On 1.29 a National Public Ratio “Weekend Edition” interview between Rachel Martin and Awards Daily Sasha Stone aired. (And was posted.) It’s a short piece about the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, and about as simple-minded as an interview of this sort could possibly be without attempting to satirize.
We all think of NPR as a haven for bright and informed conversation, but this piece was assembled for the slowest ADD person in the room. I guess the NPR motto has always been “keep it simple and peppy and above all not too long.” (Kim Masters‘ pieces are like this too.) After all, they don’t want to lose any eighth graders who might be station-surfing and stopping on NPR for a few seconds. Really, listen to this thing. Audio clips, audio clips and more audio clips. Keep the commentary down to the bare minimum. Assume your listeners are borderline idiots and you can’t go wrong.
Stone elaborated today on what she was trying to convey to Martin…if Martin had any interest in discussing the subject at any length.
Key point #1: “It surprised host Rachel Martin that the screenplay race, it turned out, wasn’t so much about the individual screenplays as it was about the Best Picture category. Key point #2: “She was also surprised to hear that those voting for adapted screenplay don’t have to have seen all of the films nominated. Heck, the year Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash many Academy members came out and admitted they didn’t see the movie. This year, if you polled Academy members I bet you’d find that there are those voting members who still haven’t seen all nine of the nominees.
“Voting is buzz and perception. When you fall in love with a pretty girl across the room not only do you not see anyone else but you don’t even want to look at anyone else. Such is the conundrum of choosing ‘best.'”
This is why I spit on the 2011 Awards Season consensus picks among many of the critics groups, the guilds, the HPA and the Oscars. In terms of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor, I mean. I don’t mind that people have crushes on this performance or that film. I find nothing wrong with a little swooning from time to time. I do mind when the most popular kid in the room is by far the shallowest and most smiley and superficially charming without any corresponding depth or intrigue or complexity.
I used to hate guys like this in high school. Hunky jocks and grinning student council officers in their fucking slacks and loafers and Brooks Brothers shirts. They had next to nothing going on upstairs — certainly none of the depth or wit or soul that I was secretly harboring — and yet all the pretty girls loved them because they were cute and charming and “sincere” and…I don’t know, comforting or whatever. I’ve had the last laugh, of course. Right now many of those guys are enduring lives of comfortable middle-class tedium and boredom while I’m galavanting around Hollywood and Cannes and rubbing shoulders with hot girls and schmoozing with all the cool people. But I still hate them for all the “like” they received in our junior and senior years.