I keep talking to folks who are supposed to know a thing or two, but who nonetheless believe that Ridley Scott‘s The Martian, a feelgood sci-fi thriller that everyone likes (myself included), will probably land a Best Picture nomination. Why? This is the third HE post that disagrees with this silly notion, mainly because moderate, sensible-minded adults won’t shut up about it. The Martian is an amusing, engaging, science-friendly popcorn flick that is making money hand over fist — why does it have to be Best Picture-nominated on top of everything else? No one is a bigger fan of clever, well-crafted Jerry Bruckheimer films, which is what The Martian basically is, but Best Picture nominees ought to be made of…I don’t know what exactly but surely something more daring, audacious or nutritious. “Let’s all figure out a way to pool our forces and rescue this funny, resourceful guy so he can come home and promptly get himself in trouble on Twitter”….please.
From Kyle Buchanan‘s 10.2 posting of Oscar Futures: “Will Oscar voters like The Martian enough to vote for it, or will it be hastily dismissed as a genre play? Academy members have shown a willingness to go for sci-fi films like Distict 9 and Avatar if they feel like there are significant thematic underpinnings, so Team Martian would be wise to tout the film’s spirit of can-do cooperation.”
HE to Buchanan: “The spirit of can-do cooperation” is not a thematic underpinning — it’s a marketing fancy, Reddi-whip, an emotional massage.
Even worse: Buchanan reports that “word has it that this very funny film will be submitted in comic categories at the Golden Globes, where it could actually contend for some high-profile wins.” Hello? People want to slot The Martian as a possible Best Comedy or Musical Golden Globe contender and others are seriously suggesting it might be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar? Get real. The Martian is what it is, and everyone’s fine with that. Drop the award-calibre talk so we can all chill on the same page.
Posted on 9.22.15: “Every so often a smart, classy, satisfying entertainment will come along — a movie that gives you a perfectly good handjob — and for whatever reason it makes perceptive, emotionally balanced critics wet themselves. These guys know better but they lose their bearings and drop to their knees and go all falsetto on their readers.”
Trying again: “The Martian boasts a brainier script and a welcome emphasis on nerd science and good botany. It uses formula-uplift plotting all the way. That and the same kind of cleverly written smart-ass dialogue and stock characters you’ve seen in a dozen get-out-of-a-tough-spot escapist flicks.”