’t think Spotlight benefits from its frequent comparisons to All the President’s Men. I wish they had spent less time on investigative reporting and more time on the issue of sex abuse, which needs a spotlight much more.” Translation: This guy loves cliches. He wanted creepy melodrama and oozy malevolence from Spotlight — two or three scenes of a priest actually having his way with a 12 year-old in a car or playing strip poker with a gay kid from Dorchester. Brilliant.”
Choice quote #4: “I thought The Room [sic] was amazing — it’s just two people in a room for the first half, but you’re riveted, and then you get out of the room and you’re even more riveted, if you can believe it! The performances were that amazing. When I saw it I thought it might be my favorite of the year.” I’m sorry but what? The first half of The Room [sic] was airless, stifling. I realize that’s the point but my main thought as I watched was “why do I have to sit through this thing? Yes, I know — I’m here to cover the Toronto Film Festival so I have to, but I really don’t like watching this, and in fact it’s making me quite angry.” On top of which the second half merely trades one form of imprisonment for another. “Riveting”? The performances were “amazing”?
Choice quote #5: “Is it better to give Straight Outta Compton an award for its white writers or for nothing at all?” is a fair comment. This guy didn’t choose the screenwriters — the producers did.
Choice quote #6: “Spike Lee will find something to bitch about either way. He’s just pissed off that Chi-Raq didn’t get into theaters for more than 48 hours” — funny.