Monday, February 28, 2005

Oh Marty... Part II

Ok, this is why it's not fair. It would be one thing if that Academy Awards were purely a meritocracy, and the film and artist that was actually the best, won in each respective category. But the Academy Awards don't work that way. There are all sorts of rules. New comers rarely win, and if they do, it's seen as an upset. Often, the nominee who wins has had previous nominations in that category. The Academy likes to "save up" awards for people. Lord of the Rings could have won all three years in a row, but they chose instead to honor the work of the trilogy all in one go, with the last installment, Return of the King. The Academy will also "make it up" to artists who were thought to have lost unfairly in the past. In 1999, the best actor went to Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, though many thought Russell Crowe's performance in The Insider was comparable, if not better. The next year in 2000, Crowe took home the statuette for his role in Gladiator. Now it is obvious to everyone with a fourth grade reading level or higher, that Gladiator showcases Russell's biceps more than his acting chops. HOWEVER, they made it up to him because they felt bad that he had lost the year before. Crowe beat out some pretty stiff competition that year, including Tom Hanks, Geoffrey Rush, and Ed Harris. Another example is Denzel Washington, who was passed over for his work in Malcom X and The Hurricane, but was awarded the Oscar in 2001 for his work in Training Day. Now it is arguable whether or not this was actually the best performance of Denzel's acting career. But there was a definite sentiment that he had earned it. Denzel had created an impressive resume for himself as a Hollywood actor, and it was time to recognize that.

So please tell me why, for heaven's sake, Martin Scorsese on his fifth nomination could not get a little acknowledgement and recognition from his peers that he is one of the seminal auteurs of modern American film. First of all, Marty wasn't even nominated in 1976 for Taxi Driver, which let's be honest, was a travesty. Secondly, in 1990 when he was nominated for Good Fellas, KEVIN COSTNER beat him out of a win with DANCES WITH WOLVES. Can I get a witness?

Don't you see Academy, O Academy? You can't play by one set of rules one year, and a different set of rules the next, it simply isn't just. Clint Eastwood already had his glory in 1992 when he won best director for Unforgiven. He even got a nomination again last year for Mystic River, why shower him with more praises? Haven't you heard of spreading the love?

The Aviator was an artistically visualized and moving film that had strong performances and an engaging story. It might not have been Scorsese's masterpiece, but of all the nominations, it was the best picture of the year. Damn it, Martin Scorsese didn't just earned it, he deserved it. I know what some of you might be thinking. It doesn't matter. He doesn't need some stupid statuette to tell him he's one of the most talented film maker's of his generation. The oscars mean nothing. Some of you might be right. But at the same time, I think Martin Scorsese would like to win one anyway, because it means something to him on a personal level, and I respect that.

Don't worry Marty, we'll get 'em next time.


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