Rule #5 in David Poland‘s Ten Rules of the Oscar Season (posted yesterday) states that “critics only matter when unanimous,” that they “can’t really kill or make an Oscar movie unless they are united in a clear, loud voice (even if that clear, loud voice is not a vast majority, just the right loudmouths).”
In other words, a sufficient number of loudmouths with a unified theory (this is right out of the handbook of Nikolai Lenin) can sway the industry masses? I don’t think he means that. All loudmouths can do is start a conversation, which the industry sometimes listens to and sometimes not, or picks up on or doesn’t pick up on. I recall at least two or three major-soapbox loudmouths beating the Dreamgirls drum pretty loudly in late ’06 and early ’07, but we know what happened there.
In any case, he says, “this year we saw what we haven’t seen since 2002, [which is] critics muscling a film into the Best Picture race.” Referring, of course, to There Will be Blood. Which, agreed, is an “honorable thing.”
But what other films have been strong-armed into Oscar contention circles by impassioned critical support, and which have been torpedoed and sunk by critical sneers? I could run a list but I’m wondering which films stand out in this regard in the minds of HE readers.